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It was definitely her.

The character's sort of cavalier take on life, I think, either came out of Mädchen's performance first or went hand in hand with the writing from the start. There's stuff like Shelly reenacting Leland's freakout at Laura's funeral in this hilariously perverse display for the diner patrons, or throwing a party with Bobby while the catatonic Leo sits in his chair, that sticks with me. She just doesn't give a !@#$%^&*]. She's not a bore like Donna became and she's sort of further along the moral scale than Audrey, a bit harder edged but still very plucky.

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Not only everything that Vee said but I think the fact that she was probably one of the furthest removed, if not the furthest removed, character from Laura's orbit, mostly because she wasn't her friend, barely knew her and wasn't in the high school scene anymore. Her story was also the prime/initial example of the darkness and seediness that live beneath the surface of the town (beyond the obvious cheating that consumed everyone it seemed and the criminal elements). The story of Leo being physically and emotionally abusive toward her was the first one to victimize another character on the show (outside of the obviously dead and tragic homecoming queen Laura). I think people felt really bad for Shelly and rightly so.

To be fair, Shelly was definitely a supporting cast member in terms of who the main cast consisted of. Arguably, she was the least "important" of the main cast women. She never appeared on the magazine ads like all the other girls did (outside of the "Rolling Stone" cover which was not in-show if that makes sense). Audrey was definitely the defacto lead female character while Piper Laurie and Joan Chen were the lead actresses (just by billing and high profile). Then you had Lara Flynn Boyle shoving herself into every story and monopolizing screen time with James so Shelly and Norma were definitely supporting roles to all of them (and Norma probably even beats Shelly there with Peggy Lipton's obvious prior fame). I think this is also why Madchen was David's favorite - she just didn't play the fame game (how could she compete in all honesty with everything I just said). She was there to have fun and make money. No muss, no fuss.

Edited by alexisfan07
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I remember when I was little watching it on ABC I was terrified of Leo and really liked Shelly. Bobby less so, though he grew on me years later.

I floved Bobby after Dana was expressive in how emotional and damaged Bobby really was. I love male characters like that - genuine ones, not horrifically fake ones that play the victim like James.

I added more to my post above, FYI.

Edited by alexisfan07
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To be fair, Shelly was definitely a supporting cast member in terms of who the main cast consisted of. Arguably, she was the least "important" of the main cast women. She never appeared on the magazine ads like all the other girls did (outside of the "Rolling Stone" cover which was not in-show if that makes sense). Audrey was definitely the defacto lead female character while Piper Laurie and Joan Chen were the lead actresses (just by billing and high profile). Then you had Lara Flynn Boyle shoving herself into every story and monopolizing screen time with James so Shelly and Norma were definitely supporting roles to all of them (and Norma probably even beats Shelly there with Peggy Lipton's obvious prior fame). I think this is also why Madchen was David's favorite - she just didn't play the fame game (how could she compete in all honesty with everything I just said). She was there to have fun and make money. No muss, no fuss.

My memory may be faulty but I remember Mädchen in a lot of press back then, not just the RS cover - lots of talk shows, lots of magazines, etc. I remember being mildly confounded by it as a little kid because while I liked her and Shelly a lot, my favorite back then was Maddy and I was frustrated that Sheryl Lee was not always featured with the others.

On paper and often on the show, Shelly was a supporting character, especially in the second season, but Mädchen and her performance was what elevated her onscreen and in the media to more than that, and the scripts often went with it. Audrey clearly ended up becoming a lead before things went haywire and she got downgraded mid-Season 2. Catherine and Josie were more prestige and billing, plus I don't think Josie - a Lynchian female archetype - and her story worked out quite the way they had planned (Josie and Cooper was allegedly the original planned central romance, before they got Sherilyn Fenn and Kyle MacLachlan onscreen together). They were certainly into Audrey and SF by the end of Season 1 to begin planning ideas for the spinoff/telefilm for Audrey that ultimately became Mulholland Drive.

Mädchen remains a favorite of Lynch, and I know he and Sherilyn Fenn patched it up long ago since FWWM. From what I have heard there's no love lost between Lara Flynn Boyle and TPTB.

Edited by Vee
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Well LFB caused the second half of season 2 to derail.. and the show frantically had to rewrite the planned Cooper/Audrey story.. quickly introduce a replacement character Annie, etc. I think Audrey being held hostage by Windom Earle in the Black Lodge would have had more impact then Annie did...

I did read somewhere that Annie's backstory would have been explored had there been a season 3.. along with Audrey surviving the bomb blast.. and I think Leo wouldn't have survived his situation. Is it true that Sheryl Lee would have been a third character had there been a season 3?

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Not only everything that Vee said but I think the fact that she was probably one of the furthest removed, if not the furthest removed, character from Laura's orbit, mostly because she wasn't her friend, barely knew her and wasn't in the high school scene anymore. Her story was also the prime/initial example of the darkness and seediness that live beneath the surface of the town (beyond the obvious cheating that consumed everyone it seemed and the criminal elements). The story of Leo being physically and emotionally abusive toward her was the first one to victimize another character on the show (outside of the obviously dead and tragic homecoming queen Laura). I think people felt really bad for Shelly and rightly so.

It was definitely her.

The character's sort of cavalier take on life, I think, either came out of Mädchen's performance first or went hand in hand with the writing from the start. There's stuff like Shelly reenacting Leland's freakout at Laura's funeral in this hilariously perverse display for the diner patrons, or throwing a party with Bobby while the catatonic Leo sits in his chair, that sticks with me. She just doesn't give a [[email protected]#$%^&*]. She's not a bore like Donna became and she's sort of further along the moral scale than Audrey, a bit harder edged but still very plucky.

I think this is it. On the one hand she was something of a victim, but she was never defined by that. There's a certain humor and spark in her in spite of the struggles she's had in life. Like her early relationship with Bobby. It could have been seen as a pathetic, sad getaway for a woman trapped in an abusive marriage. Instead it was genuinely fun and sexy. Scenes like her sexually teasing with the gun she planned to use to kill Leo in self-defense - they straddled the line.

The other thing that isn't remarked upon very often is that Shelly was probably the only woman on the show who was sexually active in a way that was satisfying for her and presented as arousing. You had Josie, who had some hot scenes, but by season 2 she was ultimately presented as a tragic character. Shelly was ground down in season 2, but she was never completely tragic. She wasn't consumed.

Contrasting her with Laura, whose sexuality was used to show that she was damned, or Audrey, who was, underneath, a sad girl trying to be a woman, Shelly was much more of a complete sexual being. And her scenes with Bobby were scorching hot. They just were. You almost feel uncomfortable watching them in those moments.

Yet the scenes weren't just a frustrated woman and a horny high schooler. You could believe genuine love between them, even when Bobby began to treat her like trash.

Shelly was also a character you could throw anything at. Madchen could play it. For instance, her flirtation with Gordon Cole, which was obviously filler, like much of the back half of season 2, but which was great fun to watch, so sweet and simple and not forced. And her scenes at the diner, which Madchen always played with a believable mix of irritation and genuine respect for the job.

Shelly was a perfect supporting character, and probably the character who most took overfamiliar noir trappings and made them her own. She's one of those characters the show just wouldn't have worked without.

Edited by DRW50
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I think Shelly had a lot more fun in Season 2. They knew Amick could do screwball comedy and they gave it to her, a lot of the stuff with Bobby and Zombie Leo early on, then Gordon Cole. She also has a great bit later on with Norma where she mocks the Miss Twin Peaks pageant. I think she became a much lighter character with Leo out of commission - granted, some of that was in place in Season 1 - but it worked for me.

I also sometimes thought Shelly was too much woman for Bobby; when I was younger I thought she should have ended up with Gordon. I love Dana Ashbrook's performance today and I think Bobby definitely has his place, and it was clearly Lynch and Frost's intention to reunite them at the end of Season 2 (perhaps because they suspected they would be cancelled), and I think they're adorable in the finale. But I also kind of liked the Bobby/Audrey thing, which I am pretty sure Ashbrook and Sherilyn Fenn have both said they didn't get. (There's some about this in the Brad Dukes book, I think from both of them.)

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I floved Bobby after Dana was expressive in how emotional and damaged Bobby really was. I love male characters like that - genuine ones, not horrifically fake ones that play the victim like James.

I added more to my post above, FYI.

For me it was that therapy scene. It was melodramatic, yes, but we got a good look inside his head and how broken he was under the cocky swagger. The scene shocked me the first time I saw it, and really drew me into the character. I never looked back.

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I think Shelly had a lot more fun in Season 2. They knew Amick could do screwball comedy and they gave it to her, a lot of the stuff with Bobby and Zombie Leo early on, then Gordon Cole. She also has a great bit later on with Norma where she mocks the Miss Twin Peaks pageant. I think she became a much lighter character with Leo out of commission - granted, some of that was in place in Season 1 - but it worked for me.

I also sometimes thought Shelly was too much woman for Bobby; when I was younger I thought she should have ended up with Gordon. I love Dana Ashbrook's performance today and I think Bobby definitely has his place, and it was clearly Lynch and Frost's intention to reunite them at the end of Season 2 (perhaps because they suspected they would be cancelled), and I think they're adorable in the finale. But I also kind of liked the Bobby/Audrey thing, which I am pretty sure Ashbrook and Sherilyn Fenn have both said they didn't get. (There's some about this in the Brad Dukes book, I think from both of them.)

I was mostly thinking of the period in season 2 when she was sitting around taking care of Leo while Bobby was playing junior exec. It probably wasn't that long, it just seemed like forever to me.

I do think Shelly deserved better than Bobby - I tend to see them as people who probably got together and split up (more than) a few times, and will never fully be apart, but I think she would eventually move on. But I did love them together.

Sherilyn and Dana had fun chemistry together. The writing was a little forced at times, although I can write that off as Audrey forcing herself into a flip persona she wasn't feeling by that point, but they did work well together amidst all that pine weasel mess. I wish we'd seen more of them becoming friends of a sort.

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