Nightmare in red? Twin Peaks parody, homage, intertextuality and mashup

Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsOral presentationResearch


If imitation is a form of flattery, the many “imitations” of Twin Peaks stand as flattering evidence of its status as a supposedly innovative, landmark television product. From video games Deadly Premonition and Alan Wake, both released in 2010, to Disney’s animated Gravity Falls (2012-), to Wayward Pines (2015), Twin Peaks is still visible in the contemporary media landscape. The series’ exaggerated tendencies make it easy to “imitate” or parody, as well as making it highly recognizable and such references give a strong indication of the show’s most memorable features. Twin Peaks’ distinctive sound design, visual style, and content are examined here and in addition the use of casting in Twin Peaks references is situated within a more extensive practice of what Jeffrey Bussolini calls “intertextuality of casting” in film and television. Twin Peaks “imitations” are often highly self-conscious borrowings that acknowledge the history of TV drama, and are situated in a context of TV production accustomed to recycling and repurposing. This paper examines a spectrum from affectionate homage to outright parody, analysing how the light comedy drama of Psych’s ‘Dual Spires’ episode, (2010), the YouTube Lego short ‘Twin Bricks’ (2007), or the Silent Singer from season two of the UK’s Psychoville (2012) reference Twin Peaks and thus demonstrate the ways in which media products interact with each other, negotiating ‘anxiety of influence’ as well as notions of creativity and originality.
Period21 May 2015
Event titleI’ll See You Again in 25 Years: The Return of Twin Peaks and Generations of Cult TV
Event typeConference
Degree of RecognitionRegional


  • Television
  • casting
  • sound
  • music
  • visual style
  • Gravity Falls
  • Michael J. Anderson
  • Psych