'Fringe': Joshua Jackson answers more of your questions. More musicals? Best gross-out? Does Peter tweet?

Joshua-Jackson-FringeImage Credit: Liane Hentscher/FoxWe’ll get to the second part of our fan Q&A with Fringe star Joshua Jackson in just a second, beginning with the question that caused TV’s Peter Bishop to reminisce about throwing up a bit in his mouth. But first, let’s talk about the most troubling element of last week’s installment. No, not the spoiler-averse actor’s curious-in-retrospect response to your speculations about Fauxlivia’s pregnancy – speculation that last week’s episode confirmed as correct. (Clearly, he was trying to protect the big twist.) No, I’m talking about the part where he spelled out what Fringe fans need to do to help insure a fourth season: “The way to save the show is very simple: If you’re a hardcore fan of the show – and in particular, if you’re a hardcore fan of the show with a Nielsen box – you have to give us an hour of your time on Friday night.” Apparently, not everyone got the message. Fringe’s ratings slipped to an alarming low last week – 3.7 million viewers, down 13 percent from the week before (though the show did get a big 57 percent uptick in the demo when the DVR eyeballs were counted.) Still, as Jackson told EW’s James Hibberd today: “I’m a positive person in general, but we really need our Fringe fans to tune in and watch us on Fridays. We did good when we first moved, but last week we did not have a good week, ratings-wise. It is going to take the people that like the show to watch the show and start the campaign and show their support if they want to see us stick around for another season.”

To be fair to Fringe loyalists, “Immortality” was an episode set in the parallel world – and I get the sense from some fans, even true believing die-hards, that while they intellectually appreciate the cleverly-crafted “over there” subplot, they are nonetheless more energized by the drama playing out in the “over here” world, via the characters they know and love best — especially right now, with the alluring mysteries of The First People, The Observers, and Peter’s relationship to the doomsday machine. Maybe last week, some of those fans heard/saw that the episode wasn’t focusing on the part of the show they’re most interested in and decided to take a breather. Also? Valentine’s Day weekend. For some, Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never and the new Adam Sandler/Jennifer Aniston rom-com Just Go With It – which both opened the same day as Fringe‘s episode — may have seemed like a more romantic way to celebrate the holiday.

Regardless: Take note that tonight’s episode (entitled “6B”; you can find a preview of it here) brings us back “over here.” Regardless, after reading the conclusion of our Josh Jackson Q&A (which was conducted last week), we invite you to use the message boards to tackle a question: If you didn’t watch last week’s episode – why not? Is Fringe failing in the urgency department at the moment? Or is the Friday commitment just too much? Mull your response in the back of your mind as we cede the floor to your questions and Jackson’s answers.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Angela asks: “One of the most intriguing elements of Fringe is its penchant for the grotesque and unsettling. What did you think was the creepiest scene or episode so far?”
JOSHUA JACKSON: Two moments for me were particularly disgusting. In the second season, we did a thing where we popped a girl’s eye out of her head. While we were shooting it, it didn’t seem too bad, but on screen, when you see a needle going into a person’s optic nerve? Man, that just got me. And then there was the episode last year where we had these super-sized nematode worms that were growing inside of people and bursting out of all sorts of horrible places. We built this dummy where we had this two and half-foot worm was crawling down the throat. Truly vomit-in-your-mouth disgusting. It was burpable.

CJL2124 asks: “Are you guys planning to do another musical/noir themed episode like last year’s ‘Brown Betty?'”
I don’t think there will be another musical this season, but we will continue to do some out-there stuff. Without giving it away, there will be another genre-bending episode.

Cater asks: “Do you think Sam Weiss – Olivia’s bowling alley Yoda — is one of The First People?”
We haven’t really defined him yet. We still haven’t gotten into where he fits into things and how he’s different from The Observers, if at all.

That does beg a question that many Fringe fans have: What’s your take on The First People?
Here’s my own crackpot theory: Instead of The First People finishing [meaning, their civilization came to an end and the people themselves disappeared/died out], they dispersed their intelligence everywhere. They went into the molecular level. They’re in all of everything, all the time. I also find myself wondering that in Fringe, history is running on cycles of progress, and we’re coming back up on a moment in our current cycle in which they’re able to influence events. Another idea being bandied around the Jackson household: The First People somehow put themselves outside of time – that they have figured out how to step outside our laws of physics.

My theory? The whole nomenclature of “The First People” is a clever misdirect. Yes, there was a group of people who were very advanced who created this “doomsday machine” (if it’s really a “doomsday” machine), who put in motion a plan that is now reaching fruition through Peter. But these people weren’t “The First People” – their ambition was to actually make “The First People.” To cultivate a new kind of human person that represented the fulfillment of human potential, that then could truly call themselves wholly human — ergo, “The First People.” Like, right now, we’re only “The 0.5 People.” But once Peter activates the machine, we get rounded up, and it’s 2001/Starchild city. Bottom line: The First People don’t exist, and they’ve never existed, because we’re evolving into them.
I like that! Because that’s the way I look at the world – a glass half full way. My hope is that when Fringe comes to an end, whenever the show finishes, that we end on a hopeful note. I like that idea of evolution. It does seem we’re at this place where things are progressing at such a rapid pace. I love this idea that in the Fringe world, things run on a cosmic cycle, and that we’re at the cusp of something great, and that all these powers that seem terrifying in the present are leading to something more perfect in the future.

Aimee asks: “How often do you go on the message boards?”
I try not to monitor the message boards too much. There’s a point to which it’s good and there’s a point to which it’s bad. I don’t know how helpful it is for me. I try to stay aware of what people are thinking — be it on the Internet or my friends – because I enjoy theorizing about the show as much as the fans. Even though I work on the show, I’m almost in the dark as everyone else; I’m usually – thought not always — only ever a couple weeks ahead in terms of what we’re working and what you’re seeing. And often, where I think we’re going turns out to be not the case. Each script is a, ‘Holy s—! That’s what we’re doing?! Fascinating!’ experience. If I wasn’t on Fringe, it would be my kind of show. So I try to keep up on what people are thinking — but mostly through friends and family. Because the message boards, there’s a lot of useful feedback, and then there’s a lot of stuff I don’t need to be reading.

Max asks: “Do you think Peter would be on Twitter?”
Only if it served his purposes.

Are you a Twitter guy?
No. You know how in life, when you write an email, you should write it and then wait until the next morning and read it again before sending it? Twitter is the worst possible case scenario. No good can come from Twitter. It’s whatever on your mind at the time, and often that not what you need to be saying.

Read more:
Joshua Jackson: ‘Start the campaign’ to save ‘Fringe’
Fox on ‘Fringe’ renewal chances
Uh-oh: ‘Fringe’ ratings drop again
‘Fringe’: Joshua Jackson answers your questions

Comments (82 total) Add your comment
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  • orville

    The theory that the First People put themselves out of time–could the Observers be some of the First People?

    • Your Queen

      That’s a despicably complicated, unnecessary, and unentertaining take on the “First People”.
      It probably sounded better in the person’s head before blathering it out loud.

      • Your Queen

        Refering to that prick (Jensen’s) BS article above.
        He is INCAPABLE of not adding his own rambling BS to every article.
        Jensen helped ruin Lost and he’s doing his best with Fringe now.
        He is a SHlT HEAD.

      • Not my Queen

        That’s some nice trolling.

      • Slim Pickens

        Having said all that nonsense above, I hope you are a supporter of Ken Tucker. PS If you don’t like Doc … piss off !

    • Stef

      I had the same thought…the only argument against it is that perhaps that’s too obvious…?

  • jared

    I believe the low ratings come from the fact that it was a Jackson-less episode.

    • Tai

      Lol. I agree.

      • dadslife

        Last week while we were over there the license plate APT 6B was prominately displayed. Very clever to tie into this weeks episode. Will Olivia let go of her demons during sex with Peter? Or will she freak out with her own distinct orgasm?

    • Your Queen

      Yeah, like people know in advance.


      • Fa

        If the episode is about over there, regular viewers should know that Peter, most likely, will not be in it.

      • Ignus

        Agreed. “Your Queen” feels better putting others down. Pathetic.

      • Not my Queen

        chillax, Queen.

    • Jay

      People did know in advance that Joshua Jackson was not going to be in the episode. I knew, and I read it on the internet somewhere, so lots of people reading about Fringe knew.

  • daviddavid

    I’m getting a bad vibe here; like I did with MILLENNIUM … actually, very sad as it remains THE best show on TV

    • MW

      Dear lord I miss Millennium. Such a great show. I hope Fringe doesn’t follow it into the abyss either…

  • daviddavid

    Face it, FOX really doesn’t have FAITH!

  • Corie

    I love Fringe, and I absolutely adore Joshua Jackson – in my opinion, he is one of the most articulate and intellectual actors out there. I’m also in the minority (from what I’m gathering) when I say that I’m a huge fan of the “over there” universe. The writers would not have introduced us to it if it was not crucial to the overall resolution, nor would they put so much time investing in “their” story if it was all for naught. I’m totally on board with it, and I’m finding myself actually interested in finding out what’s going on with the characters “over there.” On the subject of Friday night, I’d have to admit that I DVR all of the episodes now. Asking fans, especially in the 21-30 age range, to devote an hour of a Friday night to a TV show (albeit an amazing TV show) just isn’t going to happen. Being 24, I am usually getting ready to head out for the night bet. 7-8 p.m. on a Friday and I would bet a lot of other people find themselves in the same predicament.

  • David

    If Fringe dies on Fox we can only hope it will move elsewhere,perhaps ScyFy now that Comcast has money for it or USA.

    • TQB

      Question – Fox owns Fx, right? Would it be possible to move Fringe over there? Think of all the excellent cable shows that flourish because they don’t need to draw the huge numbers – Justified, Walking Dead, Burn Notice, White Collar.

      • Your Queen

        The budget is WAY too high for the feeble rating on FX.

      • Ignus

        You’re a nasty person.

      • MelindaB

        We are not amused.

  • LoveBug68

    Perhaps Jeff if you wrote a Lost like recap each week it would get more people involved. Its a confusing show at times and it needs a clear recapping voice that will help viewers clear their questions or make sense of what they just watched. I really feel this show deserves that much. PLEASE!!!!

    • DGH

      I agree it seems like Ken Tucker does Fringe reviews which always seem to be lacking in substance.

      • anonymous

        I prefer Tucker. Don’t want to go down Doc’s path. Sorry Jeff.

      • Dicazi

        I disagree. Much as I loved Doc’s recaps of Lost, Tucker’s seem to fit Fringe better. There’s enough wild theories in the show without getting sidetracked like Doc could get.

      • Daniel

        Tucker +1, no Doc please.

    • Bonnie

      As a person who is generally not into sci fi and misses a lot of the winks and references, I loved Doc’s recaps of Lost. I wish that he would have had some input on 6599kHz because I felt like there were quite a few Lost winks. In any event I love this show and will be devastated if anything happens to it.

  • TQB

    “No good can come from Twitter.”

    I love him just a little more for this.

    • MelindaB

      Me, too. I always liked JJ fine, but this interview made me a fan.

      I loved his comments about the gross stuff in the shows, too. My prediction for the genre-bending episode: animation! (Just kidding. Maybe. Yeah, I am. Unless they go that route, then I totally predicted it.)

  • chase

    I wonder who Jackson thinks is sexier, Olivia or Fauxlivia? If I had my pick Fauxilivia, something about that wicked smile of hers. Yum!

    • Meg

      I wonder: Joey or Olivia?

  • Zeus

    I didn’t watch it live and DVR’d it because it is on Friday night. I’m 22 years old, and the people in the demographic around my age group are not typically home/not sitting around watching TV on a Friday night. I hope they take DVR views into account when they figure out these numbers.

  • samara

    Why doesn’t this article at least acknowledge the fact that ALL Friday shows were down a similar amount last week? CSI, Supernatural… they all dropped. No one was watching TV last Friday.

  • Sarah

    I live in Canada, so I have this perception that it doesn’t matter if/when I watch anything… are ratings based only on American viewership>

    • DGH

      only the 5000 homes with Neilson boxes gets counted I live in America and rating wise is doesn’t matter if I watch or not it won’t affect the ratings cause I don’t have a Nielson box.

      • MC

        i think there’s about 20,000 homes with nielson boxes. i gave fringe my ratings last season, but unfortunately, nielson didn’t follow me when i moved, so i can’t help anymore. :(

  • Brianna

    I’m watching. I don’t know what a Neilson box is and I doubt I have one in my dormitory…

    But I’m watching and if Fringe gets canceled, and we don’t get a satisfying ending, I’ll be wicked pissed!

  • Pamela

    If he’s “a glass half full” kinda guy he should note the positives of Twitter like a tool for change and networking and saving Fringe. It’s easy to dismiss it superficially and relegate it to a tool for narcissism when it has demonstrated the ability to change history. Besides that, great interview. Watching live always.

    • DGH

      Nothing positive comes from Twitter it just gives lonley people a famous person to follow!!

      • Your Queen

        DGH = Rotting P.O.S.

      • Ignus

        Hey, “Your Queen”, do us all a favor and go away you miserable sod.

    • Aimee

      Twitter helped gain new fans for Fringe, and reminded people of the Friday move. It is an information tool, and like anything, has positive and negative attributes. I use it for news and to meet other Fringe fans to discuss the show. But not everyone likes it, and that’s cool.

  • Natasha

    Fringe has really upped it’s game since the close of Season 2, would be sad to see its run end on FOX, but am very hopeful that another network picks it up (as my comrades have said above). I personally love the ‘over there’ storylines better – I do like Fauxlivia more, she’s not so stiff and it’s interesting to see the differences between the universes. It makes sense that over there Peter would end up with Fauxlivia. I did like Frank, he shoul come to this side!

    As for Friday TV – the show has to be REALLY special in order for anyone to forego social plans. Sometimes even BSG was relegated to weekend viewing on the DVR and I was a gigantic fan.

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