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John Noble is the highlight of Fox's sci-fi show "Fringe" as Dr. Walter Bishop, the brilliant but mentally unstable scientist with a fierce devotion to his son. Through Noble's performance, Walter's combination of scientific genius and childlike enthusiasm for fringe phenomena produces some of the funniest lines in each episode.
Want proof? Counting down the top 10 funniest Walter Bishop quotes (so far):
10. "I thought you might have teleported to New York in your sleep and killed her. Wouldn't that have been wondrous?" (Season 1, "Bad Dreams")
When Olivia dreams of pushing a woman in front of an oncoming train, she fears she may have somehow been responsible for the woman's actual death. Peter quickly figures out that Olivia couldn't have traveled hundreds of miles while she was asleep in her bed. Walter, however, couldn't be more delighted by such a possibility.
9. "This is exciting. You think the FBI will ever give me a gun?" (Season 2, "Of Human Action")
As the Fringe Division prepares to raid the lair of kidnappers with mind-control abilities, Walter is anxious to get in on the action. One has to admire his optimism, but the FBI would more likely issue a gun to the cow Walter keeps in his lab at Harvard before they would arm Walter with a weapon.
8. "Do you know what you are putting into our bodies? Death. Delicious, strawberry-flavored death." (Season 2, "Northwest Passage")
When Peter discovers Walter kidnapped him from the alternate universe as a boy, Peter leaves town in anger. Devastated, Walter wanders the grocery store alone, expressing his grief in the only way he knows how: by lecturing a clueless clerk about the "deadly" potassium bromate in a package of strawberry toaster pastries.
7. Walter: "You know, I don't do Valium nearly enough. That's a good idea. I'll have 50 milligrams, please." Dr. West: "Well, that... that's quite a high dosage." Walter: "I have quite a high tolerance." (Season 2, "Grey Matters")
We all know Walter likes to experiment with mind-altering substances -- and not always for the sake of scientific research. When the truth about the reasons for Walter's mental illness come to surface, Peter takes him in for an MRI, and Walter relies on old habits to ease his fear of enclosed spaces.
6. "All commands will come through the headphones. Once you're given the order to put on the headphones, do not remove them under any circumstances. If you do, you may die a gruesome and horrible death. Thank you for your attention and have a nice day." (Season 2, "Of Human Action")
As Walter tries his best to be a part of the Fringe Division, he explains a device of his invention to the team members with his usual lack of subtlety, then attempts to recover with politeness. Too bad Walter can't take tips from his alter-ego, the underhanded and authoritative Walter Bishop, Secretary of Defense in the alternate universe.
5. "I've always wanted a two-headed goat. What newspaper is this? Can I get a subscription?" (Season 1, "Bad Dreams")
As he, Peter, and Olivia investigate the apartment of Nick Lane, a Cortexiphan subject who can kill using only his thoughts, Walter spies a pile of newspapers with sensational headlines and quickly becomes distracted. Walter just can't help that his fascination with fringe science overrules any sense of focus.
4. "The ride back was invigorating. The turbulence over Ohio was like being in the belly of a seizing whale. I screamed like a little girl." (Season 2, "Dream Logic")
Walter is never one to hide his own weaknesses. It's perhaps his most endearing attribute. Although he travels to Seattle with Peter and Olivia to help in a Fringe Division case, Walter quickly complains of the city's "smell" and asks to go home, where he describes to his ever-patient lab assistant Astrid his experience on the return flight.
3. "Unless this buried treasure had legs of its own, wouldn't that be delightful?" (Season 3, "The Box")
When the Fringe team discovers two dead men beside an empty, freshly-dug hole in the basement of a house, Peter posits his theory of a third thief who ran away with whatever buried treasure they were digging for. Only Walter's special blend of genius would consider the bizarre (and yes, delightful) scenario of the treasure running away on its own.
2. "If my theory is correct and the bat traits are dominant in the creature, then yes, I believe we can successfully lure it. Whether we can survive the encounter is the more intriguing question." (Season 1, "Unleashed")
Often the most hilarious aspect of Walter's statements is the undeniable truth of them. When the Fringe team learns they're dealing with a genetically mutated creature possessing attributes of, among other animals, a bat, Walter is hopeful they can capture the creature but refreshingly realistic about their chances.
1. Peter: "Are you OK?" Walter: "Yes. Although when I mentioned that the poison would kill me within the hour, did either of you happen to notice the time?" (Season 1, "Unleashed")
Walter's most redeeming quality is the sense of responsibility he holds for his past scientific experiments, conducted when he and William Bell conspired to test the outer limits of fringe science. Responsible for creating the genetically mutated creature in the sewers, Walter sets himself up as bait, ingesting a poison that will kill the creature if it eats Walter. No worries, though. Walter has the antidote -- but apparently not a watch.
- John Noble
- Grey Matters