— WWE (@WWE) August 2, 2017
WWE Smackdown Tuesday night parodies Agent Cooper's Black Lodge dream sequence from the first season of Twin Peaks. Professional wrestling has always collided, in many ways, with popular culture. Back in the early ‘80s, Hulk Hogan co-starred in Rocky III, The “Rock ‘n’ Wrestling” era brought the likes of Cyndi Lauper into the then-WWF’s orbit. Celebrity guests have always been a big tradition at the annual Wrestlemania and other big wrestling events, and there’s even a “celebrity wing” of the WWE Hall of Fame that includes everyone from Bob Uecker to Arnold Schwarzenegger to the current President of the United States.
Of course, the celebrity/wrestling connection is even more pronounced today than it was in the ‘80s. The biggest movie star in the world, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, was a WWE headliner for many years. John Cena has emerged as a reliable supporting player in comedies like Trainwreck and Sisters. WWE has its own film division, building B movies around wrestlers like Kane, Edge and Randy Orton. And pop culture parodies have been popping up on WWE programming, too.
Related: Twin Peaks May Never Make Sense
WWE’s Smackdown this week released a parody of Twin Peaks on Twitter, featuring the wrestler known as Tyler Breeze, and based around a storyline that has his partner, Fandango, missing. While David Lynch’s Twin Peaks revival, Twin Peaks: The Return, is currently airing on Showtime, the WWE parody is clearly inspired more by the classic series, most specifically a certain iconic sequence from the first season.
The WWE sequence takes the form of a dream, in the tradition of Agent Dale Cooper’s famous dream sequence, in the first season’s third episode, which was the show’s introduction of The Black Lodge. In the 90-second video Breeze, wearing a Cooper-like dark suit, is shown with coffee and donuts, in front of a board featuring pictures of wrestlers captioned with puns that are references to Twin Peaks and other David Lynch films ("Bella Twin Peaks," "Blue Velvet McIntyre," as well as Kane with “Fire Walk With Me” and Sting with “Eraserhead”). Then lights flash, and Fandango appears, dressed as the dancing Man From Another Place. At the end, it was all a dream.
As pop culture parodies go, it’s pretty crude, which is part of the idea. It was filmed backstage, without much special effects or production values, and it’s certain to appeal to what’s likely a broad cross-section of people who love both pro wrestling and Twin Peaks. True, it’s parodying a scene on a TV series that first aired in 1990 - but one iconic enough that it probably didn’t float over most people’s heads.
True, WWE could have instead parodied something from Twin Peaks: The Return. The “Gotta Light” guy? A wrestler dressed in a green jacket like Dougie Jones? A lengthy sequence in which two characters discuss several other characters who have never been seen or mentioned on the show up to that point? Those probably wouldn’t have landed quite as well.
Twin Peaks airs Sundays @9pm on Showtime.