Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Randy St. Croix (TWIN PEAKS Character Series #79)


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.

Randy is courteous with guests (even strange ones), but his temper flares up when he suspects the boss’ daughter is trying to take his job.



Sunday, March 19, 1989
Randy first appears as concierge of the Great Northern Hotel to check in two ominous strangers reserved for “Eckhardt.” He smiles and welcomes them to Twin Peaks.

Tuesday, March 21, 1989
A couple days later, Randy grouchily turns his concierge desk over to Audrey Horne, daughter of the hotel’s owner. Unimpressed by her proposal of an outreach program for non-return guests, the territorial clerk lets her know his job isn’t as easy as she thinks. Audrey assures him she’s working every job at the hotel, but Randy remains nonplussed.

Wednesday, March 22, 1989
Randy signs in a curious couple; skeptical that they’re actually married, he asks in an arched voice, “Will you be staying long?” The “husband” is recognized by a couple teenagers passing by, and as Randy tries to figure out what’s going on the “wife” impatiently bashes in his desk bell (crushing it with her unexpected strength) before they rush off with the key.

Thursday, March 23, 1989
The couple check out the following morning, and everyone’s in a better mood. They are clearly sated by the night’s activity and Randy is more cheerful than we’ve seen him. A girl arrives asking for Audrey and Randy leaves to find her.

Saturday, March 25, 1989
An anxious young man asks for Audrey, who hasn’t returned yet from a trip to Seattle. Later she passes the desk and is sidetracked by a deputy waiting to take her to the station for some questions. When she runs into Randy again, she is about to ask him something; she hesitates and brushes it off, and he continues with his work.

Characters Randy interacts with onscreen…

Jones

Audrey Horne

Nadine Hurley & Mike Nelson (posing as "Mrs. & Mr. Hinkman")

Donna Hayward

John Justice Wheeler

Impressions of TWIN PEAKS through Randy
Four entries into this series, we still haven’t left the Great Northern, where so many of the smaller repeat appearances are rooted. Randy doesn’t lead us to any unseen parts of the hotel. In fact his offscreen world is even more limited than the waitress/entertainer and other two concierges: it consists entirely of the lobby, and mostly the front desk. But Randy interacts with more characters than any of our prior Great Northerners. Through his eyes even more than Trudy’s, Twin Peaks appears to be bustling with intriguing, half-understood side stories: the Eckhardt plot, the Nadine/Mike romance, Donna’s investigation of Ben, and Jack’s fling with Audrey (all very secondary subplots, by the way; Randy has no links to either Cooper or Laura in any scene – and he’s the first concierge not to interact with Ben). The Audrey whom Randy encounters is radically different from the one who tormented Julie in the pilot: in less than a month, the teenager has gone from pixieish schoolgirl pranks to serious business aspirations (and her hair’s grown quite a bit too!). The Twin Peaks of Randy’s scenes presents itself as a Grand Hotel-type soap opera mixing melodrama and farce while various characters pass through a single location.

Randy’s journey
Randy’s appearances are more episodic than serialized, dealing with new guests or issues each time. To the extent he has an arc it’s in his relationship to Audrey – or perhaps her relationship to him. At first, she’s very eager to share her ideas but when he responds sourly, her face falls. There doesn’t seem to be any bad blood when she returns to the hotel from Seattle a few days later - however, when she’s looking for help she nearly asks him, hesitates, and then hastily says, “Forget it.” Randy is the first person in this character series allowed to be contentious (Julie’s experience with Audrey is obviously negative but she’s the butt, rather than an equal opponent). Notably more assertive than Julie, Randy is notably less enthusiastic than Louie: there’s often a testy or somewhat distanced tone to his voice dealing with guests. He is totally professional but not exactly warm (except for the morning-after “married” couple, who greatly amuse him).

Actor: Ron Blair
I couldn’t find out much about Blair, who is, incidentally, the first male actor in these studies. Although other credits are scarce, he does appear as a cop in the massage parlor/"lust" sequence of Seven (I refuse to type the number in place of the “v”!).

Episodes
Episode 21 (German title: "Double Play")

Episode 23 (German title: "The Condemned Woman" - best episode)

Episode 24 (German title: "Wounds and Scars")

Episode 25 (German title: "On the Wings of Love")

Episode 27 (German title: "The Path to the Black Lodge")

Writers/Directors
Randy’s scripted history is spotty to say the least – in fact, he barely exists on the page. In three of his appearances (those written by Scott Frost and the duo of Harley Peyton and Robert Engels), he’s scripted simply as a generic “clerk.” At one point his dialogue is written for a character named Emile Lazare, and at another the character is renamed Richard Lazare. So Randy’s consistent characterization was less the work of writers than of the actor himself, and the directors and/or producers who kept bringing him back. On a show that wasn’t afraid to swap out concierges, they were obviously pleased with what he was doing. Those directors include Uli Edel, Lesli Linka Glatter (who directed his strongest scene), James Foley, Duwayne Dunham (who encouraged the unusually cheery demeanor), and Stephen Gyllenhaal. Gyllenhaal, who probably improvised more than anyone aside from Lynch himself, added that last bit of business between Audrey and Randy, likely a very conscious callback to their earlier tension and a nice payoff in the character’s last scene.

Statistics
Randy is onscreen for roughly three minutes. He is in seven scenes and five episodes, taking place in five days (all within the space of a week). He’s featured the most in episode 24, when he checks in Nadine and Mike. All of his scenes are set in the Great Northern Hotel. He shares the most screentime with Nadine and Mike.

Best Scene
Episode 23: A testy Randy tells Audrey his job isn’t easy.

Best Line
“Your enthusiasm brings a salty tear to the eye.”

Additional Observations

• Randy’s surname curiously changes on his nametag, from “Mayer” to “St. Croix.” We’ll go with the second and assume the first was a misprint.


SHOWTIME: No, Blair is not on the cast list for 2017. Hopefully if the character left the Great Northern, it wasn’t due to tensions with Audrey – but then, the last episode suggests both she and her father have much more dire things to worry about.

Tomorrow: Heidi
Yesterday: Trudy Chelgren

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