Inside Invitation to Love: Twin Peaks's Show-Within-A-Show You May Have Missed


Twin Peaks is the show that keeps on giving. Nearly 30 years after the cult classic first debuted, fans and critics alike are still discussing the multilayered messages hidden within the "groundbreaking" series.

One new analysis comes courtesy of Dazed, which outlined the history of Invitation To Love, the show-within-a-show that casual viewers of Twin Peaks may have overlooked upon first viewing. The use of this device—a nod to Shakespeare's play-within-a-play—serves as a "meta-exploration of the medium of TV itself," according to Dazed.

A Twin Peaks screenshot

The characters of Twin Peaks can be seen watching snippets of the soap opera Invitation to Love throughout the first and second seasons, but it does not appear in the 2017 reboot. The soap shows up for the first time in season one, episode three, in a scene where waitress Shelly Johnson is watching television. After watching the show's opening, which has been compared to Days of Our Lives, Shelly glances at a photo of her abusive husband Leo and then turns to the doorway where her secret lover, Bobby Briggs, stands.

"Her own invitation to love, indeed her only possibility for love, has arrived, so Shelly abandons the television romance for one of her own," Mark J. Charney wrote in a 1991 essay published in the journal Studies in Popular Culture. In this way, the soap opera serves to mirror and parody the events happening in Twin Peaks while also providing insight into the characters' thoughts and motivations. At times, the soap opera is also used to foreshadow future developments in Twin Peaks.

An analysis by Slate further developed the theory that Invitation to Love is a meta commentary on television itself, stressing that Twin Peaks draws from diverse sources to create a "twisted pastiche of network TV." When series co-creator Mark Frost was asked why they chose to include the soap opera sequences, he replied, "I think that watching television is a big part of people's lives in this country and you very rarely see that treated in television."

Some people—including Frost's fellow co-creator, David Lynch—have even argued that Twin Peaks itself can be labeled a soap opera. But Charney disagreed, stating that the series "is neither a conventional soap opera nor a parody of the genre." Rather, he argued, it combines elements of slapstick, horror, and melodrama to create a surreal series that spans several genres.

Check out the video below to see a compilation of all the Invitation to Love clips that appear in Twin Peaks.

[h/t Dazed]

Game of Thrones's Kristian Nairn Didn't Learn the Meaning of Hodor's Name Until the Very End

Isaac Hempstead Wright with Kristian Nairn in Game of Thrones
Isaac Hempstead Wright with Kristian Nairn in Game of Thrones
Helen Sloan, HBO

Actor Kristian Nairn officially left the Game of Thrones universe in 2016, but viewers have hardly forgotten about him. Nairn’s character, Hodor, was Bran Stark’s loyal servant for six seasons before tragically dying while holding the door shut to hold off the Army of the Undead, allowing Bran to escape.

Nairn recently reflected on the role, admitting that though he only ever repeated one line, Hodor was a difficult character to portray.

“The key to playing Hodor is just being real—you really have to put yourself into the situation because you don’t have words to express yourself,” Nairn told Star 2. “You really had to immerse yourself into the reality of the scene and put in your body language with having just one word.”

Most surprising about Nairn’s portrayal of Hodor is the fact that not even the actor knew the meaning of his character's name. In his final moments, fans finally find out that “Hodor” came about from Bran warging into Hodor as a youth at Winterfell at the same time they were being pursued by the undead. As Meera yelled at Hodor to "hold the door," a young Hodor seemed to see Bran at Winterfell. Then it seems that Bran also wargs into young Hodor, who suffers a seizure, which leaves him unable to say anything but the shortened version of his dying words.

Fans were shocked by this revelation, and it turns out that Nairn was, too.

“I remember over the years, I have asked the showrunners and George RR Martin what Hodor meant, but they would never tell me,” Nairn said. So he created his own theory for where the name came from, guessing that Hodor was a Clegane due to his unusually large size—but obviously that theory didn’t pan out.

“I was surprised just like everyone else when I found out what Hodor meant. But I never expected the reaction that came from all over the world,” Nairn said, commenting on the collective depression that fans fell into after his character’s death.

While a character who only ever utters one line over six seasons might not be an enticing role to every actor, Nairn said that showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss assured him the part would be worth it.

“It was challenging in some ways but David and Dan told me, ‘You’re gonna be one of the fan favorites of the show,' and this was before we even started. I didn’t really understand; I was like ‘Really? But he just says one word, guys.’ But they turned out to be right,” Nairn shared.

Nairn has taken a break from acting in order to focus on his DJ career, but he knows he’ll return to television eventually. “I love fantasy roles, sci-fi stuff. But I am up for anything. I will never do a part like Hodor again … I definitely have too much to say,” he said.

A Swedish Film Festival Is Screening a Sci-Fi Film from Inside Sealed Coffins

There will be no reclining seats or super-sized cupholders at screenings of Aniara at the Göteborg Film Festival in Sweden. Instead of maximizing comfort, the showing is designed to intentionally put viewers on edge by locking them in a coffin for the duration of the film, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The so-called "sarcophagus screenings" are one of the less conventional events on the program for the 2019 festival. For 33 showings of Aniara, eight moviegoers at a time will be led to special coffins with screens and speakers built in. The boxes will also come with air vents and panic buttons in case viewers want to bail out before the credits roll.

Aniara, based on the Harry Martinson poem of the same name, is a Swedish-language sci-fi movie about a spaceship that is knocked off course on its way to Mars while fleeing the apocalypse on Earth. The festival staff collaborated with the directors Pella Kagerman and Hugo Lilja to create a viewing experience that enhances the sense of isolation and claustrophobia portrayed in the film.

The Göteborg Film Festival won't be the first group to mix live interment with entertainment. During the 2018 Halloween season, Six Flags St. Louis invited guests to spend 30 hours in a coffin in exchange for season passes. This time around, viewers just have to make it through Aniara's 106-minute runtime.

The sarcophagus screenings kick off with the Göteborg festival premiere of Aniara on January 27, and will continue through the end of the month.

[h/t The Hollywood Reporter]