By Elka Karl,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Surreal cult hit might be too disturbing for teens.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
This series explores the concept of morality in a thoughtful, complex way and appreciates quirky humor and odd characters. That said, there is a foreboding tone to the series and plenty of double-crossing, lying, secrets, drug dealing, murder, etc. Good and bad isn't always black and white.
Positive Role Models
Agent Cooper uses unconventional means to accomplish his work, and also has a positive attitude toward appreciating life. Other characters are more nuanced -- good turns bad, and vice versa. Characters include drug dealers, murderers, prostitutes.
Violence & Scariness
Though not constant, violence does occur with regularity. The series opens with the image of murdered teenager Laura Palmer naked, wrapped in plastic sheeting, on a beach. This image is referenced throughout the series. Other issues include domestic violence, arson, shootings, murder, strangulation, and murderous plots.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Though there is little overt nudity in the show, there are references to sex throughout the series, including prostitution.
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There is very little strong language. Agent Cooper tends to use "damn" to describe food and coffee.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters, including teenagers, drink and smoke on the series, and occasionally do drugs. Teenagers deal drugs and cocaine addiction issues are also revealed in the show.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that while Twin Peaks is an award-winning television series that explores morality and identity in a fresh and original way, it still may be too disturbing for many teens. In addition to a generally foreboding tone, the series is full of bizarre imagery in dream sequences (which include a red-suited dwarf and a serial killer named BOB), plus violent storylines, drinking and drug dealing (sometimes by teens), and a recurring image of a dead, naked woman that combine into a potentially frightening experience, due in part to the show's surreal and creative presentation.
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Based on 15 parent reviews
The Best TV Show of All Time
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What's the Story?
TWIN PEAKS follows FBI agent Dale Cooper's (Kyle McLaughlan) murder investigation of teenage homecoming queen Laura Palmer in the small town of Twin Peaks, WA. Set in 1989, each episode roughly follows one day in the investigation. The drama, which was created by David Lynch and Marc Frost, picks up several subplots that unfurl from this main storyline, exploring concepts of morality, appearance vs. reality, and the misleading expectations of life in a small town. Quirky characters, odd humor, and surrealistic situations abound.
Is It Any Good?
In the 20 years since Twin Peaks debuted, the show's reputation has withstood the test of time. The genre-defying television series combined complicated subplots, excellent scripts, and impressive acting into a quirky cult hit. In only two seasons it received 17 Emmy nominations, and TV Guide rated it as one of the "Top 50 Television Shows of All Time." Teens who appreciate odd characters and are mature enough to handle the show's dark tone and occasional drugs and violence will find Twin Peaks to be worthwhile viewing and serve as a good introduction to David Lynch's bizarre, but often oddly satisfying brand of drama.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about what ways is Agent Cooper different than most FBI agents portrayed on television? What is quirky about him as a character? Is he a hero or a role model? Who can be considered heroic in the series?
What does surrealism mean? What's an example of a surrealistic moment in an episode of Twin Peaks?
How does the violence in this show affect you? Does it seem more or less violent that other mysteries or legal dramas you've seen?
- Premiere date: April 8, 1990
- Cast: Jack Nance, Kyle MacLachlan, Lara Flynn Boyle
- Network: ABC
- Genre: Drama
- TV rating: NR
- Last updated: February 4, 2023
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