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One of the things I've been enjoying about Numb3rs is my OTP. And it's not what you think. I am a Megan/Larry shipper. Fortunately so are the writers.

For those of you who don't know the show, Larry is Charles (David Krumholtz, main character) Eppes's mentor. Larry is the stereotypical eccentric professor type. He's an astro-physicist and looks at his science as a deep and personal journey to understand God. Over the course of the series, he has given up having a residence, living out of his office and the steam tunnels, and he spent quite a bit of time at a Buddhist monastery.

Megan, on the other hands, is an FBI agent with a background in profiling. She is tall, beautiful, and kicks ass with both a gun and in hand to hand (she teaches Krav Maga!). There's some hints that her childhood was deeply unhappy, but it's never fully explored. She's succesful at her job, and often the target of male guest stars' attention.

Megan is your stereotypical leading lady in this type of show. Larry is nowhere near leading man. When they get together, other characters often remark on how bizarre they find it that the two of them are together.

But the thing is, this could be just nerd wish-fulfilment--the geekiest guy gets the hot chick! But it doesn't have that vibe. It's also a relationship that could be rife with conflict and jealousy. When they first get together, Larry completely wigs out from the uncertainty of it until they set up a system where they have lunch every Tuesday, dinner once a week, and Megan gets one wild card to see him when she wants. This could turn into OMG pining!Megan never getting what she needs out of Larry...but again. It doesn't. Their relationship has almost no drama at all. Even when it's long distance for long periods of time, there's never a question about whether they're still together.

It's a relationship of two people who are superficially different, who have their own lives and careers that they are deeply invested in, but who see each other as home. When the two of them are together, it's clear that they've shared a great deal of their personal histories with each other--things they haven't shared with anyone else (or the audience). They enjoy each other's company immensely, but never within the trajectory of a "normal" romantic relationship.

What I love about it is that this is so unusual to see on TV: a completely atypical romantic relationship that is shown without drama and angst. As [livejournal.com profile] jethrien pointed out, one of the writers must know somebody in a similar relationship to be able to present it without trying to twist it around to generate conflict. I just know I really like seeing it, whenever it's on the screen.
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Where's the story where Charlie Eppes has to take an anthropology class from Blair Sandburg? It has to exist. They could have a hair off!
ivyfic: (Default)
So I’m getting sucked into Numb3rs, which I realize is so six years ago.

The math seems decently done so far. I don’t understand the equations on the boards, but they are at least feasibly equation-y. (Though him writing everything on chalkboards is more than a little eccentric. I suppose watching him use Mathcad isn’t thrilling TV.) Most of the times they have him explain something, it is recognizably math to me. They run into two problems with how it applies to the plot of the episodes, though:

1 – The math is easily enough understood, but it makes no sense that you would need it to address this problem. Like, there’ve been three sightings of a fugitive in a loose circle around his old house. You do not need to model soap bubbles to say, “Oh hey! The sightings are in a ring around his house!”

2 – The math is complex enough that Charlie’s little explanation doesn’t actually explain it at all. There’ve been a number of cases where the explanation is basically, there’s an algorithm that finds X. But he doesn’t even try to say how. So, for the writers, it becomes a black box. The algorithm said this guy did it! But there’s no evidence linking him to the case. But the algorithm!


What appeals to me, is, of course, David Krumholtz. Charlie is a super genius, but manages to avoid most of the super genius TV tropes. He doesn’t handle extreme emotions that well (but then, who does), and he has a tendency to lose track of things when he’s working. But he’s not autistic, or even Aspergers-like, he’s not unaware of social norms, he’s not bad at social interactions, he’s not wimpy, he’s not emotionally immature. He’s actually a mostly mature, stable, athletic, charming guy who is also a math genius. He’s a rock star—the producers say so repeatedly, and he’s definitely filmed that way. Since they’re modeling him on Feynman, this makes sense.

Fanon versus canon )


There’s an episode where Charlie says something like, “the one keg party I gave, he stole the keg” (referring to a rival). I’ve seen this pop up in fic. But he went to Princeton. And at Princeton, keg parties? Really not a thing. Princeton has eating clubs, which function as coed fraternities (some you have to rush, like a frat, some are “sign-in,” meaning membership is determined by lottery if too many people are interested). But the salient point is the eating clubs provide free booze to all comers every Thursday and Saturday night. Even as a freshman who has just arrived on campus and knows no upper classmen you can walk straight into an eating club your first week at school and get free beer. Of course, it’s not actually free, the members of the club pay for it, which pissed me off something awful when I was in a club, cause I didn’t drink in college.

But the point is—eating clubs make keg parties unnecessary. People pre-game in their rooms, but usually with liquor. The parties I went to hosted by a cappella groups were also more of the hard alcohol type than kegs. There are kegs on campus—under the bars at the eating clubs. But these are bought by the “liquid assets” chair of the club, whose main requirement is that they be over 21, so Charlie wouldn’t have been one. Charlie would almost definitely not have been in a club. So him throwing a keg party, just from the outside, would be a really odd thing to do. I mean, I could see him at sixteen trying to be cool by doing something like that, but just his lack of awareness of the drinking culture exhibited by having a keg party would have marked him as an outsider. I don’t really see anyone going to such a thing. Except for the rival, who stole the keg. (Given his timeline, the only reason I could see for him to throw a kegger is the Nude Olympics—and why isn’t that a story, Numb3rs fandom? You’re letting me down here, seriously.)


To close, I am terribly amused by the discussion of the original pilot, which had an almost entirely different cast, except for Krumholtz. The producers all say things like, the cast just didn’t have chemistry. Then one finally says, “Casting David Krumholtz took us in a much more ethnically specific direction.” Yes. And the original cast for his brother and father were generic whitebread types. Krumholtz looked adopted. At least one show in Hollywood is not going to ignore blatant ethnic miscasting, so woo for that.

I also have to say, I cannot stand Megan. I know I am from the East Coast and should be used to her accent, but I CANNOT STAND HER VOICE. Oh my god, so whiny and nasal. And she holds her mouth in this really annoying way. Ugh. Bring Terry back, please.
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I have started watching Numb3rs because my love for procedural TV shows, it is boundless. And the family dynamics are just as deliciously angsty as the presence of a small but devoted fandom would suggest.

But the plots--holy christ. The plots are ludicrous. There's believable procedural writing, then there's Criminal Intent, then there's NCIS, then there's NCIS:LA...then there's Numb3rs. Yes, I know, your conceit is math to solve crimes. But you expect me to believe there's a tipping point where average people just start killing people with rifles? Really? And for all that most of the time the math-position is accurate if banal, there's been at least one time where I was yelling at the screen, "What is your y-axis? What? You're plotting frequency--that's one dimensional! What's the other dimension?"

Spoiler for season one arc )

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