Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Where have you gone, Bill Nye the Science Guy?

Growing up in a house that lacked modern luxuries such as basic cable, I would arrive home from a long day at school and continue my education with the wonderful 1990s offerings of children's entertainment on network TV (the Disney Afternoon, anyone?).

While I could pontificate for hours on the glory of mid-90s cartoons, I would rather discuss a show that I actually did learn something from, namely, PBS's immortal Bill Nye the Science Guy. In addition to having an infectiously catchy theme song, this show was legitimately funny and presented educational material in a way that actually stuck. Sometimes we would watch episodes of it in my grade school science classes and then I would go home and watch an episode on TV for fun. It's possible that I was just a nerd, but I prefer the theory that Bill Nye discovered a way to make science fun and appealing. If you remember any of the song parodies that came at the end of each episode, you know how ingenius his methods were. One of my personal favorites is "Blood Stream", a takeoff on "Love Shack" that has thankfully been preserved online for all to see. I demand that you watch it now.

As I was trolling around my Google Reader today, I came across a link to a pre-Science Guy video of Bill Nye on some Seattle comedy sketch show. The video is pretty funny and made me think back to "Blood Stream" and all the other great Nye-created educational hilarity. Which made me wonder: A) Why don't they play Bill Nye the Science Guy on PBS anymore (even if it's just reruns) and B) What is the Science Guy up to now?



I immediately turned to Wikipedia for the answers. It turns out that he's still a Science Guy and he has a very Flash-heavy Web site that he still updates. Unfortunately, his TV appearances have seemingly been reduced to guest shots on CBS's crime-drama "NUMB3RS." Even Science Guys need to pay their bills, I suppose. It's just too bad his vast creative talents aren't being used to their full educational potential anymore. Bill Nye was the Man and Science Ruled! Now if I could just get that theme song out of my head...

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

A lot of very talented people worked on that show -- he was just the actor you saw onscreen. Give credit also to the people who wrote the lyrics to those songs, edited, did sound effects, and wrote the scripts. Perhaps he can't hold himself together for the job on his own, or he's aged out of the role and can't recreate it or find another. He looked very gaunt on a recent Weather Channel appearance, so perhaps he's ill. Maybe he's having a midlife crisis, or worse, what with that brief first marriage on Wikipedia, at age 50. I've heard he's nasty to the people who collaborate with him, and even worse, nasty to the disappearing group of people who remember him. Sometimes an early, isolated success can lead to narcissism, and make someone feel superior to everyone else and forget to reinvent and grow.

Matt said...

Point taken, anonymous. I'm sure there are a lot of great people who worked on the show and I hope they continue to use those talents in some educational capacity.

That's too bad about Bill Nye though...

I also found out that he does have (or recently had?) another educational science TV show: http://www.eyesofnye.org/

Anonymous said...

I guess Bill should have known better than marry a tell-all-arthur. She is coming out with a book titled "Sex, Lies and Bowties", by Blair Tindall. Mr. Nye should have known hell has no fury like a woman scorned. His nastiness evidently has caught up with him.

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