I’ll admit it, I started watching Numb3ers because it was available on Netflix streaming, David Krumholtz held a title role, and I needed something to do whilst folding laundry. Despite the creepy tight mouth on Rob Morrow’s Don Eppes, and season one’s laughably daffy dialogue, Num3ers eventually grew on me as a show, but not as much as David Krumholtz’s Charlie Eppes grew on me as a tumor… a tumor of love.
Unlike my Matthew Gray Gubler obsession, which started with episode one of Criminal Minds, I’ve been a Krumholtz admirer since he played the grumpy elf Bernard in the Santa Clause movies. That would make us both about 14 when the romance began: young love.
But it’s his portrayal of Professor Eppes—the bumbling, emotionally available, math prodigy, crime fighter—that transformed my naïve adolescent crush into a world-wise, 100% adult, idée fixe. (For some reason French words make pervy seem, I don’t know, French).
What is it about a bumbling, floppy-haired math professor that drives girls wild? I imagine it happens every day in math classrooms across the country. Young, impressionable students swoon as bespectacled PhDs manipulate numbers before their kohl-lined eyes. I’m sure it’s a classic syndrome, like the Florence Nightingale effect. Sexy nurses, sexy mathematicians… same diff, right?
While DK has played many roles besides that of Charlie Eppes, and I will admit to an intense fondness for Mr. Universe in the Firefly movie, I don’t see any reason to dwell on non-Num3ers performances. The truth is, I’m more in love with Charlie than I am with David Krumholtz. Maybe that’s controversial to say. Character-love still isn’t technically legal in most states. And there is a strange emptiness I feel now that I’ve watched the final episode of the final season. Never again will I witness Charlie cocking his eyebrow in a new way. It’s heartbreaking. I’m only kind of kidding.
I feel I should take a moment to appreciate the friends and family members that have supported Charlie over the years. Judd Hirsch’s Alan Eppes, Charlie’s father, never without an unsolicited piece of advice; Navi Rawat’s Amita, Charlie’s stupid, gorgeous, math genius girlfriend; Peter MacNicol’s Larry Fleinhardt, the theoretical physicist who encouraged a young Charlie to reach for the stars; the FBI’s rotating cast of tough-as-nails coppers with their varying degrees of math literacy; and of course, the criminals, without whose murders and miscellaneous violent crimes Charlie’s algorithms would not have been possible.
I would like to not thank whoever is responsible for mutilating Charlie’s hair throughout the sixth season. I’m looking at you, Ron Scott, Hair Department Head, 2010.