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October 6, 2015

Numb3rs: Pay to Play - VIDEO

by Jonathan Toomey, posted May 10th 2008 11:42AM

Dylan Bruno (Colby Granger) and Special Agent Liz Warner (Aya Sumika) investigate the murder of a rap star.
(S04E17) "I think if these were Travis Tritt fans, I might have better luck." - Colby

Sometimes I just don't know what they're thinking when they come up with stories for this show. Call me crazy, but the notion of a small rap label feud just doesn't strike me as something that the FBI is going to handle. And I do mean small. Besides the fact that the only real purpose that the case served was to play up the humorous stereotypes and clichés it created (like the scene with Larry and Charlie in the recording studio), I don't think it felt realistic. The music industry is far larger than the microcosm depicted in this episode and writers just hand-picked elements for this small, almost indie, rap label. I mean, c'mon - "2x4?" Really?

Three rappers, two are successful, and one isn't. The label owner had been using payola with all the radio stations to get one guy played more and the other played less. Someone found out and people started dying. I suppose I should also mention (mainly because I find it funny) that the episode featured a guest appearance from the "Oscar winning" group Three 6 Mafia. Hilarious.

OK, so before I get to the good stuff (there was some), let me complain some more first. The idea of an algorithm that predicts a song's success is ridiculous. By analyzing tone changes, lyrics, guitar riffs, and other parts of songs? There's no way something like that could exist and if it did, there's no way it would work properly. I'm all about the math and how it's featured on the show, but I hate it when it's used foolishly like this.

Then there were all the stereotypes. 2x4, the wimpy white rapper. Kilo, the thug bodyguard. Drug involvement. Larry and Charlie's "rap ineptitude." Mansions and AK-47s. It was just an endless list of all the things you've read and heard about over the years. The only thing missing was an East vs. West element.

Moving on. First off, I loved the meeting with Amita's parents. They went from being obnoxious to nice and everything worked out. It's just great to see that at least one of the romances on this story is actually being played out rather than forgotten or set aside. I will say that it was pretty rude of them to try and set Amita up with that other guy right in front of Charlie, especially after Amita's mom made that crack about how he'd make "some girl" very happy someday. But in the end, they came around. I'm thinking we might see Charlie propose in next week's finale?

And speaking of romances, it looks like Liz and Colby might be getting a little closer? I'm not sure anything will come of it though since Liz isn't the one taking Megan's place on the team after she leaves (someone new is being cast). That got set up too. Megan was in New York on leave. I got the impression that Larry knew she wasn't coming back either. I'm guessing her resignation comes in the finale next week?

A few more thoughts?

  • Where was Robin?
  • I'd like to meet this professor that Larry and Charlie refer to as "the slurper."
  • I loved when Larry commented that he "hadn't been living in a cave" but didn't know who any of the rappers were. Then Charlie had to remind him that he sort of had been - the space station, the monastery, and oh yeah, the campus steam tunnels.

So, as I mentioned, the finale (it's called "When Worlds Collide") airs next week. I'm not sure what to expect other than what we already know about. Last season ended with that huge twist, finding out that Colby was a Chinese spy. Since we know that Diane Farr is leaving, I hope there's more to it than just some tearful goodbye. I want a cliffhanger!

This week's numb3rs: 1,148 hip hop albums; 3.6 billion gross sales dollars; 186 radio stations; 3 artists
This week's math: Pay to Play

What are you looking forward to most in the finale?
Charlie proposing to Amita70 (64.8%)
Alan finishing the greening of the Eppes house9 (8.3%)
Megan saying goodbye to the FBI29 (26.9%)

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Yeah, the cases they're working on are getting a little strained.

I went back at the end of ep to see what contrived reason they had for the FBI investigating the case. Apparently, the label had been linked to a drug ring and LAPD was letting the FBI "run with it"...

But that said, I really liked the episode. Payola and the algorithm for determining the likelihood of a hit song were definitely interesting concepts (especially if you didn't automatically think they were far-fetched, which they were NOT)

May 19 2008 at 12:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The scene with Charlie and Larry in the studio was one of my favorite.

The episode itself was nothing special, but I'm betting that it was just filler for the upcoming finale.

I was blown away with last year's so I'm really looking forward to this one.


May 13 2008 at 4:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Call me crazy, but the notion of a small rap label feud just doesn't strike me as something that the FBI is going to handle."
...A lot of the cases don't seem FBI worthy and yeah, I wondered too.

This episode was lukewarm. A throwaway, really.
From the start, as soon as we saw a bunch of rappers, it was obvious that there was going to be some gang and drive by action. Why were the writers so unoriginal? The name "Two by Four" was lame. It's as if it was trying to be ironic, but it wasn't, and that's one of the reasons it was bad.

When Amita's mother told Charlie that he'd make some girl very happy someday I thought, "Wait, she doesn't know they're a couple?" It was a weird comment to make in front of Charlie.

I too liked Larry's comment and in my mind started to answer him before Charlie did.

Fun witty banter between Charlie and Alan:
"My dad knows you spend the night, that's never been weird."
"Well it's weird now, thank you very much."

Krumholtz's facial reaction was adorable. I want a Krumholtz of my very own.

May 11 2008 at 2:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was not into this week's rap theme at all.

I've decided what my major issue with the show is: I've always liked Rob Morrow, but I just don't buy him in this role (as the lead FBI guy or as the guy who gets so many women). Charlie is the star of the show.

May 11 2008 at 8:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Actually i think thet they would do a great couple, remember that colby was thinking of her before he knew about her and don... so is not that far fetched

May 10 2008 at 5:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't think Liz and Colby have very much in common, so I don't see how this is going to work. I do love Charlie&Amita though. Wooh.

May 10 2008 at 1:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brent Todd

With regards to there being no such algorithm, you should check up on your facts. There is a company that is claiming they have such an algorithm for pop music. More info can be found: http://slashdot.org/articles/03/11/23/1517234.shtml?tid=141&tid=188

May 10 2008 at 12:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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