Friday, July 24, 2015

Numb3rs: A (preliminary) Review

I'm probably the last person on the planet to watch the TV show Numb3rs.

I just started watching it this past week, on Netflix, b/c I have been having my intermittent chronic insomnia and  needed something to watch late at night (like, two and three in the morning late) when I am simply unable to do actual work anymore.

Numb3rs is the perfect show for that.  It's smart enough to be interesting, and yet dumbed-down enough (the writers patiently over-explain everything for teh ijit American audience) that the exhausted brain can follow it.

It also has a university setting, although no one ever seems to teach.  They "do research," but very romantically. (That is, by sitting about in lovely sunlit offices staring thoughtfully into space, or scribbling on blackboards.  Blackboards!  When's the last time y'all saw a fucking blackboard?)

The two main characters are brothers, Don and Charlie Eppes.  Don works for the FBI; Charlie is a math genius, a professor who also consults for the NSA.  Their father, played by Judd Hirsch, is a retired city planner. The show is basically (at least so far -- I'm only in season one) a who-done-it / procedural, with Charlie's math skills being the biggest part of the procedural. That is, mostly the crimes get solved via Charlie's math wizardry. (Though the math "research" isn't realistic, I'm told by real math people on the web -- not very surprisingly.)

That's the draw of the show, and that's what makes it fun to watch -- seeing how math solves puzzles. And so far I'm having (exhausted) fun with the show.

But.  (You knew there was a but, right?)

The women on this show.

Now to be fair it is season one.  Maybe things get better!

And there are women on the show.  So yay!  Women have roles.  Women are detectives, they're math professors, they're FBI agents.  All very nice.

But in not one single scene so far has one woman talked to another woman.  It's just -- holy hell, it's hilarious.  There was this one episode where two women were left on stage together, and they just stared at one another, and then both of them, I kid you not, just fucking bolted.  They fled the scene, rather than speak to one another.

The men all have well-developed relationships.  The men all speak to each other about all sorts of things, and not just work.  The men meet enough other outside of the office, have coffee together, play chess together, take walks, chat about work and politics and baseball and their past.

The women?  Only talk about men.  To men.

Or else plot points.

It's almost as if the writers know about the Bechdel Test and are mocking us!

It's an otherwise entertaining show, as I said, but I swear this feature of it is so annoying I'm about to give up on it, just for that reason alone.

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