Today, I found out that Catherine E. Coulson died. I heard about it first via Facebook, from my friend Melinda who posted about the actress’s work at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Naturally, I assumed she was some dame, playing Emilia and Isolde and Lady Macbeth.
And then, I looked a little further, and realized that she was The Log Lady, also known as one of the best and funniest McGuffins in television history.
I was too young to watch the series in its original airing, but ever since the news of a possible reboot, I’ve been working my way through the too-short run of Twin Peaks on Hulu. I started watching it last semester and made it to the middle of the second season before I just stopped watching it and then couldn’t remember where I’d left off so I left it for a while and haven’t returned, but now, I just might have to do just that.
For those of you who are not American, or have just never heard of Twin Peaks, it’s basically this eerie drama about (first episode spoiler alert) a detective finding out who killed Laura Palmer, a small town prom queen in Twin Peaks, Washington. Though the episodes are full of twists and turns, the language and imagery is spellbinding. When I watch it, I can almost taste that Pacific Northwest rain. And the best part of is that no one is innocent. Everyone’s hiding something, even the detective himself. David Lynch is known for his unconventional and haunting work, but the silence of Twin Peaks just amps the creepy up to full.
And then, enter Coulson as The Log Lady.
Basically…that was her character. She was a lady who walked around town cradling a log which she claimed had magical powers. Occasionally, her predictions were correct, but in all those cases she and her log either gave vague, tangential information, or were just plain lucky. There were all sorts of theories about her and her purpose in the show, including some that she was actually the only sane person or the only truth teller in the whole town. To me, though, and I think to most, she was just a crazy lady with a log as a best friend. She doesn’t really go through any changes, she just kind of exists, toddling around the town, not really much different than in earlier or later episodes. And if that’s the most normal thing in the town of Twin Peaks, then you’ve got a lot to look forward to, so head over to Hulu and make yourself some coffee and pie.
But for now, let’s reflect on some gifs of the Questionable Wisdom of the Log Lady. Catherine E. Coulson, rest peacefully.
Preach, log lady, preach.