Friday, January 27, 2017

Louie "Birdsong" Budway (TWIN PEAKS Character Series #81)


The TWIN PEAKS Character Series surveys eighty-two characters from the series Twin Peaks (1990-91) and the film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992) as well as The Missing Pieces (2014), a collection of deleted scenes from that film. A new character study will appear every weekday morning until the premiere of Showtime’s new season of Twin Peaks on May 21, 2017. There will be spoilers for the original series and film.

Louie is an extremely (over)eager employee, knocking herself out to impress her boss and go the extra mile.



Monday, March 6, 1989
Louie is a concierge at the Great Northern Hotel brimming with enthusiastic ideas to help the business grow. Early this morning she’s waiting in the hallway to pounce on her boss Ben Horne. Through personal connections (a sister’s college roommate who works for a Seattle newspaper) Louie knows some inside dope: the esteemed travel writer and food critic M.T. Wentz will be coming to Twin Peaks. This information impress the initially nonchalant Ben (who goes from “Walk and talk!” to “Not even 9:30, and you have already done a good day’s work!”). Louie also networks with Norma Jennings at the RR Diner. That night, a mysterious Japanese businessman named Mr. Tojamura appears at the Great Northern, and Louie is immediately suspicious, arching her eyebrows and smirking before placing a call to Norma.

Tuesday, March 7, 1989
A much calmer Louie calls Ben to tell him Mr. Tojamura is paying a visit, and not a moment too soon: Tojamura immediately enters the office as Ben responds. That’s it for Louie. For all her determination and enthusiasm, we never see her again.

Characters Louie interacts with onscreen…

Ben Horne

Mr. Tojamura (Catherine Martell)

Impressions of TWIN PEAKS through Louie
Twin Peaks is an exciting, lighthearted locale in Louie’s eyes – a place where if you really hustle and keep your eye on the ball, you can get ahead. Ben is a tough but fair boss, and Louie loves her job. There’s no mention of the Laura murder or the Ghostwood deal or any of the more serious subjects that concerned Julie – in Louie’s world the big deal is a food critic’s possible visit. The Great Northern looks festive this day – there are balloons hanging across the lobby (for the Tri-County Lumber Queen Semifinals), and all in all, Twin Peaks seems like a cheerful, wacky show when Louie is onscreen. This over-the-top personality, and especially the “famous food critic is coming to town!” storyline, could be seen as signaling Twin Peaks’ transition into a more conventional episodic series in its second season, away from the more focused serialized mystery of the first.

Louie’s journey
Louie does not really have an arc. She offers a hot tip to Ben, capitalizes when she thinks the tip has paid off, and later gives Ben a quick buzz (from offscreen; I wouldn’t even know it was the same character if the actress didn't mention it in an interview). To the extent her storyline climaxes, it’s in the implication that Tojamura is M.T. Wentz and therefore Louie's tip delivered for both Ben and Norma. Of course, as we eventually learn, that’s not what actually happens. Tojamura is a disaster for Ben and the real M.T. Wentz is a disaster for Norma.

Actress: Bellina Logan
Logan’s ties to the Lynchverse run deep. She’s good friends with Laura Dern and appeared in a deleted scene from Wild at Heart. She also appeared in Lynch/Frost’s follow-up show, the wacky sitcom On the Air, where she was cast as “the Woman with No Name” who does a strange dance in the TV studio where the show is set. Unfortunately, this season finale was never aired since ABC dumped the series after three episodes. For more from Logan, check out the great Twin Peaks Archive interview. (Update: Logan has written a play, Conversations with a Mulatto Love Child, about her experiences as the daughter of and later a partner in, interracial relationships  - thanks to @a_meanwhile brought this to my attention!)

Episodes
*Episode 11 (German title: "Laura's Secret Diary" - best episode)

Episode 12 (German title: "The Orchid's Curse")

Writers/Directors
Logan’s part originated in one of the most convoluted teleplays of the series, credited to Mark Frost, Harley Peyton, Robert Engels, and Jerry Stahl (although apparently the heroin-addled Stahl, a freelancer who was supposed to pen the episode himself, contributed very little to the final draft). Logan was directed by Todd Holland, a director given to flamboyant gestures, who likely encouraged her boisterous performance. Her very quick voice work in the next episode was directed by Graeme Clifford, and scripted by Barry Pullman.

Statistics
Louie is onscreen for roughly two minutes (including her voice on the speaker). She is in three scenes and two episodes, taking place in two days. She’s featured the most (by far) in episode 11, when she’s hyping M.T. Wentz. All of her scenes are set in the Great Northern Hotel. She shares the most screentime with Ben.

Best Scene
Louie impresses Ben with a hot tip about a travel writer.

Best Line
“I think the eagle has landed.”

Additional Observations

• Louie is not only eager to please, she’s honest to a fault, admitting to Ben that her source isn’t “really” a friend.

• Logan sells every line with a full-body follow-through that is too much for a lot of people. I’ll admit I found it too “Nickelodeon” for a while but it’s grown on me.

• The character makes me think of sales jobs I’ve had, and acting seminars I’ve witnessed, where the idea is, hell – just go for it! No matter how ridiculous you look or feel, don’t be boring, sell it with everything you’ve got.

• Louie notes that M.T. Wentz might be a woman, which turns out to be true.

• Louie is mentioned in a scene she’s not present for, when Norma excitedly tells Hank that a food critic might be coming to the RR (little does she know).


SHOWTIME: Yes, Louie will appear in the new series this year; or at least, Logan is mentioned on the 2017 cast list (as a Lynch favorite, perhaps he brought her back for another role). But where did the character go on the original series? Was her effort all too much? Was she punished for being unable to secure the M.T. Wentz visit? More likely, the later concierges simply share duties with Louie, who keeps working (offscreen); perhaps she's even promoted. I won’t be surprised if Louie now manages the Great Northern for a semi-retired Ben Horne… perhaps he even left it to her when family members were uninterested or incapable.

Monday: Trudy Chelgren
Yesterday: Julie

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