Dancing With the Massive, Luminous Spheres of Plasma Held Together by Their Own Gravity
Alright, let me get this out of the way up front: I don’t give even the most modest increment of shit about Dancing With the Stars. But one thing I do care about is science, and it’s almost entirely because of this gentleman.
I don’t think people that are behind or ahead of my generation understand just how fantastic this show was, and I’m going to do my best to describe it to you today.
For many of us, science class was one of the scariest places to be during school. It was the educational equivalent of witchcraft; somehow the weirdest shit you can imagine was going on in the world, and we were expected to explain why in 100 words or less (or via scantron, those fucking test sheets of death). Science books are typically written to be very… clinical, for lack of a better word, and that doesn’t always translate well when talking to a layman. If you yourself didn’t have trouble in science class, at least one of your best friends did.
In my case, I didn’t start having trouble in science until I got into high school, which I still firmly believe is a direct result of no longer having Bill Nye as my tutor.
That, and my high school science teachers were assholes.
What made Bill Nye so good at his craft is that he never lost sight of what it’s like to be in science class. He made the subject matter relaxed to calm those that were intimidated; he made it funny to interest those that were bored; he made it simple to clarify it for those that were falling behind; and most importantly, he made science fun.
Bill Nye the Science Guy is a show that I’d get up early to watch on Saturday mornings. While other kids were watching cartoons and sentai shows, I was expanding my mind in the form of trying to understand Bill as he talked underwater. The best thing is, I wasn’t alone; even the kids that never watched Bill Nye’s show had at least heard of it, and I don’t know a single person that disliked it. Everyone wanted to be one of the kids working in the background of Bill’s lab. If you don’t believe me, simply mention his name to anyone in their late 20’s or early 30’s and see if they don’t start doing the chant from the theme song.
To my school’s credit, this was not only recognized, but utilized from time to time. Every now and again my science class would forgo the usual book reading and wheel in that gigantic TV-on-a-cart. My class always lost it, because we knew it could only mean one thing: Bill Nye was going to be our science teacher today! Any class that featured a Bill Nye the Science Guy episode was a party, and I for one always did well on my tests afterward.
This practice even continued every once in a while after I got into high school — although we were frequently cockblocked by the teacher giving us Beakman’s World instead.
Even after Bill Nye the Science Guy went off the air, I never lost my affection for it, and happily tuned in any time I managed to catch a stray rerun. By adulthood I had reached the point where I was interested enough in science to pursue it on my own, but I always perked up anytime Bill Nye’s name entered the discussion (which it frequently does during creationism debates). When it was announced that he would be one of the contestants on Dancing With the Stars, it didn’t matter to me that it was a show I’d never taken an interest in. All I knew was that Bill Nye would be back on the airwaves, and I just knew he was going to sneak science into his routines.
And you know what? I was right~
Bill Nye the Science Guy is the property of Disney, which I actually never knew until writing this article. They really need to release a nice DVD set of all the episodes. If they ever do, that would be © Disney too.
Dancing with the Stars is © ABC (I think), and no one gives a shit who Beakman’s World belongs to.
Posted on September 18, 2013, in Feature Articles, Journalism, News, TV and tagged Beakman's World, Bill Nye, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Dancing With the Stars. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.