Bill Nye the Science Guy
"Oh, believe me, you don't want to mess with Bill Nye. He will end your ass, with SCIENCE!"
—Doctor Insano, The Spoony Experiment
One of the best examples of the kids' Science Show genre from the '90s. Each episode is centered on an area of scientific study, varying in level of focus from a single concept to an entire discipline. The show's eponymous host, dressed like a cross between a Mad Scientist and a birthday party magician, would teach the subject with a genuine level of excitement and interest most men reserve for the Super Bowl.
The show was hosted by Bill Nye, a scientist, comedian and former Boeing engineer who got his start in television on the Seattle local comedy show Almost Live! (where he got the "Science Guy" epithet after correcting the host's pronunciation of Gigawatt) before starting his PBS show in 1993. (He also made several appearances on Disney shows prior to this, specifically the new version of the Mickey Mouse Club. Fitting, as this was produced by Disney.)
The show has a few internal Catch Phrases and idioms, most notably the introduction of new experimental equipment via the following formula: "[Somewhat-Generic-Description-of-Device] Of Science!" *fanfare*
Then, in almost every episode, they'd take a well-known song (usually Alternative Rock), cut the song length in half, then replace the lyrics with lyrics related to the show's topic. And a guy on YouTube uploaded every single one of them. On three occasions, actual rock artists did the song: Chris Ballew of the Presidents of the United States of America did a parody of his band's hit "Peaches", The Posies reworked their song "Flavor of the Month" with lyrics about ocean exploration, and the punk band Mudhoney did a cover of the show's theme song.
This show ran on PBS in the mid-1990s, but Bill Nye is still on TV. He has a series of specials called The Eyes of Nye, which are much closer in form to a TV Documentary series (like Nova) than his previous show. Today, he's an outspoken environmental activist. His series on Planet Green, Stuff Happens, is a show about the unintended environmental consequences of the stuff we do and use. He also occasionally guest-stars on the reality show Living With Ed; he's really Ed Begley Jr.'s neighbor, within a few miles, and the two have an ongoing rivalry to "out-green" each other. Bill Nye is also the go-to guy to explain interesting science stories on Cable news Outlets CNN and MSNBC.
Oh, and Bill Nye was Humanist of the Year in 2010. Make of that what you will.
- Adam Westing: Bob Ross appeared on an episode about the human eye painting a giant eyeball with "happy little rods and cones".
- Big Word Shout: SCIENCE!
- Breakout Character: He was Doc Brown's assistant.
- Bow Ties Are Cool
- Cloudcuckoolander: [insert sciencey topic here]-Girl, a recurring character who's there to... well, rant like a spazz about the topic at hand.
- Educational Song: The various songs at the end of every episode.
- Fun with Flushing: In the episode on digestion, every time Bill says "all the way" a toilet flushes off-screen.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: "Let's Talk About Stress" (the title of one of the said Educational Songs. Guess what song it's tune and title is filked from).
- Hey, It's That Guy!!: Quite a few people have showed up at some point or another to give Bill a celebrity-empowered hand at explaining the concepts in the show. Amongst them are comedian Sinbad, Siskel and Ebert, Bob Ross, Candace Cameron, and there was even a clip with that great amongst greats, Carl Sagan!
- Large Ham: Bill Nye. Probably should be law for all science teachers.
- Lemony Narrator: "Uh, Bill?"
- Name's the Same: Bill Nye was also the name of a well known at-the-time 19th century American humorist.
- Neither of which is to be confused with Bill Nighy.
- Once an Episode:
- Plenty of them - Consider The Following, Did You Know That (might be multiple times per episode), Way Cool Scientist, Nifty Home Experiment, and of course, the Soundtrack Of Science segment that closed each episode.
- As well as signing off each episode with a science-related "now if you will excuse me I have an X to Y."
- Parody Assistance: Chris Ballew, lead singer of the group The Presidents of the United States, showed up to sing "Farm Food", which spoofed the POTUS song "Peaches".
- Parody Commercial: At least Once an Episode. It's one of the things that made the show popular with both the intended and periphery demographic alike.
- We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties: Happens whenever the camera gets damaged or broken on set. Most memorably when a red-kneed tarantula was flicked onto the cameraman causing him to drop the camera!
- You Look Familiar: Cashman, noted above as the narrator, also appeared on-screen whenever a salesman or talk show host was needed. He returns in the same capacity for The Eyes of Nye, looking exactly the same as he did fifteen years ago.
Well that's our article, thanks for reading. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got some Tropes to edit. See ya!