You wouldn't know it from his laid-back on-screen persona, but Eddie Steeples is a very busy guy. In order to interview My Name Is Earl's Darnell (aka Crab Man), we had to e-mail him our questions, which he in turn responded to from the set of the independent film When Is Tomorrow, which he cowrote and coproduced. Like his Earl character, who's in the witness-protection program for undisclosed reasons, we get the feeling there's much more than meets the eye to the guy most of us first knew as Offic Max's groovy Rubberband Man. While we weren't about to get Steeples to reveal his own deep dark secrets via e-mail, he did give us insight into the mysterious Crab Man.
TVGuide.com: Darnell is such a great, enigmatic character, so we always want to see more of him. But do you think it's better that he only appears on the show in small doses?
Eddie Steeples: It's one of those "the less you see, the more you want" type of things. That's what keeps the enigma alive.
TVGuide.com: When you first started on the show, did you have to make up your own backstory, or did the writers fill you in?
Steeples: In the beginning, I had my own Darnell backstory in my head, but as the scripts kept coming out, revealing Darnell's past through flashbacks, I soon let that go. It's easier to adjust, otherwise you become attached to what you have no control of. Especially in television.
TVGuide.com: How do you and Mr. Turtle get along on the set? Does he have his own handler?
Steeples: We get along fine. He's the highest-paid tortoise in Hollywood. That's right: tortoise, he is not a turtle. Just another actor trying to feed his/her family. I'm still not sure if Mr. T. is a Mr. or Mrs. We haven't got that close yet.
TVGuide.com: One of my absolute favorite scenes in the first season was in "Joy's Wedding," when you were in that indoor playground after finding out Joy cheated on you with Earl. Do you have a favorite Darnell moment?
Steeples: The "Y2K" episode was one of my favorites. I ask myself why, and I can't think of anything other than that I had a great time filming that episode. Was it the running, the vibe, the time in my life...? I have no idea. It was fun.
TVGuide.com: Do you know as much about history and politics as Darnell does, or do you think he could teach you a thing or two?
Steeples: If we were both professors, I recommend you take Darnell's class to get your money's worth. Especially if you hate drawing, stand-up and slang — that would be my approach.
TVGuide.com: On the show your hair is always disheveled in a perfectly hip way. Got any styling secrets, or is that natural?
Steeples: It's all in the twist. Usually done once a week if I'm lucky.
TVGuide.com: At this point, when people call out to you on the street, do they say "Rubberband Man" or "Crab Man"?
Steeples: People call out both. Rubberband Man not so much as before. Percentagewise it's Crab Man, 70 percent, to Rubberband Man, 30 percent.
TVGuide.com: Which do you prefer?
Steeples: If it weren't for Rubberband Man I don't think I would be Crab Man. So deep down, as silly as Rubberband Man is, I will always have love and appreciation for that character. I mean, come on, the guy has his own theme song!!! Of course, years from now I'll say the same about Crab Man.
For scoop on other NBC shows such as The Office, Heroes and Law & Order, pick up the Feb. 12 issue of TV Guide.
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