This Many Boyfriends Club: Special Agent Dale Cooper

Dale cooper

I wanted to say that the Twin Peaks bender I started over the holidays and am one episode away from finishing (22 episodes in one season seems insane by today's abbreviated standards, right?) was completely random, though I'm sure the late 2014 announcement about the show's 2016 return must've played at least a subconscious role given that I've had over two decades to watch the series.

And now, Kyle MacLachlan is on board. But this is not about Kyle MacLachlan. Or any other character he's played. I felt like I was supposed to find him attractive in Blue Velvet, the movie I've never watched the whole way through and was traumatized by attempting to sneak it on cable without my dad barging into the living room. (I did not succeed and am still mildly–a shade less than mildly, but can't think of a word–resentful of all the other kids who had family rooms i.e. a second space for TV-watching, never mind a TV in the bedroom.) The boy next door thing didn't work for me, more jockish than an outsider, and there was something, maybe mildly again, off about the way his nose related to his chin, rendering his face only 94% ideal, and therefore worse than if it was only three-fourths of the way there.

And yet, four years later he's in Twin Peaks, and now 25 years later I'm seeing the same actor in a different light. Maybe it's the perspective of a 42 year old gazing upon a man of 31? With some crinkling around the eyes and calmness radiating a degree of wisdom, I thought Agent Cooper appeared more mid-30s, which is closer to my sweet spot. Thirty-one isn't what it used to be, and people looked older in 1990–if I only knew where my yearbooks were, I'd show you seniors who looked positively BOB-like. (Also, I don't find BOB especially scary despite all the build-up I'd heard over the years, which maybe means that I spent too many of my formative years in the Northwest).

Agent Cooper is still earnest like Blue Velvet's Jeffrey Beaumont, but lacking the naiveté. He never gets rattled and despite his aw shucks love of all that's good in the world including strong coffee and pie, he's not judgmental or closed-minded, hence acceptance of David Duchovny as a cross-dresser (transexual was not a thing) and a fondness for Tibetan mysticism and dream symbolism as crime-solving methods.

In case you were wondering, I prefer Cooper in a suit and tie to when he goes full on Pacific Northwest casual. Thankfully, no fleeces or socks with Tevas were involved.

If I was a Twin Peaks resident at the time, I would not be a sweet or sexy teen noticed by Agent Cooper or the David Lynch character or Ben Horne or one of the many remaining older men in town taking interest in women far too young for them. I would probably be Heidi, the chirpy, chunky German waitress who's only in one scene and never mentioned again (ugh, and apparently in the finale, which is what I get for Googling and self-spoiling).

I absolutely do not approve of the Heather Graham/former nun romance plotline, and less because of the age gap and more because it's asinine, her hair is awful, and there is zero chemistry. I wanted to take offense at all of the aforementioned older man/younger woman pairings in this show and yet could not considering the allowance of sex scenes for middle-aged characters like Catherine (Piper Laurie being close to 50 at the time) and Norma (a.k.a. Rashida Jones' mom) and obviously, having Nadine, meant to be 35 but a little older in reality, getting it on with a high school kid repeatedly even if I'm still not sure exactly what Mike's alluding to when he defends the relationship by boasting, "Do you have any idea what a combination of sexual maturity and super human strength can result in?"

Agent Dale Cooper is just flat-out handsome. I can admit that now.

I'm going to go watch the final episode  (which has all but been spoiled after obsessively reading the AV Club message boards when they were recapping back in 2007).


One thought on “This Many Boyfriends Club: Special Agent Dale Cooper

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