Fringe’s Walter Bishop is My Friend

A few weeks ago I was asked to review some episodes of Fox’s Fringe, and propose some ideas on how to promote the show via online video. At that point, I watched virtually no television beyond The Office and 30 Rock. But I became immediately captivated by the show, and voraciously consumed every episode via Hulu, and even purchased via AppleTV.

I used to like Prison Break, House and Criminal Minds, but what differentiates Fringe is the distinct characters. Most particular is Walter Bishop, a scientist who has been in a mental hospital for 17 years. During my spinal surgery, there were moments where I was so medicated that I believe I thought Walter was real… and my friend. Walter is a modern Frankenstein that had an alleged toothpaste research project in a Harvard lab, and Walter’s odd statements bring some comedic relief to the otherwise haunting show.


Fringe Walter Bishop
Fringe Walter Bishop

Walter is played by Actor John Noble (you’ll remember his, perhaps, as Denathor from Lord of the Rings. This interview shows Noble’s tense pause as he explain’s Walter’s time in a mental institution, at which point we wonder where Noble ends and Bishop begins.


As I type, I’m working on an ode to Walter. I’ve been begging Fox to let me visit the set during a future production because I want to see Olivia’s eyes in real life, and see if Noble is as odd as Walter or if he’s a great actor (probably a little of both).

Here’s a clip from Fox that shows some of Walter’s finest moments. Feel free to dance along.

35 Replies to “Fringe’s Walter Bishop is My Friend”

  1. Hey, even if this is unrelated to the post, I really appreciate you sending that email to youtube about Mattandcory, Nalts. This whole situation with that is such a mess, and things really got out of hand. You didn’t have to get involved. Thank you, though. Let’s just hope your email gets through to youtube. We all know mine won’t. I’ll keep you updated on what happens with that whole thing.

  2. Well, believe it or not, I was gonna make a substantive comment about your blog post, Kevin, but now robnickel’s got me all curious about whatever little drama he’s referring to.

    Damn you, Robnickel!!!!

  3. Okay, now that I’ve pissed off robnickel, here are my substantive comments:

    1. Who is Olivia, and does Wifeofnalts know you want to see her eyes in person?

    2. It does not surprise me that you are obsessed with the walter guy. I could see you coming up with and saying every single line that guy said, in the same totally non-sequitur-ish way (shut up, marilyn). Except he acts wayyyyy better than you do.

  4. MattandCory made a fake account to hoax Ruebnick. Reubnick got freaked (not knowing it was a joke) and reported it. The account went down with the MattandCory account. Let this be a reminder- if you use the same e-mail, one account goes down and brings others down. Yipes.

  5. I love Fringe!! Reminds me a lot of The X-Files.

    If you like creepy stuff (and that is what I love best, as far as TV and cinema go, that is), you should check out Supernatural on the CW.

    @3: You spelled non-sequitur right, sukatra. Of course, non-sequiturish isn’t a word, of course. Perhaps “discontinuous” would be a better word?

  6. @6

    no, it would not be a better word. you can add -ish to any word and it makes it a new word. That’s the rule of sukatra.


    Reubnick, I am truly sorry for the mess that got created.

    So I guess we’re not the only ones who torture you, huh? Hmmmmm. . . . Wonder why.

    Don’t expect me to be nice to you again.

  7. @7:

    1. The “ish” rule is not a rule of the English language. However, it is entirely possible that sukatra’s rules trump those of English.
    2. When are you ever nice to anyone?

    @8: Always a good position to take.

  8. Kevin – Will he try and set his son on fire in this one too?

    @7 my first thought was x-files too – really high production values, but…

    Anyone notice these kinds of shows pop up when Democrats are in control and more spiritual/religious leaning shows are produced when Republicans are in charge?

  9. @10: I don’t really think that’s true. Yes, the X-Files was on during the Clinton administration, but several “otherwordly” shows have orginated during the Bush administration. The following come to mind:
    Life on Mars
    Eli Stone (sadly, this is no longer with us)
    Pushing Daisies (likewise)
    the aforementioned Fringe

    I could go on. I love sci-fi and creepiness, so I pay attention to these types of shows. Most of them don’t last, because most people would rather watch mindless sitcoms.

  10. @11

    Maryland loves creepiness. Who knew? Oh wait, I guess the whole trekkie thing should have clued me in. I sure hope she doesn’t have spock ears. Wait, I think I remember reading that she does.

    Oh dear.

  11. @11 I guess what I meant to say was in these particular shows, as in x-files, Science is God and in those other shows it’s something of a vague godlike or agnostic type spirituality. Then again I haven’t seen most of the ones you mentioned.

    Since no one asked… This show has a bunch of elements taken from a lot of other shows: x-files, six feet under, CSI, House, some sort of semi-super hero action type stuff.

    The Chief of HLS reminds me of Snoop – The instant time line of events and the fast moving shots makes this more like a comic book (snarky comment here) than a drama-horror-interesting sci-fi TV show. A lot of the dialogue is pretty cheezy and there are endless cliches from the actors, to the banter in the dialogue, but I suppose they’ll iron those things out… maybe.

    The Science is really Sci-Fi which I do like and the horror and fear will probably attract people who like horror and fear; not a fan of dripping red goop myself.

    I always enjoyed the aliens and conspiracy episodes in x-files; some of their best writing. So this doesn’t appeal to me as much.

    I don’t care about any of the characters, other than a slight interest in what they will do with Nolan.

    The big difference between this and x-files is the writing – though x-file’s production values were low the writing was pretty good, in this show the productions values are high and the writing is stilted and, well, stupid, which is a shame because they have so many good topics to work with.

    It’s like they are all sitting around trying to be slick, cute or noble. The lead actress (agent) and lead actor (son) seem like Kate Blanchett and George Clooney knock-offs, neither have enough charisma for me to care and they don’t seem to have a relationship with the camera, I blame the writing for that.

    but who knows, If I were dropping loads of vicodin I might like it more.

  12. I have an electrical device hooked to my chest that I built myself, the arsenic in my sinuses is giving me hellacious migranes, I live in a haunted shack, I’m convinced that my near-brain dead hillbilly next door neighbors are running a meth lab disguised as a puppy mill, my sister’s flipped out of her brainpan on speed and going to jail again as soon as the cops can find her heavily-armed piney woods hideout and mom and I spent yesterday afternoon at the Marshall DA’s office looking at gruesome, bloody police photos which my mom denied existed while she was looking at them. How scary can Fringe be?

  13. I think the show sucks ass.

    @ 11 Marilyn… that middle kid on the show Medium creeps me out. It makes me angry even to look at the little bastard.

  14. Help WVFF site crashed my browser again!

    Funny the only thing I remember from my surgery was the feeling of being stuck on a never ending trampoline.

  15. Kevin, I hope you got some dosh for promoting Fringe.

    I’m liking Eleventh Hour and The Mentalist. Mainly because I don’t get anything but network TV. Now that Grissom’s left, you won’t see me watching much CSI. And Boston Legal has ended.

    I don’t watch sitcoms! Except Two and A Half Men. And any sitcom ever aired is better than the best “reality” show.

  16. OK, I have to respond to a lot of people here:

    @12: I don’t have Spock ears. I DO have a tribble and a Trek uniform shirt, among other goodies that I have gotten at conventions. I also have several X-Files momentos.

    @13: How could I forget Firefly!!! Loved that show!!

    @14: I agree with your assesment of X-Files vs. Fringe; X-Files had an excellent writing staff, many of whom went on to write for other good shows (for example, Howard Gordan now writes for another favorite show of mine, “24”)

    @15: What grammar errors?

    @18: Why does she creep you out, Nutcheese? I think she’s pretty cute, in a dorky kind of way.

    @20: I love the Mentalist, and Eleventh Hour is pretty good too. I think I will probably stop watching CSI now as well. Grissom was my favorite character. One sitcom I DO watch is Big Bang Theory, mostly because it is full of geeks. One of the guys reminds me of my son.

  17. Love your presentation Nalts! I subscribe to your YouTube account and just bought “15 Minutes Of Fame” and read the chapter about you! Cool.

    I am just learning how to get started with my own videos on YouTube!

  18. lol, @23 – okay so I’m sometimes lazy and “scan” – I thought your post was from marquisdejolie and thought, WTF? so I clicked on the link. Wise guy.

  19. @24

    23 Wasn’t me, but maybe a point that I need to say something.

    Okay, here’s something. I have a Star Trek TOS AND a TNG Uniform somewhere. Neither fit anymore.

    I have an autographed photo of James Doohan (i.e. “Scotty”)

    I want to believe.

    Firefly? I have most of the lines to that series memorized. Favorite line – “We’re not gonna die. We can’t die. You know why? Because we are so…very…pretty. We are just too pretty for God to let us die.” Biggest disappointment? Killing Wash and Book in Serenity. As glad as I was that they answered questions about the Reavers, I was ticked that two of my favorite characters got the axe. I still want to know more about Book’s surprising level of access.

    There, I let loose my nerdery. Hope everyone’s happy. I’m just going to go find my pocket protector and write fanmail to Steve Jobs now.

  20. @28: I agree with most of your points about Serenity. I was devasted when Wash was killed! Love that line from the show too. Did you know that Captain Tightpants has a new series coming in March? Did you see him in “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog”? Do you watch “Chuck”? Jayne is on that show and he’s great.

    Some of my favorite quotes:
    ZOE: (stopping Jayne) This is something the Captain needs to do for himself. MAL: (muffled) No – it’s not! ZOE: Oh..

    Mal: “This is the captain. We have a little problem with our entry sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and then… explode. ” Jayne: “We’re gonna explode? I don’t want to explode!”

    OK, now, if it wasn’t already painfully evident, everyone here knows for sure that I am a nerd.

  21. Hello. I am reading this thread with great interest, primarily because it has nothing to do with me. The blog entry was about me. I’m a little . . . um . . . off, so I would suggest you return your discussion to me if you wish to avoid . . . unpleasant circumstances.

  22. OMG this thread is so funny. Perfect thing to comfort me in the midst of a frigthening snow storm. Snow storms aren’t usually frightening but when you have a bad back they’re scary. Marquis- tell us more about that device, sir.

    As for dosh on Fringe- don’t know yet, but I did upload the first one. It’s not showing up. I’m a little worried about the response. It’s… ummmm…. me singing and playing guitar. That’s scarier than Walter.

  23. #31: Yet you managed to make snow angels with your bad back! I watched that video with concern for you! Where is WoN while you are playing in the snow?

  24. Still getting to know Fringe. I was really pissed when they hacked up and cancelled Farscape, Odyessy 5, Jeremiah, Babylon 5 etc.

    This should say it all I own all the series sets for as follows:
    The Prisoner
    Stargate SG1
    Stargate Atlantis (final season coming)
    Battlestar Galactica
    Firefly (Including Serenity which I think needed a real good color balancing)
    Multiple Dr Who incarnations
    and through season 6 of Buffy for the wife.
    Oh, and I keep them all next to my Traveler and D&D books.

    Letting my geek flag fly!

  25. @33
    You need TNG and Enterprise.

    being a young geek, I wasn’t able to see many of those shows when they were running. However, I have been able to catch up on them through various services like “reruns” and “bittorrent” (note: I do not participate in any illegal activity that I am aware of, thank you RIAA/MPAA for making me aware that illegally downloading music/shows/films is illegal(1)), as well as the occasional hulu and youtube.
    However, my favorite show still running is definitely Numb3rs. I (legally) own seasons 1 and 2 of it (and I’m working on getting money for seasons 3 and 4).

    Yes, I threw in bittorent as a joke, even as a poor high school student (who in 1.5 years will be an even more poor college student), I still have morals, and I do not download any music/shows/films illegally, everything I own, I own legally. Thank you, don’t sue me for mentioning a transfer protocol that is not illegal at all.

    Another note: hopefully my html anchors will work.

  26. @Jimmer

    YOu’re right, the color was off a bit in Serenity. It was on purpose though. Whedon’s idea behind the series (as you may know if you’re a level 10 geek such as myself) was that the series be shot to mimic the old westerns, which were notorious for their poor lighting, technical and continuity errors, shaky cameras, etc. Most of the “bad” quality in the series is 100% intentional. Like when they show a scene outside the ship and it’s shaking and going in and out of focus – that’s all done in CGI, and was programmed to look like that.

    At first it was a little jarring, since I’m used to trying hard not to break those rules, but it’s easy to fall in love with.

    I think Whedon killed off Wash because he wanted to make a point that he didn’t want to try and ressurect th show as a series (remember the rukus from fans that the movie would do just that?), and he knew that Wash was so much of the show’s character that if he died, it would make it easier for us rabid fans to let go.

    @34. Indeed, TNG and Enterprise would round off his series. At first I was REALLY hesitant about Enterprise, since the series was about a ship that was supposedly uber-historic, the very first Enterprise even, but had somehow NEVER been mentioned in any of the rest of the other series. But I was really impressed by it, and especially considering how big a fan I was of Quantum Leap, I thought the choice for Captain Archer was pretty good.

    Having said that, I’m still having MAJOR issues with this new Star Trek movie that JJ Abrams is producing. Most fansites have moved most of the way through the 5 steps of grieving, but I’m still stuck down at anger. Anyone who wants to start dinking around with the timeline and events of TOS is pushing their luck. But rumors that some of the regular bridge crew will be killed off in the show is too much for my inner nerd to take. You don’t go killing Checkov. Who will look for the wessels? The Wessels!?!?!

    Alright, I’m going to go snuggle up with a cup of hot Earl Gray Tea and my pocket protector while I finish re-reading the Chronicles of Narnia.

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