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ORIGINAL SERIES Why didn't "Who Shot Cooper?" become a bigger deal?

OneMoreChapter

Special Agent
OG DUGPA MOD
Apr 12, 2022
145
151
Twin Peaks' Season 1, Episode 8: Bite the Bullet, Baby - The New York Times
Twin Peaks, Ep. 1.08, The Last Evening: A fire fueled by gasoline and  personal histories - PopOptiq


I was reading through a page from one of the episode threads on Dugpa (for Episode 7 - the same one where @Mr. Reindeer posted a rarely seen shot of Cooper's original room key, an object - and its doppelganger - which would make fascinating discussion in its own thread!) and came across these two comments.

Henrys Hair wrote: 'Who Shot Cooper?' clearly meant to be the next 'Who Killed Laura Palmer?' although it actually ends up being one of the least memorable events in the series - by the time Cooper gets out of the hospital bed next episode most viewers have likely forgotten how he got there.

And my reply was:
I wonder why this never became a bigger pop culture moment?

I know they didn't build on it much in Season 2, as you said by the time he gets out of the hospital bed it's rarely mentioned, then they waited 23 episodes to reveal the shooter. But even before this, was this a big thing that summer of 1990? I don't think so.

Were people mainly tuning in for the Laura Palmer mystery and the quirkiness and not willing to invest in another mystery? Was it assumed whoever shot him also killed Laura so it was just part of that larger mystery? Was it buried under the avalanche of other cliffhangers? Did it already feel like it had been "done before" due to "Dallas"? All of the above?

Still, I'm surprised it didn't become a bit bigger. Even though "Dallas" had done it before, it still become a bit of a pop cultural phenomenon when "The Simpsons" did it years later, though part of that could have been due to the resolution. Maybe the resolution here was just too limp in the end. Anyway, as a cliffhanger to whet people's appetites for the long summer of 1990 wait, I'm not sure it was very successful but other than reveal the killer what else could they have done? Maybe had another murder instead?

There's a few replies on the thread, but not many, one where Henrys Hair remembering it didn't become a big deal in the UK (Did it in the US? Anyone still reading those old Usenet threads?) and suggesting it might have worked better at the end of Episode 16, which is a very compelling idea.

So - that's the question for this thread. Why didn't "Who Shot Cooper?" become the next "Who Shot JR?" or "Who Killed Laura Palmer?"

I'm guessing people just cared more for the central mystery (or assumed it was part of it - that the shooter and killer were "one and the same") and it had already been done before on Dallas, plus there were a ton of cliffhangers in the same episode. Perhaps I've asked and answered my own question, though still interested in hearing people's thoughts - and remembrances from those who were watching it live back then. We still don't have many threads on here yet so it might give us something to talk about before we get new episode threads up on here - or more rumours surface!
 

N. Needleman

RR Diner
Apr 12, 2022
29
41
I seem to remember it being a huge deal over the summer in the US. The public was all over it, the show was what lost interest in it.
 

OneMoreChapter

Special Agent
OG DUGPA MOD
Apr 12, 2022
145
151
I seem to remember it being a huge deal over the summer in the US. The public was all over it, the show was what lost interest in it.
Interesting - and great distinction too. Yeah, the show definitely lost interest in it, almost instantly - and by the time it finally revealed the shooter 23 episodes later it felt like a lot more time had passed and many had probably forgotten it had even happened.

I'll change the thread title to remove "in the summer of 1990" as I was also wondering why it didn't become a bigger deal in general, even later on. Like you never hear the phrase the way you still hear "Who Shot JR?"/"Who Killed Laura Palmer?" And yet the reveal of Josie being the shooter does separate it later from the Palmer mystery.

TWIN PEAKS ARCHIVE: Twin Peaks Archive Presents...

The Dallas - and even The Simpsons parody - still remain popular as tv tropes, as does WKLP. Yet this doesn't seem to be remembered much as its own thing - I rarely hear it mentioned or threads discussing it, even within the fandom. It seems people lost interest in it as a plot point just like the show did when it was airing and in retrospect, though of course both the Episode 29 cliffhanger and the show being cancelled - not to mention being considered a possibly unsatisfactory conclusion by many (though I loved Episode 23 and the whole Josie/Bob scene, just felt Josie's reveal came a bit late) all probably overshadowed it. Perhaps it was also a little too dull as well, swallowed up by the other mysteries, and it wasn't actually a parod of the J.R. thing the way The SImpsons was. At least the drawer pull sequence from the reveal is still popularly remembered and often referred to. Typical Lynch and TP - a drawer pull can overshadow a killer reveal! (Because it was so weird and great - loved it.)

10 Epic TV Moments Ruined By Awful Execution – Page 6
Joan Chen wrote David Lynch a letter in character asking to be in Twin  Peaks' return


(Might be the next thread.)
 
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esselgee

Sparkwood & 21
Apr 18, 2022
2
3
Have any of the writers ever commented on if they planned for Josie to be the shooter when they wrote this episode? It always seemed like they didn't know who the shooter was supposed to be when they wrote it and only eventually decided that it was Josie at some point when writing season 2. I never got her motivation for shooting Cooper. It probably would have been better if ended up being a totally new character that could have launched a new storyline. It would have been great if it was revealed that it was Cooper himself (time travel? doppelganger?) who did the shooting.
 

Mr. Reindeer

Waiting Room
Apr 13, 2022
212
346
Have any of the writers ever commented on if they planned for Josie to be the shooter when they wrote this episode? It always seemed like they didn't know who the shooter was supposed to be when they wrote it and only eventually decided that it was Josie at some point when writing season 2. I never got her motivation for shooting Cooper. It probably would have been better if ended up being a totally new character that could have launched a new storyline. It would have been great if it was revealed that it was Cooper himself (time travel? doppelganger?) who did the shooting.
I definitely don’t think they knew, but I have no solid data to back that up. But as a fun bit of trivia for those who haven’t seen the bootleg footage, Mark Frost played the person shooting Cooper on set, for the hand/gun close-ups.
 

Jasper

Bureau HQ
TULPA MOD
Apr 12, 2022
82
202
I definitely don’t think they knew, but I have no solid data to back that up. But as a fun bit of trivia for those who haven’t seen the bootleg footage, Mark Frost played the person shooting Cooper on set, for the hand/gun close-ups.
Fun fact, or vital clue? Was Cyril Pons the shooter? Was Josie framed?

We might recall that in s3, Cyril Pons just happens to be taking his pooch for stroll in the vicinity of Steven’s forest breakdown, when, the audience assumes, Steven shoots himself. Gersten, oddly, is on the other side of an enormous tree when she hears the shot, so she, like the audience, witnesses nothing. How strange! Cyril Pons then “reports” Steven’s alleged suicide to Carl Rodd, a story we assume that everyone believes. Is this a ruse, leaving Pons free to kill again?

Can we discover any clues in the name Cyril Pons?
One possible anagram for Cyril Pons is I sply corn. (“I supply corn”?)
Could this mean garmonbozia? Is Pons creating such a supply through killings, attempted killings, framings and other malign activities?

It appears that this is an avenue ripe for serious investigation.
 

OneMoreChapter

Special Agent
OG DUGPA MOD
Apr 12, 2022
145
151
But as a fun bit of trivia for those who haven’t seen the bootleg footage, Mark Frost played the person shooting Cooper on set, for the hand/gun close-ups.
Was that in one of those long videos on the Mauve Zone (which one - the Season 1 one?) or where is it available if not? I know there was also a DVD of such footage which I owned at one point, but not sure where it is now.
 

sneakydave

Waiting Room
Apr 12, 2022
222
137
Fun fact, or vital clue? Was Cyril Pons the shooter? Was Josie framed?

We might recall that in s3, Cyril Pons just happens to be taking his pooch for stroll in the vicinity of Steven’s forest breakdown, when, the audience assumes, Steven shoots himself. Gersten, oddly, is on the other side of an enormous tree when she hears the shot, so she, like the audience, witnesses nothing. How strange! Cyril Pons then “reports” Steven’s alleged suicide to Carl Rodd, a story we assume that everyone believes. Is this a ruse, leaving Pons free to kill again?

Can we discover any clues in the name Cyril Pons?
One possible anagram for Cyril Pons is I sply corn. (“I supply corn”?)
Could this mean garmonbozia? Is Pons creating such a supply through killings, attempted killings, framings and other malign activities?

It appears that this is an avenue ripe for serious investigation.
I sply corn is definitely the best thing I'll read today.

Superb work. :D:D
 

Mordeen

RR Diner
Apr 18, 2022
34
64
The "who shot Cooper" mystery was simply overshadowed by Who Killed Laura.

This was the thread the average viewer hung on with almost blind disregard for the multiple threads they were dangling to give the show longevity.


That simple approach to viewing a complex show ultimately killed it. I watched it happen with my own eyes and it was very frustrating.

But we still got lightning in a bottle regardless.

- Mordeen
 

mtwentz

RR Diner
Apr 12, 2022
22
15
In my opinion, 'Who Shot Cooper' was more of an inside joke, a wink and a nod at 'Who Shot JR'. I personally don't feel it was ever intended to substitute for the mystery of 'Who Killed Laura Palmer'. It was a great S1 ending cliffhanger, but it wasn't meant to be something to cause everyone to tune in from week to week.

It was just too obviously a parody to be taken seriously.
 
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Dom

Great Northern Hotel
Jul 10, 2022
66
60
The shooting was a bravura end to season one where multiple characters fates were left in the air. The same happened at the end of season two, frustratingly. One of the many problems with season two was that so many storylines were rushed. Andrew Packard, Josie Packard and Thomas Eckhardt was a season-long story arc compressed into a couple of episodes, for example. James and Evelyn was another one (albeit it was sub-Zalman King mush). The One-Eyed Jack's-Blackie-Renault brothers storyline was done and dusted in next to no time. Nowadays, some of the stories would have been season-long 'Big Bad' tales. One-Eyed Jack's and the Renaults could easily have been the opponents for all of season two. Josie and the Packard family and the truth about Josie's Hong Kong background would make a network TV season three.
Season One was this tightly-focused bullet of a season: a great main story with a number of intriguing subplots spinning off from the core story, as Laura's death unravelled the dark secrets of the town. Season two just seemed unfocused. It would dabble in one idea for a couple of episodes, then give up and move on to something else. Characters would be briefly important, then discarded, as if no one knew quite what to do with them anymore.
The Cooper shooting was such a cheat in the end: you don't get cracked ribs, a bullet in the gut and substantial blood loss then walk around pretty much all right a couple of days later. In a way, the shooting was the death knell of the network series. In arbitrarily dismissing an ending that had intrigued Americans through the summer and Britons over Christmas, it cheated the viewer.
Josie being the shooter really seemed to have been, excuse the French, pulled out of the writers' backsides: I mean, I can imagine one of the Renault family organising the hit, or some as-yet-unseen player in the town, but Josie was just... 'huh???' It was like 'Joan Chen is leaving and we haven't figured out who shot Cooper, so let's just say she did it!'
 
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Cappy

Glastonbury Grove
Aug 4, 2022
119
79
One weird aspect of the who shot Cooper? mystery was the fact that only a handful of characters could plausibly be suspects, due to the chaotic nature of the S1 finale. The only characters not accounted for at the time of Coop's shooting were: Donna, Maddie, Norma, Josie, and only a few others. Not a very deep pool of suspects for a big whodunnit mystery... I still think Sylvia Horne would've been the most sensical shooter, but the show never had much interest in her character.
 
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