Episode Seven of Space Spaces has arrived, evolving from a simple refutation of the idiocy polluting popular culture and politics to more nuanced arguments honed to scientific precision.
And speaking of science, in a rare showing of singular focus, our brave co-hosts – neither of whom are scientists by training or hallucination – take on Netflix’s wildly divisive new show, Bill Nye Saves The World. Showing a commitment to research that goes above and beyond, co-host Nathan Evans watched all thirteen episodes of the show (so you don’t have to), and not only survived the experience but came away with a new appreciation for colorful adjectives. The show is, in a word, turgid.
For a show – and host – claiming to be on the side of “science” and “evidence”, Bill Nye Saves the World is anything but. Using the power of Netflix and an embarrassment of talent available, Bill’s revived beloved “Science Guy” persona could have been an educational and enlightening starting point to sharing the joys of the scientific community to those who might never have considered such things cool or approachable. Say, like Neil deGrasse Tyson’s successful reboot of COSMOS. Wouldn’t that have been something?
Instead, we get hours of badly written, poorly performed propaganda masquerading as “science”. At the center of this mess is Bill Nye’s public crusade to educate the world about anthropogenic climate change, i.e. man-made climate change, by any means necessary. To do this Bill checks off as many liberal progressive boxes as time allows: human sexuality, GMO engineering, population control, vaccinations, and pretty much any recent cause célèbre currently sending justice-minded hearts into palpitations.
Regardless of which side of the intellectual aisle you happen to fall on (that such things are even considered “political” is a sad statement all its own), those who profess allegiance to the topics covered in the show are certain to feel the shame and embarrassment as Bill and his correspondents meander and misrepresent through a cacophony of embarrassing skits, casual racism, bullying, vague assumptions, and, most egregiously, bad science and basic factual errors.
Perhaps the show’s lowest point comes with “comedian” Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) performing a now-legendary “rap” playfully called “My Sex Junk”, in which she extols the joys of butt sex, gender fluidity, and her noisy vagina. In a perfect world such a travesty would be career-killing (Bloom will be fine), but this hilariously bad and tasteless piece of musical feces should give Bill’s growing legion of detractors plenty of red meat to gnaw on.
Does it matter that Nye, whose training is primarily in mechanical engineering (and stand-up comedy), isn’t actually a “scientist” by trade? Or that many of his correspondents – the ones that aren’t models – with actual scientific credentials are reduced to producing lame segments on male beauty products and misrepresenting statistics on maternity leave? Should “popularizers of science” be held to the same standards as those who actually practice the real thing?
These questions aside, our hosts do something you won’t find in the mucky-muck of conservative media heaping spoonfuls of scorn and shame on Bill Nye: they actually come to his defense (when appropriate), refusing to cherry-pick the show’s most offensive bits out of context. All in all, Bill’s biggest crime seems to be bowing to the pressures of political correctness at the expense of open-ended scientific discovery and actual inclusiveness.
Ending this week’s show on a positive note, Anton congratulates award-winning actress Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty, The Martian) on her strategy to help end the wage-gap that many feel disadvantage female actresses in a male-dominated industry. Her secret to success isn’t a mystery, but instead a simple recipe that can easily be replicated without much fuss: when approached to star in a new production Chastain inquires what her male co-stars earn in the same film and – gasp! – demands the same.
While this may have – and undoubtedly will – cost the actress a role or two, it’s also helped keep her as one of Hollywood’s most sought-after stars. Plus, show some love for another one of Hollywood’s leading ladies, the awesome Helen Mirren, whose surprising – and very welcome – appearance in the new Fate of the Furious blockbuster proves she’s not above doing what it takes to stay relevant in her field, and have a blast doing it.
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