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James Roday and Dana Ashbrook, Psych

James Roday on Why Twin Peaks Will Always Be His Favorite Show

The Psych and A Million Little Things star (and Twin Peaks superfan) reflects on what the David Lynch show means to him on the 30th anniversary of its premiere

The original Twin Peaks is my favorite series of all time and I suspect it always will be. David Lynch and Mark Frost blazed a trail through network television by defying established constructs, standards, and practices. A soapy, darkly surreal, and supernatural murder mystery that reinvented its own hybrid genre on a week-to-week basis, it was a celebration of everything David Lynch fans could have hoped for delivered right to their living rooms. Quite simply, it was premium cable programming on ABC. But if you've seen the show you already know that.

You may also know that during the fifth season of USA's Psych, my cohorts and I celebrated our love for all things Black Lodgy with an episode called "Dual Spires." It was equal parts love letter and thank you card, and for me, it equated to a couple of weeks of my own personal Twin Peaks convention. Watching original cast members Sheryl Lee and Sherilyn Fenn reunite after something like 15 years gave me the chills. Sitting next to the late Catherine E. Coulson while she held a log and recollected stories from the set of Eraserhead made me want to slap myself with unbridled joy. Simply put, the experience was the most creatively and emotionally fulfilling endeavor of my time on this planet.

30 Incredible Things About the Twin Peaks Pilot

Now, these are strange times. It is not lost on me that we are all, as best we can, navigating the daily challenges of our own newly surreal reality. Again, I am absurdly lucky in that I have been able to use this time spent sheltering at home to self-reflect and reassess priorities and perspectives while others battle daily on the frontlines to save lives and at home to make ends meet. So I figure the least I can do is share something more personal than the fact that I have bizarre and often terrifying appetites for art and cinema. At the time Twin Peaks premiered, I was 14 and at a crossroads. I was raised in Texas, an Air Force brat who uniquely never moved around but rarely had a friend for more than six months at a time because everybody else did. I grew up playing sports. If it required a ball, I signed up and was on the team. As middle school ended, it was clear that while I enjoyed the competition, I wasn't going to grow up to play professional anyball. My other interests were movie making and theater arts. High school was imminent and I, for the most part, could draw a figure of anyone I wanted to be. But who was that? There was no real template for sports-loving drama geeks, was there? New wave weirdos who loved horror flicks but also liked to hoop and smash tennis balls?

Enter Bobby Briggs.

​Dana Ashbrook, Twin Peaks

Dana Ashbrook, Twin Peaks

ABC Photo Archives - © 2011 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

While Twin Peaks blew me away by redefining narrative and cinematic devices, it also gave me a character I related to so fully that it became a no-brainer to wear bandanas on my head and tie my shirts around my waist. I mean, he was the quarterback with a dark side. He was brash and promiscuous, but also cried in front of his dad. He could bark and howl and throw a perfect spiral. He was my gateway into high school at the precise moment that I needed one. So you can imagine my delight some eight years later when I showed up to work on my first series gig and saw Dana Ashbrook's name on the call sheet. I flipped out. You see, because he was Bobby Briggs, I also became familiar with everything else he'd done on film: Waxwork, Return of the Living Dead Part II, Girlfriend From Hell, and of course Fire Walk With Me. I promptly made my way to his trailer and knocked -- not having a plan, not knowing what I would say, but knowing that one of my personal heroes would be opening that door. I've heard people say you never want to meet your heroes. Well, in this case, one of mine allowed me to stalk him into friendship and brotherhood. We bonded over sports. We bonded over art. We bonded over our love for David Lynch. We remain thick as thieves to this day.

I will take many more trips back to Twin Peaks. For now, I bark out the window from social distance.

Twin Peaks is available to stream on Netflix, Hulu, and CBS All Access.