"Okay, so you had a dream about this place. Tell me!"


Middle 40s


Winkie's at Sunset Blvd.


Therapist?, detective?

Fashion style

Dark suit




Joe, Cowboy, Camilla

In the Dan and Herb scene, I think it's obvious that Dan is meant to represent Diane. But Herb most definitely represents Camilla because Camellia is a herb, the scientific name for Tea. So there. Tea contains caffeine which can disrupt sleep … - (gang)

Why did Herb fail with Dan?

HerbWhat about Herb? What kind of therapist he could be? You know, psychotherapy is a huge galaxy, you find huge differences in practices even into the same theoretical area. In MD we see a therapist who accepts an encounter with a patient out of a psychotherapeutic setting, such as a study, a room; so he can't be a psychoanalyst, for example, because psychoanalysts (and similar) think that they need a delimited place and time for giving a sense to the words and behaviors; and they can't be friendly, or sarcastic, or patronizing with their patients, at least in theory; on the contrary there are kinds of therapeutic practices who encourage such behavior, and encourage the patient to think that the therapist is a good friend of yours, one that you can call every time you need, one you can go to a restaurant with, you can play tennis with, or have an encounter in a Winkie's if you think that there's a monster behind a wall. So, even if Herb said "you" in a informal way, we shouldn't be surprised, it's a common practice somewhere. 

Which is the Herb's error with Dan? I think his error was that his behavior confused Dan. Dan had a serious problem with his monster, because he wasn't sure about the real existence of the monster; he didn't simply think or feel that the monster was only in his nightmares, he was asking himself about a real existence of the monster, even out of his dreams; when you have this kind of confusion between reality and dreams, it's a serious confusion, and Herb should be very careful, and shouldn't force Dan to check behind the wall. With his behavior Herb communicated to Dan two contradictory things:

  1. Herb and Dan"Dan, I don't take you seriously, I don't believe your monster, I don't believe about the importance of your monster, it's a stupid idea". But we know that the monster had a great importance for Dan, and Herb didn't catch this, Herb devaluated Dan's sentiments, because, in the end, instead of put the emotions in words, in thoughts, Herb was simply terrorized by them. 

  2. "Dan, I don't believe in your monster, but if you believe in him, I put my thoughts on the same level of yours, I challenge you, let's go to see, I'm in competition with your thoughts, I think I'm right and you're wrong". Doing this, Herb accepted that, even only in theory, a monster COULD exists in the reality and not only in a dream, whereas he shouldn't. 

But this is because Herb was terrorized, and HE felt the urgency to get rid of the bad emotions of Dan. If a schizophrenic ask you to put on your head his helmet to make you hear voices from Mars, you don't do it in order to demonstrate him that you can't hear anything and say him "you're crazy, I'm not crazy". So, Herb was terrorized and did end up terrorizing Dan, because he made feel Dan alone and right at the same time. I think Dan wanted be reassured by Herb, as if Dan would have said: "Herb, I want be here with you, you can protect me, just say that he doesn't exist and I'll trust in you, because I need to believe more in you rather then in me and in the monster”. Herb shouldn't accept that encounter...

Herb at Winkie's

Herb representing Woman of #12? - (Darklite)

The alternate theory of Herb representing DeRosa is quite possible. Consider these three clues:

  • The sign in the window behind Herb says, "Senior Special", indicating he is the more mature of the two. When DeRosa comes by to pick up her lamp and dishes, she is clearly more mature.

  • After Dan and Herb leaves, Lynch takes a moment to look at the dishes they left behind, which could connect DeRosa picking up her dishes from Diane.

  • Dan mentions Herb is in both dreams. The only character who appears unchanged in both the dream and "real world" is DeRosa.

What is Herb's motivation/profession?

  1. Dan's therapist/psychologist

    • Assuming Herb is a therapist, the important point is not that he is Dan's therapist but Diane's therapist. - (gandalf36)

    • I'm not entirely convinced that he is a therapist... However, if he is, we must keep in mind that his condescending tone is Diane's view of this man. Maybe she felt even he was against her, and that is why the therapy failed to save her. - (StellaBlue)

    • I did notice that the check has already been served before the Winkie's dream discussion has even been started. They've been there for a while. Herb ate his entire breakfast while Dan didn't eat anything. My point is that - I'm going to say that indicates that someone has been busy talking and someone has been busy listening. Btw, Herb, while given more than an opportunity, does not interrupt the telling of the dream. - (ctyankee)

    • And no - he is not a terrible therapist-asshole. The therapist should be in charge of his patient. Supportive and attentive, but to not yield to or encourage a patient to every one of his wild and mad thoughts/impulses/whims, especially if the patient might be very sick. Herb saw Dan as very troubled so he was quite skeptical, but he was there for him. - (TristanLove)

  2. Dan's friend

    • In the MD pilot, Lynch did say "friend," but it did not go into detail how Herb's tone of voice and body expression is, towards Dan. Would Lynch straight out say therapist in the pilot? It's just a blueprint/shooting script without the director's personal touch/direction. And did he change his mind about the nature of their "relationship" for the final product? I don't know. - (TristanLove)

    • It is human to smile, to have a twinkle in your eye when someone takes you down a strange path. He asked questions and makes statements and does them in a economical fashion. "Why, this Winkie's? "Tell me."
      To me the chief thing is not what his occupation is but what their relationship is. This is not Dan's sexual partner - their body language does not speak of intimacy. This is a respected friend or someone that he has a business relationship (perhaps even a co-worker). It is someone that Dan is slightly embarrassed about talking to about this dream. Dan needed support and he looked to Herb. A professional therapist works fine. - (ctyankee)

    • I just can't imagine a therapist who's condescending and borderline sarcastic – especially with a sensitive person like Dan who's obviously (to Herb) having enough trouble even bringing himself to share his feelings. - (Dave H.)

    • I guess what I mean is that we have all been in situations where we just wanted someone to be interested in what we have to say. Some people dominate the conversation so much that they lose all perspective of why you were opening your mouth in the first place.
      Herb seems to want whatever is eating Dan to just be solved so that HE can be comfortable again (not Dan). The motivation is to get this over with and disprove the fear. I didn't get the feeling he was taking Dan seriously. - (Stooka)

  3. Dan's Lover

    • First time I saw this scene, I just automatically assumed they were lovers, and the "oh boy" patronizing attitude is what you sometimes get with long-time lovers where one guy thinks he has heard it all before...especially when one partner starts going on about his "weird" dream. You people with long-term partners know that there is a certain amount of eye-rolling that goes on! - (peachfront)

    • Winkie's has a homosexual connotation. Everything in this scene would be gender-switched if Dan were Diane and Herb were Camilla. - (MaryS)

  4. A detective

    • Well, I've already said this a million times, but to me Herb is a detective and Dan is a psychic helping with an investigation. - (woodlouse)

    • Note that the Winkie's scene begins with the sound of a siren outside of the diner. I always thought Herb was just another one of Diane's subconscious 'versions' of the two detectives who came out looking for her. She, after all, doesn't know what they look like and yet formed Detective McKnight, Detective Domgaard and those couple detectives in the car. Naturally, I assumed Herb was one of 'them detectives' figments of Diane's imagination-enclosed-in-a-dream. - (sphygmo)

Trivia: Michael Cooke on his character in the movie

"Now this is what I was told - but not by David directly, but by others on set: Herb and Dan were associates in an agency.  From what I "was told" we were Literary and/or Acting agents in a large agency. But as this was originally meant to be a television show (ala "Twin Peaks") these revelations (if they ever were to be revealed anyway, as per the genius of Mr. Lynch) may or may not have ever been disclosed. This is what I played off of."

Naomi's interpretation... - (Dave H.)
It's David Lynch's Dream analysis & more!
- (unc84steve)
Where does Herb fit in? - (woodlouse)
I think I've cracked the code on the meaning of "Condescending Guy" - (22cute)
Dan, Herb...Freudian? - (MaryS)
Laney & Herb - (gandalf36)

Winkie's Restaurant