Twin Peaks, Sandwiches, and Trying New Things

“Don’t plan it, don’t wait for it. Just let it happen.”

Agent Dale Cooper

If any food is considered synonymous with Twin Peaks, it’s cherry pie. However, for me, ever since I first watched it many years ago, one particular kind of food has always connected me with the show.

In Season 1 Episode 2, Jerry Horne (David Patrick Kelly) returns home and interrupts his brother Ben’s (Richard Beymer) family dinner. He’s come from Paris and has brought with him several butter and brie baguette sandwiches, claiming:

“This is the best damn sandwich I ever ate…I had four of these damn things every day I was there.”

What follows is an orgiastic and hilarious half-minute or so of Ben and Jerry just going to town on these sandwiches and talking excitedly with their mouths full. All while his family looks on, Sylvia shaking her head.

For years, I’ve returned to this scene whenever I eat a butter and brie baguette sandwich or just something surprisingly delicious. I’m no foodie, so I don’t really seek out new things to eat. Far more often than not, I find myself eating something I am comfortable with until my own version of Jerry introduces me to something new and special.

When we first met Jerry in Episode 2, I must say that my own response to him was favorable. It’s great to see the scene open so quietly as the rest of the opening credits finish rolling. Everyone is eating what they probably have at least once a week, and along comes this wacky uncle to shake up dinnertime.

Jerry Horne smiling while holding a sandwich in Twin Peaks

Growing up, I always loved David Patrick Kelly. I saw him in stuff before I ever decided to sit down and actually watch Twin Peaks from beginning to end in college. He has always been interesting to watch, whether it be the antagonist in The Warriors, a scumbag in The Crow, or even a homeless man dispensing life lessons in Trojan War.

First, there’s Kelly’s voice and the way he utilizes certain inflections to suggest a level of delight that can be contagious. As Jerry, he could’ve given Ben anything to eat, and I would’ve been sold. I also buy the way he is with everyone else. He clearly prefers his brother, but he doesn’t dismiss anyone outright. They’re his family.

Then again, he acts differently to, for lack of a better word, the help. Yes, he wants to get to those sandwiches, but even with a smile, he’s a bit obnoxious to them. Right away, in less than 30 seconds, we’re introduced to a new player in the series, and he’s got some layers to him. I believe a big part of that is Kelly himself and his performance.

At this point, I like Jerry, so when he sells that sandwich to Ben before he even bites into it, I can’t help but feel that I want to be there, too, taking a bite.

A long time ago, I didn’t like or want anything on my hamburger, just the patty and the bread for this guy. No matter how many times I was offered something, I declined or simply removed the extra ingredients from my burger. Then, one year, I attended a friend’s birthday party, and (I’m going to show my age) it was at McDonald’s.

Every single kid there ordered a cheeseburger. The plan was simple enough, though. I was going to get a plain hamburger, but two of my friends went on and on about how good cheeseburgers were. They told me that was all they ever ate at McDonald’s. When it came my time to order, I chose a cheeseburger. It wasn’t peer pressure. They had genuinely sold it with their enthusiasm.

Now I prefer cheeseburgers to hamburgers, and you better believe that when I eat a good one, I indulge the same way Ben does.

Whenever I try something out of my comfort zone and it hits the spot I didn’t even know needed hitting, I can’t help but make those ridiculous “mmm” noises. At times, I even go as far as breaking my own rules of etiquette and speaking with my mouthful, mainly because I can’t seem to stop eating whatever it is that’s caught my fancy.

Perhaps it’s odd that I’m writing about a small scene that takes place at the start of an episode that introduces us to the Red Room. It’s an innocuous scene, I suppose. Sure, it gives us our first glimpse of Jerry and his relationship with Ben, but introductory purposes aside, why does this scene from Twin Peaks mean so much to me?

It’s ultimately because it works two-fold:

1) I find it hilarious. Sometimes, I’ll bring up the episode on my phone or computer and just watch this scene alone. It’s a comfort thing.

2) This scene represents the idea of trusting someone’s taste and trying new things as a result.

Ben Horne smells a sandwich in Twin Peaks

I am not the most exciting person in the world. There are habits and routines I have that I don’t see myself changing in the foreseeable future. Every now and then, though, a family member or a friend will recommend something in such a way that I become curious enough to alter my life ever-so-slightly to experience it.

It is a rare event to find myself not enjoying whatever it is. Heck, sometimes it’s watching an episode of Twin Peaks and thinking to myself, “You know. I hate pie, but Cooper’s really selling it.” I tried cherry pie as a result. Not a fan, unfortunately.

Butter and brie baguette sandwiches, on the other hand, are great. And every single time (yes, every single time) I get the chance to have one, out comes my phone, and on comes this episode. I get to hang out with these two creeps and enjoy these sandwiches together. It’s wonderful, even if it’s in a bubble. After all, I wouldn’t want to actually hang out with these two.

That’s not the point, though. The point is that this scene taught me to be open to new experiences, even if those experiences are simply butter, cheese, and bread. Who knows what can happen?

Written by Michael Suarez

I write and occasionally teach English classes. When I'm not doing either, I'm watching something awesome, reading something awesome, listening to something awesome, eating something awesome, or resting. Actually, not everything I do is awesome, but I'm okay with that. My loves include Lost, cinema from the '90s and aughts, U2, David Bowie, most of Star Wars, and - you know what? I love a lot of things. More things than I hate.

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