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"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 half-hour kids' Science Show ran from September 10, 1993 to June 20, 1998. Each half-hour episode is centered on an area of scientific study, varying in level of focus from a single concept to an entire topic.
The show was hosted by Bill Nye, a scientist, comedian and retired 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 on September 10, 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.
Each half-hour show begins with a cold open, where Bill was introducing the episode's topic, which leads into an opening credit sequence, as Bill is seen floating through a montage of science images. The show's theme song was written by Mike Greene. The theme song's lyrics repeats the title of the show itself, which comes across a bass rhythm line that is set to a house beat, and the number is punctuated by repeating the word "Bill!" as a percussive shout. The sound and speed fluctuations of the voice were accomplished through a vocoder and electronic pitch fluctuation.
In later episodes, the theme song was cut short by a static screen. After the opening credits, announcer Pat Cashman says "Brought to you by..." as a product name is shown, that is related to the episode's topic, followed by Bill walking onto the set called "Nye Laboratories", which is filled with scientific visuals, including many "of science" contraptions announced dramatically, relevant to the topic of the episode. Television and film parodies were also featured in every episode, which is related to the episode's topic.
There are several individual segments that are featured in each episode, such as "Way Cool Scientist", which features an expert on the show's topic, "Consider the Following", where Bill discusses a certain aspect of the topic, "Check it Out", where the audience is shown how to affect their environmental issues by relating to the topic, "Try This", where the audience is shown how to try a simple demonstration relating to the topic, "Hey! Look at This", where the audience is shown how to look at it by relating to the topic, "Nifty Home Experiment", where the audience is shown how to do a simple home experiment relating to the topic, "Clever Science Trick", where the audience is shown how to do a simple science trick relating to the topic, and "Did You Know That...", where an interesting factoid relevant to that episode's topic was presented.
Most half-hour episodes contain a mock song parody and music video in the "Soundtrack of Science" by "Not That Bad Records". "Not that bad" is a line that Bill would often say in most episodes, substituting a scientific roundup of the lyrics to a popular song. This is usually the last segment of each episode. Each half-hour show ends with Bill saying "Well, that's our show, Thanks for watching. If you'll excuse me, I've got some...", before explaining in a clever description of an activity on topic. Followed by him saying "See ya!" afterwards, and then, a female announcer says "Produced in association with the National Science Foundation". The credits sometimes rolled next to a series of outtakes from the episode.
This half-hour show ran on PBS from September 10, 1993 to June 20, 1998, with 100 half-hour episodes produced over five seasons. 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.
This show provides examples of:
- Adam Westing: In 1994, the late Bob Ross appeared on the last episode of Season 1 of Bill Nye the Science Guy entitled "Eyeball", in which the late Bob Ross starts in a skit called "The Artistic Eye with Bob Ross". In this skit, the late Bob Ross talks about how rods and cones work, and then, the late Bob Ross paints some rods and cones inside an outline of an eyeball.
- 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 Spaatz about the topic at hand.
- Educational Song: The various songs at the end of every episode.
- Fun with Flushing: In the Season 1 episode "Digestion", every time Bill says "all the way" a toilet flushes off-screen.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Here. Just look at how positively gleeful he is while doing it.
- "ANAL SPHINCTER"
- "Let's Talk About Stress" (the title of one of the said Educational Songs. Guess what song it's tune and title is filched 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. Guest stars have appeared on the show, such as comedian Sinbad, Siskel and Ebert, Bob Ross, Candace Cameron, Graham Kerr, Nate McMillan, Samuel L. Jackson, Richard Karn, Jenna von Oy, and there was even a clip with that great among greats, the late 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:
- Segments - Consider the Following, Did You Know That?, Way Cool Scientist, Nifty Home Experiment, Try This, Hey! Look at This, Check it Out, Clever Science Trick, 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 perform "Farm Food", which spoofed the Presidents of the United States 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. Bill Nye and Pat Cashman grew up watching a lot of TV, and a lot of movies. So of course, we liked to do our scientific film parodies, that is related to the topic.
- 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 TV Tropes to edit. See ya!