So last night, the final two episodes of Fringe aired. They were great. I laughed. I cried. I jumped up and down and clapped my hands together like a giddy little girl.
I won’t bother to give you a review of the last two episodes of Fringe. Either you already know because you watch the show or you really don’t care. But for those of you who never saw the show (what’s wrong with you?), there was one thing in the last episode that, for me, perfectly encapsulated everything I ever loved about the show.
It’s a nice little moment between mad scientist Walter Bishop and his son from an alternate universe, Peter. Walter hands Peter some bullets and tells him to be careful with them, as they’re special anti-gravity (?) bullets that will make the Observers float in the air after they’ve been shot.
“But once we shoot them, they’re dead,” says Peter. “Why would we want them to float?”
“Because it’s cool,” said Walter.
There’s only one more night of new Fringe episodes, ever, and that night is tonight. With a double-header to wrap up the fifth and final season, I have no plans other than to plant myself in front of the television and punch anyone who gets in my way.
I’m so excited! Yet despondent. Yet excited! Yet mournful.
With the final season of Fringe starting on Sept. 28 (that’s only almost two weeks away, squeeeee!), I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately. Well, not as much as I think about Walter and Peter, because one is a genius mad scientist and the other is the hot son of a genius mad scientist, and also not as much as I think about Olivia, because she looks so good in a suit , or as much as I think about Astrid because she’s just so pretty, but more than I think about, say, lichen.
Also, I know there’s more than one Observer and you’ve probably got a name, except you come from the future so maybe they don’t have names anymore? Maybe they just have ID numbers or something? Anyway, you probably have a name or an ID number or whatever, but to me, you’ll always be the Observer, because you were the first and also the nicest. I mean, you don’t seem to be dead set on enslaving humanity in the future, like the rest of your associates, which I think is pretty nice.
Not to mention you’re always hanging out with my good TV friends Walter and Peter and Olivia and Astrid. (I feel like I should stop saying “not to mention” and then mentioning the thing, but I’m afraid if I do stop, then all my paragraphs will start with “also.”) I think they’re great, what with the way they travel to alternate universes and have telekinetic powers and great hair (hi, Astrid! I love your hair!) and sometimes get to be badass (hi, Astrid! I loved the way you hurt all those bad guys last season, right before one shot you in the gut!).
And you obviously think they’re great too, which means we have that in common, so that could be something we could talk about while we’re dating.
Oh, did I forget to say we should be dating, Observer? I meant to say that.
We should be dating, Observer.
For one thing (and this is a thing that’s in addition to that thing I mentioned earlier, about how awesome the Fringe team is and how much I wish they were my real friends, except I’d've probably gotten disintegrated in some horrible parallel universe cross-dimensional murder by now, so I guess I’m OK with them being fictional), all the extra spices in my cupboard that I hardly ever use, I could totally use when cooking for you, because being from the future makes you have no sense of taste (for some reason). Seriously, there’s this thing of chipotle power in my cupboard right now that is just going to waste, and I wouldn’t mind dumping it on some mashed potatoes. For you, Observer.
Plus, you look good in a fedora. (Or is that a trilby?)
Anyway, when we get married, we should invite Walter and Peter and Olivia and Astrid to our wedding, and maybe even Agent Broyles and Nina. Ooooh, and also everybody’s alternate selves from the parallel universe, and also William Bell, because he’s secretly Leonard Nimoy.
In fact, I’ll get started on the invitations now.
Everybody loves a mad scientist. And lucky you! You just so happen to be dating one! … You think.
Let’s just make sure, shall we?
1. Oh, your boyfriend is mad, all right. Very mad indeed. But it turns out that instead of science, his obsession is millinery.
Interesting story! The famous courtesan Kitty Fisher was a milliner before she became a courtesan. Later, she died of lead poisoning due to the ingredients in the popular face makeup of the time.
(Shut up! Learning things is fun!)
2. Your boyfriend is mad, and also a scientist. Also, he has a pet monster.
And sometimes, people call the monster by your boyfriend’s name.
3. OK, your boyfriend is a scientist, AND he’s mad, and he’s also really, really old.
And from the future!
4. Madness is a trait of your boyfriend’s, and maybe he’s a scientist, but probably not. Also, his name is Max.
And he’s Mel Gibson before he went mad.
5. So let’s say your boyfriend is a genius scientist who happens to be mad. Should you feel badly about two-timing him with his evil self?
6.Your boyfriend’s mad, a scientist, and Edison hates him soooo much.
He’s probably just jealous that they’ll get David Bowie to portray him in the movies.
7. For your birthday, he got you a puppy.
And its DNA had been spliced with a human’s, and it’s miserable, and you’re miserable, and you all live miserably together on an island.
8. He travels to other universes!
And has a pet cow.
9. He might be mad, he’s definitely a warrior, and he battles evil.
And hangs out with Warwick Davis.
(It’s a Willow reference. Get it?)
10. He travels through time in elegant fashion, and has awesome (?) hair.
Some folks might say you could do better than dating Doc Brown, but some folks are crazy.
There you go. Unless you’re dating the Mad Hatter, Mad Max or Madmartigan, then you’re definitely dating a mad scientist. I hope this helped you. I know it helped me.
So the other night I went on a bit of a Billy Idol kick, listening White Wedding, Rebel Yell, Eyes Without a Face and even Cradle of Love, and then I thought: “Huh, whatever happened to that guy, anyway? Also, does he still sneer, like, all the time?”
So I decided to do a little research today, otherwise known as typing the words “Billy” and “Idol” into Google and reading the stuff that came up. Sherlock Holmes would be so proud of me.
Anyway, I learned many things about Billy Idol, like that he totally isn’t dead, which kind of surprised me, and that his real name isn’t Billy Idol, which kind of didn’t surprise me at all.
Billy Idol was born on Nov. 30, 1955, as William Michael Albert Broad, a more British name you couldn’t possibly find anywhere. I mean, there’s at least two princes thrown in that name and possibly a third, but I don’t pay much attention to the monarchy, so who knows? (Other people, that’s who.) Apparently, he came up with the moniker “Idol” after a teacher described him as “idle,” which sounds a bit like bullshit to me, because they have two completely different meanings and it seems like he would know the one is closer to “superstar” than “gadabout.” Also, I just used the word “gadabout.”
At age 2, Idol moved with his family to New York, but after four years, they moved back to England, probably because American kids mercilessly bullied a boy named “William Michael Albert.” Back in England, Idol attended the Ravensbourne School for Boys, which sounds like it has got to be covered in ivy and possibly the blood of whipped English boys. After finishing up at the School for Boys, Idol went on to major in English at the University of Sussex, but dropped out after a year to pursue his true calling: Stalking the Sex Pistols.
In 1976, Idol joined Siouxsie and the Banshees, which wasn’t called that at the time, but Wikipedia didn’t seem to know what it was called, so that’s as good as you’re going to get. Unless you’re friends with Siouxsie Sioux; then she can tell you. So apparently, Idol had some musical experience by that point or, possibly, like many of my friends who started punk bands in their late teens, a guitar from a pawn shop. Idol didn’t last long in the band with no name, and went on to join Chelsea (a band I have actually not heard of before) in 1977. Shortly thereafter, Idol and a bandmate left that band and started Generation X, beating out Douglas Copeland by several years.
Generation X released three albums, which is three more than I knew existed, before disbanding, and Idol embarked on his solo career. By this point, he had moved back to New York, because schoolchildren don’t make fun of a guy named Billy Idol (probably).
1981 brought Idol’s cover of Mony Mony, which I hope brings up as many bad junior high gym class memories for you as it does for me and if it doesn’t, have I got a stupid dance to teach you! Anyway, Mony Mony, the bane of junior high students everywhere, was actually quite popular (if horrible), and paved the way for much better work, like those songs I mentioned earlier and can’t be arsed to type the names of again, except Eyes Without a Face, just to point out it was on the penultimate episode of Fringe’s fourth season as elevator music right before the nanites started killing everyone.
On Feb. 6, 1990, Idol was out riding his motorcycle and ignoring stop signs when he got hit by a car. Wikipedia describes the incident as a “motorcycle accident,” but anyone with a journalism background who has seen Hot Fuzz knows that is a “wreck ” for sure. Anyway, the wreck nearly cost Idol his leg and definitely cost him his role as the T-1000 in Terminator 2, which is OK, because I can’t imagine anybody but Robert Patrick playing that role anyway.
In 1998, Idol had a cameo in The Wedding Singer (theme song: White Wedding, of course), back when we all still wanted Adam Sandler’s characters to find love and be happy. Also, he had a small part in the movie The Doors, which probably happened before The Wedding Singer, like playing with former Pink Floydian Roger Waters at Berlin in 1990.
At this point, Idol didn’t drop off the face of the earth, like I kind of thought, but made an experimental album in 1993 called Cyberpunk, because it was made on a computer, I guess, so why not call it that?
In 2000, Idol voiced the character of Odin in the animated film Heavy Metal 2000, which disappoints me because Odin is not the classic Norse god I was expecting, but is actually, like, an alien or something.
And this post is getting long, so brief highlights:
- 2005: Idol released Devil’s Playground. I haven’t heard of it either, so don’t feel bad.
- November 2006: Idol released a Christmas album called Happy Holidays. That makes me unhappy, for various reasons.
- June 24, 2008: A new greatest hits album is released, “Idolize Yourself,” because how did it take him 50 years to make that joke?
- I’m tired of typing now.
To wrap things up: Billy Idol! Listen to Rebel Yell right now! You know you want to!
My beloved Fringe has gotten renewed for a fifth season, which is GREAT news because I believe these folks can actually pull a decent ending out of their collective ass and make all us fans happy.
God bless you, Fox, a thing I never thought I’d say.
Yea! Somebody finally decided to take House out behind the back shed and shoot it in the head! I’m so happy, but I could be happier, like, if they had done this four years ago when the show first started to suck.
I mean, look, I love seeing Hugh Laurie on my television screen as much as (if not more than) anybody, but this show was doddering along like a senility-stricken elephant.
It’s the show’s time, you know?
God bless you, Fox.
Now, please, let Fringe end on a good note.
Stupid baseball, pre-empting Friday’s episode of Fringe. Now I have to wait ANOTHER week to find out what happens now that Peter is back I CAN’T STAND IT GAAHHHHHH.
It’s a battle of two mad scientists!
In one corner, we have Futurama’s Prof. Farnsworth, the oldest, crotchetiest, maddest scientist you’ve ever seen!
In the other corner, we have Fringe’s Walter Bishop, the not quite as old and crotchety but certainly equally as mad scientist!
(Have you ever come across a madder scientist than these guys?)
Let’s see who comes out on top or, alternately, who keels over and dies first!
Physicality. Prof. Farnsworth is a cartoon character and an American one at that. Those guys are hardly ever attractive. Also, his head resembles an eggplant.
Walter Bishop is a dignified looking man with great hair and variable posture. Winner? Walter Bishop.
Has nearly destroyed an alternate universe? Why, yes, as a matter of fact! Prof. Farnsworth created and nearly destroyed an alternate universe, while in the same instance, his alternate counterpart simultaneously created and nearly destroyed our universe! Science is hard! Walter Bishop nearly destroyed the alternate universe (we’ll call it Universe A) when he went to rescue his alternate son from his alternate death. Winner? It’s a tie!
Has an interstellar spaceship? Prof. Farnsworth has an interstellar spaceship. Walter Bishop takes a lot of acid. It’s not quite the same thing. Winner? Prof. Farnsworth.
Has a better relationship with his relatives? Prof. Farnsworth has one living relative, his great (to the 30th degree) uncle Philip J. Fry from the 20th century. He constantly sends Fry on extremely dangerous missions and probably has tried to kill him in his sleep when no one was looking. Prof. Farnsworth also has a clone, but I’m not sure that’s the same thing as a “relative.” Walter Bishop has (as far as I can tell) one living relative, his son, Peter. Actually, it’s not really his son, since his son died and he replaced him with the alternate universe Peter. Still, they get along okay, when Peter can get past the whole “you kidnapped me from an alternate universe” issue. Winner? Errrrr … Walter?
Lives in a cooler city? Prof. Farnsworth lives in New New York, which was built upon the ruins of Old New York, which hosts sewer monsters and mutants galore. Also robots. Walter Bishop lives in Boston, which has a really cool comic book store that I went to one time. Also, lots of crazy things happen there like shapeshifters come to visit and stuff. Winner? Well, because most of the cool stuff happening in Boston seems to end up with someone dying horribly, we’re giving this one to Prof. Farnsworth, who lives in a city where people only sometimes end up dying horribly.
Has a better lab assistant? Walter Bishop’s lab assistant is the beautiful Astrid Farnsworth, which is possibly a coincidence but maybe not. (She’s actually an FBI agent, but she’s always stuck in the lab with the guy, assisting him, so it counts.) Prof. Farnsworth’s lab assistant is whomever he can get a hold of at the time, so it varies from Fry to Bender to Dr. Zoidberg and the rest of them, which is pretty cool. Still, Astrid is awfully sweet and awfully pretty. Winner? Walter Bishop.
Sports a better fashion sense? Prof. Farnsworth is generally found wearing a white lab coat and his bedroom slippers. Once, in the past, he wore a zoot suit.
Walter Bishop has a habit of wearing worn-out old sweaters or nothing but socks. Winner? We’re all losers here.
Has saved more people than he’s killed? Prof. Farnsworth’s delivery company has a motto: “Our crew is replaceable. Your package isn’t.” As such, he’s gone through several crews already and, as a mad scientist, is probably responsible for tons of deaths he’ll never admit to. Walter Bishop has doomed the alternate universe, as well as invented a bunch of stuff that people in our universe use for killing. Sure, now he’s on a team that’s trying to save the universe and the other universe, but has he really managed to reach a karmic balance here? Winner? We’ll give this one to Walter. At least he’s trying.
Has reached his 17th decade? You know who’s really old? Prof. Farnsworth is really old. He’s, like, in his 170s. 170s divided by 10 is 17 decades! Walter Bishop is not that old because he’s not from the future. Or is he? No, he’s not. Well, except for that one episode in Season Three, but whatever. Winner? Prof. Farnsworth.
Has created an actual, working time machine? Eh, not so much. Prof. Farnsworth traveled through time accidentally, created a non-working time machine and then created the “only going to the future” time machine, which he was forced to travel in through two incarnations of our universe. I mean, I guess that counts as “working,” but the “going back in the past” thing would be pretty nice too. Walter Bishop sent some pieces of a doomsday machine back in time, but not via a time machine he had created. Rather, it was a worm hole that led back to some dinosaur era (shut up, I don’t care which one it was). Winner? Prof. Farnsworth, kind of.
Wow, this one’s gotten a bit long. Let’s move on to a tie-breaker, shall we?
The tie-breaking question: Which of these two mad scientists has a more frightening alternate universe counterpart? Walter Bishop’s alternate universe counterpart is Walternate (a name Walter himself coined, proving that, deep down, he is a fanboy at heart), the Secretary of Defense who is willing to do anything (except experiment on children) to save his universe. Prof. Farnsworth’s alternate universe counterparts are sundry and varied, and include the one with no eyes. Which is frightening, but not as frightening as that Twilight Zone movie where the girl didn’t have a mouth. Winner? Walter, because the professor’s alternate universe counterparts really were intended to be played for comedic effect.
Overall winner? Walter Bishop, but only just barely.
(The TV show, not the titular character.)
Lately, I’ve been feeling like maybe we need some time apart. Sure, we had a pretty good run together. I’d leave work early to get home in time to watch you, and curse work for not paying me enough to be able to afford DVR and having to take a really short lunch break so I could leave early. But you know what? The sacrifice was worth it. You were so cute, with your pop culture geek references, and your espionage and your action sequences, and the way John Casey growled a lot.
And, yeah, I’ll admit it: I loved you. I loved you a lot. It made me happy to be with you.
But things have changed, Chuck (the TV show). And I’m just not feeling it anymore.
In fact, the other day, someone asked me when the new season begins … and I didn’t know. And worse? I didn’t particularly care.
And that’s when I knew, Chuck (not Bartowski, but the show he stars on). The magic is gone.
I mean, Morgan as the Intersect? Come on, show, really? And Chuck is married to Sarah? I mean, I was shipping them as hard as the next guy, but you end your series with a wedding. (Not that I blame you for not getting canceled after your fourth season. I mean, we all kind of expected it.)
And Casey? Well, Casey’s just not killing as many people as he used to do, and that makes me deeply, deeply sad.
But I don’t want it to end like this, Chuck. I’ll give you a chance. I’ll watch your fifth season. I mean, sure, it’ll feel like that relationship where the one just doesn’t go away and the other is too lazy to make them, but hey! Lots of marriages work like that.
I’m just saying, Chuck, don’t be disappointed now that I’m seeing Fringe on Friday nights. I have a feeling we were meant to be.