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Olivia: The Blonde Is Out There


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#1

Aunty Mib

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Posted Sep 13, 2008 @ 11:27 PM

Yes, I'm quite aware that the thread title sucks. Hopefully we can come up with a much better one and change it rapidly.

I love Peter since he's played by JJ but Olivia is the centre of the show. I thought her character went to some very interesting places in the first episode.

Discuss.

#2

BluWacky

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Posted Sep 14, 2008 @ 12:14 PM

Olivia is my favourite thing about the first episode of Fringe. Personally speaking, I find both Bishops to be "TV" people - Walter is a TV scientist, all technobabble and infodumps, and Peter cracks wise to ridiculous and unfunny extremes, but Agent Dunham felt more realistic and grounded.

I love the way Anna Torv plays her - she's a very good TV actress, it's all in the eyes. And sure, she busts a gut for doomed love in a manner wholly inappropriate for an FBI agent, and I don't know how they're going to play her importance to the whole enterprise given Doomed Lover's cryptic comment before he died, but she's the reason I'll be watching the next couple of episodes of this show.

Essentially she reminds me a great deal of Agent Scully except with less medicine and more LSD.

#3

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Posted Sep 14, 2008 @ 1:19 PM

I think she needs to grow a bit more comfortable in the role, but if you've seen any of her earlier interviews till now, that's already happening. I'm sure a lot has to do with Josh's encouragement and little quips on how she should answer "tell them you came to the kicking ass part naturally."

I thought she was a bit of the weak link, but definitely not enough to be worried about.

#4

arizonamyrie

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Posted Sep 16, 2008 @ 1:02 PM

Essentially she reminds me a great deal of Agent Scully except with less medicine and more LSD.

There's a dryness to her sense of humor that was very much Fox Mulder as well. And there's very much a stoicism to her character that she's added in - the formality of the FBI is there. While the latter may have been in the script, the former seemed to be something she brought to the role.

#5

jbreckenridge

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Posted Sep 16, 2008 @ 11:53 PM

She really shouldn't be gathering evidence with her hair down.

#6

rocknrollchic

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Posted Sep 17, 2008 @ 6:47 AM

I hate to say this, but it looks like they "hotted" her up for episode 2. Was her hair lighter and less freckles this time around or was it just me?

#7

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Posted Sep 17, 2008 @ 8:25 AM

I honestly thought she was hotter in the first episode - I don't know how much I dig her look with her hair down.

I'm somewhat lukewarm on the character. She seems so "fierce," or she wants to be, but I'm not feeling the motivation behind her character.

#8

RoryElizabeth

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Posted Sep 17, 2008 @ 12:01 PM

The problem with Olivia is that she's a stoic, already highly capable character, and those are always the least fun to watch for entertainment value. She reminds me a lot of Scully, only she's not that far gone (thank goodness; I admired Scully a lot, but she bored the snot out of me). Were it not for Peter and Walter there to flesh things out and to crack her up every now and then, the show would be in trouble. Luckily, it seems Fringe is hinging its character work on the background and personal histories of the Bishops and letting Olivia grow from where we first met her. This seems like the smarter option, at least for the first few episodes.

That said, I actually like her a lot. I appreciated the fact that the writers don't seem to be taking the typical cop-outs that one usually sees when dealing with characters like Olivia. Instead of spending a whole episode grieving for Scott, she said it in one scene and a brief nightmare sequence and then moved straight to guilt over her own personal actions. When her issues caused her to snap at Peter, she apologized (a scene usually never filmed or always cut, but necessary to make her sympathetic and professional). She squared things away with Charlie, another necessary move to make me believe that these people want to work with her and bend over backwards for her in an investigation. Little touches like that emphasize the humantiy and maturity of her character and will keep me interested in her.

#9

Aunty Mib

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Posted Sep 18, 2008 @ 9:58 PM

IMO, Olivia remains the core character to the plot; Peter would be gone in a flash without her giving him stability and Walter would be back in the nut house. So, I THINK it's important for them to give us more insight into her motivations and feelings.

I'm wondering why she held back information from her boss about her conversation with the Cyborg-Lady. It's good that they are giving her some ambiguity and mystery. She'll be a lot more interesting than similar characters if she plays her cards close to her chest without acting like a paranoid hysteric.

#10

youdidntseeme23

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Posted Sep 28, 2008 @ 7:05 PM

I love Olivia, and I think it's her stoic-ness (word?) that does it for me. Ultimately when JJ and Orci were going through this show I think they thought "Well, yeah we want Fringe to be really interesting, but at the same time we want it to engage a smarter viewer as well." Anna Torv does a great job, I think she was hotter in the pilot, but she does a great job. You don't see many stoic characters on tv anymore, it's all "damaged this, and baggage that" and to have a character in control of herself is very refreshing.

#11

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Posted Oct 1, 2008 @ 10:26 AM

So when are we going to find out something, anything, about this character. We know that she is apparently too busy to get to the grocery store but that's pretty much it. I need to be able to get to know her if I'm supposed to care about her.

#12

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Posted Oct 1, 2008 @ 12:35 PM

I'm starting to wonder if foreign, but English speaking actresses become "flat" in their emoting when they put on an American accent. I found this with Sophia Miles last season and now with Anna Torv this season. It's as if the American accent seems flat to them and in playing an American it spills over to their entire performance. It's hard to capture in words, but I get this sort of "blah," low-emotion, low-key feeling coming from them and I link it to the accent thing for some reason.

Edited by jenniferes, Oct 1, 2008 @ 12:38 PM.


#13

janie jones

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Posted Oct 1, 2008 @ 2:10 PM

It's as if the American accent seems flat to them and in playing an American it spills over to their entire performance.

Or maybe it's just really hard to emote in another accent.

Anna Torv's mouth bothers me.

#14

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Posted Oct 1, 2008 @ 4:25 PM

Or maybe it's just really hard to emote in another accent.


I don't think that's it. People do it all the time (see: Russell Crowe, Simon Baker, Jacqueline McKenzie, Hugh Jackman -- just to name the Australians).

As an American woman who spent a large part of her adult life in other countries, I have a theory:

Most of my British, Belgian, and Australian friends are extremely outgoing. US women are reserved about themselves in ways that the European and Australian women I know just aren't.

From the outside looking in, it must be very difficult to view that reserve and see what's behind it. It's even weirder because we're more likely to tell things about ourselves ("I'm PMSing") to a total stranger than they are, but the physical no-go zone is so much wider for US women.

To us, Anna Torv may seem bland because she doesn't have a handle on how to show the underlying woman through the physical reserve.

I'll also agree that it's nice to see a stoic character on TV. There just aren't many these days.

Also, based on reading the episode thread where someone actually mentioned having Olivia get a hobby, I want Olivia to be in the SCA. Broyles should call her in one weekend and have her show up in full garb. Bonus points if it's a really obscure culture or period.

#15

janie jones

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Posted Oct 1, 2008 @ 7:10 PM

I don't think that's it. People do it all the time

I don't really think that, either. I'm just saying, if it's the accent that's causing her difficulty, maybe it's just hard for her, personally, to do both at the same time. But at any rate, I don't think she's bland in the first place, just being devil's advocate-ish.

Edited by janie jones, Oct 1, 2008 @ 7:11 PM.


#16

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Posted Oct 1, 2008 @ 7:26 PM

I'm obviously in minority, but I like her acting just fine. It's definitely understated but not in-your-face. I actually think in the hands of lesser actresses, this character would've been a lot less likeable.

#17

grim squeaker

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Posted Oct 2, 2008 @ 3:11 AM

I like her a lot, too. And I don't find her excessively bland, either, although she somehow got less interesting over the last few episodes. I'm not exactly looking forward to her interacting with Mark Valley again, I thought they really didn't have any chemistry at all.

Edited by grim squeaker, Oct 2, 2008 @ 3:12 AM.


#18

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Posted Oct 13, 2008 @ 9:54 PM

The problem with Olivia is that she's a stoic, already highly capable character, and those are always the least fun to watch for entertainment value. She reminds me a lot of Scully, only she's not that far gone (thank goodness; I admired Scully a lot, but she bored the snot out of me). Were it not for Peter and Walter there to flesh things out and to crack her up every now and then, the show would be in trouble. Luckily, it seems Fringe is hinging its character work on the background and personal histories of the Bishops and letting Olivia grow from where we first met her. This seems like the smarter option, at least for the first few episodes.


I agree; but I believe they introduced her character the wrong way if she is going to be a stoic from here on out. They started with showing that she was in a relationship with her partner but we only saw them together for such a short time. So we can only guess how the relationship developed. We know she's smart and she will obviously end up finding out everything that she can about her old partner. So if she is the type that doesn't care, why is working to solve the cases (other than it being her job of course)? Why should she care about Peter and Walter?

I don't think this actress can connect with her audience. If you looked at still shots of her in each frame of any one episode, she practically has the same expression all of the time. It doesn't have to be way over-the-top, but I should be at least be able to garner at least one feeling (even disinterest would qualify) from watching her and I am having trouble doing that. I mean, I didn't know that they might want her to be stoic until I came to the thread because I couldn't figure out what the hell she is supposed be about on my own. I don't think she should have been placed in the lead role. I believe Joshua Jackson and Peter and Walter's relationship are carrying this show right now.

Edited by gilaymar, Oct 13, 2008 @ 9:59 PM.


#19

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Posted Oct 15, 2008 @ 9:53 PM

I know that I'm getting slightly tired with hearing how brilliant an investigator Olivia is supposed to be, but to me, she wouldn't have half her leads without the help of the Bishops. And after last night's episode, her dead lover is now dropping crucial clues right into her lap.

How does this show her brilliance?

I do think AT is at her best when she is interacting with Walter and Peter though. She seems completely befuddled by Walter's kookiness, but she is also has tremendous respect for him as well. Peter has proven to be awesome at backing her up in tight situations and of course he is his dad's translator. This seems to be the key to drawing her out of her stoicism.

And may I be shallow for a moment, but Anna Torv needs to do something with her hair. Right now she is either just letting it hang or pulling it back in a ponytail. Neither one is especially attractive. Give her at least some hair cut/style that a modern working woman would have. It doesn't have to be blown dry and curled to the extreme, but poker straight is not the answer either.

#20

Miss Caffeine

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Posted Oct 17, 2008 @ 7:19 AM

I've seen AT in a few interviews and from the looks of it she is actually capable of more than a single facial expression. I don't know if it's bad writing, bad direction, or what that is affecting her character on the show. From what I've seen she's at her best when interacting with Walter...she seems to have a special affection for him, perhaps because of his (sometimes) endearing crazy antics. I agree that the writers need to develop her back story a little bit more, and I mean beyond the whole John love story thing. Where does she come from?

I actually have taken a liking to the show even though it still needs a few things, and I like that they don't show too many commercials and that they tell you how long you have to go pee or get a snack ("I have 90 seconds..run!", haha).

#21

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Posted Oct 22, 2008 @ 3:57 PM

I've seen AT in a few interviews and from the looks of it she is actually capable of more than a single facial expression.

That's nice to know because seriously I can't remember when I've been so bugged by a lead actress in a show that depends so much on her. Her facial expressions all seem to convey that Olivia is continually smelling someone's stinky fart. I"m so frustrated watching her. I didn't feel that way in the first episode so I wonder if it's director choice??

#22

Miss Caffeine

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Posted Oct 23, 2008 @ 9:34 AM

That's nice to know because seriously I can't remember when I've been so bugged by a lead actress in a show that depends so much on her. Her facial expressions all seem to convey that Olivia is continually smelling someone's stinky fart. I"m so frustrated watching her. I didn't feel that way in the first episode so I wonder if it's director choice??


I re-watched some of the first episode and you're right! She had a much better range of expressions there...I wonder why the change in direction. She also looked much prettier, her haired was styled better and there was better makeup going on. Hopefully it will get better because it's very distracting.

#23

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Posted Oct 23, 2008 @ 9:37 PM

I know that for my part, I want Olivia to be more like Sydney Bristow and for Anna Torv to be more like Jennifer Garner. But I am going to have to resign myself that I am not going to get that kind of characterization from AT which is a shame because in a show like this, you need a heroine to be dynamic and engaging, and AT leaves me cold.

#24

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Posted Oct 24, 2008 @ 3:10 PM

I'm really trying to warm up to Olivia, but she is making it incredibly hard. Then again, perhaps that's sort of the point.

I can't help but be reminded of Ana Lucia in Lost. I know, the characters don't have much in common, but I think the way they're being handled (well, mishandled, in my opinion) is very similar. They both come across as cold, relatively unlikeable characters and TPTB shoehorn in a bunch of sad backstory to make us like them more. As any Lost fan knows, this plan backfired badly with Ana Lucia. While sappy backstory might help to justify a character's actions, it doesn't necessarily make them more likable or interesting.

I'm just not used to a watching a show whose lead character seems so poorly conceived. They need to figure out what to do with this character and do it fast, because it's one of the things that's really holding the show back.

Edited by MrMoneypenny, Oct 24, 2008 @ 3:12 PM.


#25

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Posted Oct 25, 2008 @ 5:25 AM

Except Anna Lucia was a far more colourful character than Olivia (though Livvie's had her moments), and her character had a more definite purpose. But then again, I liked Ana Lucia.

While this show may have been concieved with Olivia as the main character, I've found it easier to think of the show as an ensemble, centering more around those wacky Bishops and how they affect other people's lives. When you don't think of her as the main character any more, she becomes tremendously more likeable, I find.

#26

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Posted Oct 26, 2008 @ 12:17 AM

Well, in defense of TPTB at Lost, I think the biggest problem with Ana Lucia was the person playing her. But in typical Lost fashion, they killed her off right when she was finally becoming bearable (a la Shannon).

While this show may have been concieved with Olivia as the main character, I've found it easier to think of the show as an ensemble, centering more around those wacky Bishops and how they affect other people's lives. When you don't think of her as the main character any more, she becomes tremendously more likeable, I find.

I'll have to take this advice. The show definitely needs more Bishop and less Olivia, that's for sure. Joshua Jackson and John Noble do a fantastic job of bringing some humor to the show without making it ridiculous. There's a lot of potential with these other characters--they just need take a page from Lost and spread it around.

Edited by MrMoneypenny, Oct 26, 2008 @ 12:17 AM.


#27

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Posted Oct 26, 2008 @ 5:49 PM

Six episodes in and Olivia's still my favourite character...

Sure, her ridiculous angsty backstory was totally shoe-horned into The Cure for the sake of a creepy ending. Otherwise, though, I find her a believable, consistent lynchpin to hang the rest of the story around.

I particularly liked her second confrontation with Estabrook and her meeting with Broyles at the end. Although Anna Torv's voice seems quite monotone (why do Brits/Aussies do this when doing an American accent? I may be British but even I can tell that there's a bit more variation in pitch in a "generic" US accent than Anna Torv and Rufus Sewell have managed this season... I suppose it's a consequence of playing sci-fi thriller leads!) I really thought she acted those two speeches particularly well, and they're very in keeping with Olivia as a character - despite her stoic exterior it's always clear that she does get very passionately involved in her cases, and her comment about women being seen as inferior for their emotions fits well with her feelings about Broyles stemming from the pilot.

Fringe needs the Olivia character to stop it from tipping over into ridiculousness - Walter was almost a parody of himself in this episode, and the show struggles to find things for Peter to do other than explain the bleeding obvious (Astrid? Who's she?). She's the reason I'm still watching, anyway.

#28

Miss Caffeine

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Posted Oct 27, 2008 @ 1:02 AM

Six episodes in and Olivia's still my favourite character...

Sure, her ridiculous angsty backstory was totally shoe-horned into The Cure for the sake of a creepy ending. Otherwise, though, I find her a believable, consistent lynchpin to hang the rest of the story around.

I particularly liked her second confrontation with Estabrook and her meeting with Broyles at the end. Although Anna Torv's voice seems quite monotone (why do Brits/Aussies do this when doing an American accent? I may be British but even I can tell that there's a bit more variation in pitch in a "generic" US accent than Anna Torv and Rufus Sewell have managed this season... I suppose it's a consequence of playing sci-fi thriller leads!) I really thought she acted those two speeches particularly well, and they're very in keeping with Olivia as a character - despite her stoic exterior it's always clear that she does get very passionately involved in her cases, and her comment about women being seen as inferior for their emotions fits well with her feelings about Broyles stemming from the pilot.

Fringe needs the Olivia character to stop it from tipping over into ridiculousness - Walter was almost a parody of himself in this episode, and the show struggles to find things for Peter to do other than explain the bleeding obvious (Astrid? Who's she?). She's the reason I'm still watching, anyway.


So true. She seems to be the one who has the clearest role...she's the FBI agent. Walter's forced jokes are sometimes a bit too much (he's more of a caricature rather than a serious character) , and I've still yet to figure out a clear role for Peter (as much as I love JJ) and Astrid (who?) that doesn't involve giving very unnecessary explanations to the obvious.

I think in a way AT's portrayal of the character is good, she's a woman in a very difficult and very traditionally-male job, so it's to be expected that she might feel the need to overcompensate some insecurities by being stoic and cold. Aside from her troubled past which could also explain these behaviours.

#29

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Posted Nov 11, 2008 @ 10:20 PM

So far I've thought Anna Torv was remarkably plain-looking, but she had one stunningly gorgeous moment in Mr. Jones. After she answers her cell when things are hot and heavy with Lucas, she turns and gives him a dazzling smile that transformed her face!

Did anyone notice her hair was lighter at the beginning of the episode? Her roots were darker when she came into the airport in Germany.

#30

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Posted Feb 10, 2009 @ 4:31 PM

I'm not exactly looking forward to her interacting with Mark Valley again, I thought they really didn't have any chemistry at all.


Neither did I, and yet Torv and Valley actually got married over Christmas, which makes this an example of the 'Joey Tribbiani' rule: two actors with no chemistry onscreen are doing it in real life.