Former Wonder Years star brings Project Mc² to Netflix
Ask Danica McKellar about girls and math, and she’ll speak in passionate paragraphs. Later, the former star of The Wonder Years might rattle off a few palindromes or sing a ditty about pi (in fact, she has and you can YouTube it — it’s called Dance of the Sugar Pi Fairy).
No doubt, the child actress turned math whiz loves getting her geek on. And she aims to get girls excited about science, technology and math with her new series Project Mc², now streaming on Netflix.
Centred on four whip-smart tweens who join a spy organization, it’s a totally empowering, totally girly half-hour — complete with Instagram references, boy crushes and lines like “We’re like a super-cute live version of the Pythagorean theorem!”
McKellar plays their overseer The Quail, who pops up via a video feed to give them their assignments.
“I’m the Charlie of the Charlie’s Angels, if you look at this series as Charlie’s Angels for tween girls, which it kind of is,” McKellar tells reporters. “These four girls are saving the world as spies, doing everything undercover, and I’m the one who gives them their directions.”
Except Charlie never wrote four math books for girls in real life. Or helped come up with the Chayes-McKellar-Winn theorem. Or starred in The Wonder Years and The West Wing, or wove some sequin-clad magic on Dancing With the Stars. Come to think of it, compared to McKellar, Charlie was kind of a slacker.
But McKellar admits she didn’t always find figures fun.
“I struggled in math through middle school. In fact, in the seventh grade I used to cry because I was afraid of my math homework. And then a new teacher came in and made the same material suddenly more understandable,” says the mom-of-one, who credits her parents for making education a priority.
“At that age, believe it or not, I was boy-crazy already, and I was much too concerned, much too concerned with what boys thought of me and wanting to impress them.”
That’s why she’s happy Project Mc² combines solid math and science concepts with things tween girls are naturally interested in.
“I was so excited to be a part of Project Mc², because this is a way of showing girls through entertainment that, yes, you can be smart and solve problems and do math and science and be popular and fun and fashionable and silly and save the world,” she says.
“One of the most important parts of my books, and what this show, Project Mc², offers is the image for girls to put in their head of what a smart girl looks like. A smart girl is confident, she is fun, she knows how to get what she wants because she’s smart, and that is something to aspire to be.”
Project Mc² is now streaming on Netflix