Welcome back to Twin Peaks: Las Vegas, my “reviews” of the imaginary Twin Peaks spin-off sitcom!
This week on the Twin Peaks: Las Vegas Thanksgiving Special, Janey-E goes into overdrive to save everything when the Jones house has to be fumigated days before the holiday.
The show opens by moving through the Jones house, feasting on its decorations of pumpkins, flowers, corn and little turkeys and pilgrim characters. I’d be remiss not to call out the one giant stuffed animal turkey which is AMAZINGLY out of place and glorious.
It’s almost identically shot for shot with the Halloween episode with Janey-E going through the house primping the decorations, except right at the end the camera zooms in on her face and her giant scream: The camera looks down to the floor and zooms in on a cockroach crawling on the hardwood floor then flattening and sliding into a crack that seems impossible to fit through.
The camera immediately is outside the Jones house, turkey and pumpkin decorations covering the yard. Prompting birds to fly from the trees is a shout from inside: “DOUGIEEEEEEEEE!”
Next scene there’s a bug guy in the house with Janey-E. He looks just like Phil Bisby, and is played by the same actor but with no glasses.
“I trust you for some reason.” Janey-E says. “Which is the only reason I am not eviscerating you right now. You do realize you are uprooting a family on Thanksgiving, correct?” This scene is tense and I worry for that guy. Janey-E rephrases a few more ways before letting him live. “There is NO other way. Correct?”
What finally seals the deal is this comment from bug guy: “Not unless you want roaches in your stuffing.”
We get a hard cut to the Mitchums’ living room. Candie is alone, walking past the ringing phone and acting somewhat distressed. She seems to have zero interest in addressing it and walks back and forth looking for others. She reminds me of the Fireman in Part 8 addressing his alarm bell but she’s still all Candie about it.
She picks the phone up like it’s a wet rag and says “oh!” instead of hello. When she hears it’s Janey E though she erupts in a flurry of the absolutely mundane aspects of picking out her uniform for the morning, which reveals she notices the most MINISCULE differences in seam work quality. Candie pays attention to the details!
She then goes into the kitchen where the brothers are eating giant BLT sandwiches on hoagies and hands the phone to Bradley because Rod is engrossed in his newspaper.
The scene has perfect Bob Newhart patter as we can’t hear Janey-E’s side of the conversation.
“So sorry to hear!”
“Yes, yes we do!”
“Yes, the best room in the whole Silver Mustang Motel!”
“Bring anyone you’d like!”
“Giant dogs are no problem at all!” Then to Rod, “Make sure they room-vac on Monday.”
“We love it!”
“Anything for THE Mrs. Dougie Jones!”
Rod plays a most excellent second banana the whole time, looking earnest and serious and nodding appropriately, even loudly flips a newspaper page, all while in a Norman Rockwell dad pose.
Later that day we’re back in the Jones home. Dougie, Sonny Jim and Hairy are all in a line like soldiers while Janey-E is their pacing commanding officer giving them their marching orders.
“The fumigation takes one week. This means our Thanksgiving is ruined. But I refuse to accept defeat! Thanksgiving is in four days but we are going to do this.”
She explains how cousins and friends and anybody at all, “even you, Hairy,” are welcome at the Silver Mustang in their best room. The Joneses have limited time but they’re moving the whole house over there.
“All of it?” Dougie asks sheepishly.
“ALL of it” is Janey’s answer.
She’s absolutely hysterical when she’s overly serious so I expected that to lead into an old-school comedy of errors moving scene next, but instead, the show did it over time-lapse and the decorations just disappeared one by one.
Then in the new (and much smaller) hotel room, we see the decorations filling up the space in a much cozier way. It made me feel like it’s a small child’s room the way the decorations are compressed. Then we see a shot of Janey-E and Dougie surveying the new space once it’s complete. She has her hands on her hips, and Dougie looks like he doesn’t know if it’s right or not. He gets relieved when she says “Well, just one more thing!”
Then they’re in the same pose outside their house but instead, Janey-E’s tucked in Dougie’s arm looking sad. Seeing the next shot of their house, I can see why. There’s a multicolored tent over the house. It looks like a bounce house or a circus tent. Janey-E keeps making an “ohhhhhhhhhh” sound like a hurting puppy, and Dougie ushers her over to the car and they drive away.
Later, the Joneses are in the hotel room trying to make or eat sandwiches while they bump into each other in the tight quarters. Harry’s nose is adorably in the shot as he begs and also gets in the way.
In this silent scene, Janey-E’s eyes get huge. We see a shot inside the refrigerator with a dotted outline of a missing turkey. Then Janey-E inhales in a worried way and we get a shot inside the Jones kitchen where we see a roasting pan with the same dotted line turkey shape in it. Janey springs for the phone.
At the house, the smoke begins to fill the hallway.
We get a slow fade to dark, but then the sun comes up over the establishing shot of the Las Vegas skyline, a tell if I ever saw one that things will turn out okay.
It’s now Thanksgiving morning. The camera moves through the cramped hotel room.
Dougie turns on the parade on TV. Sonny Jim is setting a table comically with plastic plates. Hairy is taking up an entire love seat leaving almost no place for anyone to sit, laying on the giant stuffed animal turkey like a pillow (they look like buddies).
The pink girls are in the kitchen with Janey-E working on some food dishes. We can hear Janey-E say “Christmas had better not have any hitches”, but the camera moves on.
The Mitchum’s arrive with a giant turkey between them in a pan. Phil stops by with a tiny woman (who appears to be a significant other!) and before the camera moves on we hear Janey say to him “I met your brother…”
The apartment scene is positively peaceful despite being action packed. And it fades out the just as the Jones house begins to fade in.
The house is dark but picks up the multiple colors of the tent filtering in through the windows.
A frogbug is walking ominously around on the tile floor of the kitchen. Then it stops, twitches a back leg, and flips over dead, glitching into a cockroach. At least that’s what it looked like when I paused the screen. It’s one of those blink-and-you-miss-it moments, but I definitely saw a roach leg formation rather than those distinctive frogbug legs.
The camera pulls up, over to the right, and we see Phillip Gerard scoot from around the corner and he gives the camera a smile and thumbs up. Cut to credits.
I’m going to start with the frogbug. First, a frogbug! Holy crap!
Second, I’m going to assume the frogbug’s connected to whatever was downloading onto Janey-E’s tablet at the end of the Halloween episode. I’m also going to assume that based on Phillip’s goofy reaction that whatever dread we were supposed to feel last time may be all the way completed, behind the scenes. This may even wipe the slate clean from any of that dramatic Twin Peaks lore. I hope not, but I can’t imagine how else Lodge stuff can stay in the show and remain funny. I mean, I wouldn’t mind if they prove me wrong but you go too far into the dark and it’s hard to find something to laugh at.
What do I love most about all the frogbug stuff? That the Jones family appears completely oblivious to all these darker undercurrents happening in their house. They’re just living in the moment as if it wasn’t even there. And the people who do know about the darker stuff (this time possibly just Phillip) decide mugging for the camera is the best approach. This show is wacky!
I love that the most important thing is making sure Janey-E can put on Thanksgiving day for her family and friends. The darkness may not wait for holidays but Janey-E doesn’t wait for the darkness either. And maybe there’s a message after all: As long as you have your priorities in order and you’re living the right way, the darker things will work themselves out while you’re taking care of your responsibilities.