In the great debate of life, it seems that Bill Nye the Science Guy comes out on top when it comes to science shows. He’s beloved, he’s science-y, and he sticks it to those weird creationist-types. All around, Bill Nye is a stand-up guy. But do you know who’s even awesomer and comes with a dude in a rat costume? Oh yeah, we’re talkin’ about Beakman’s World today.
Mark Mothersbaugh provided the opening music, making Beakman’s opening credits a million times more legit than Bill Nye’s.
I’m not going to lie to you: I don’t know anything about science besides inertia, Roy G. Biv, and how scabs heal, which is everything I took away from watching Beakman’s World. I’m not sure how it happened, but I’ve never, ever, seen an episode of Bill Nye. Ever. I’ve seen interviews with him, I know his schtick, but somehow I missed the whole Bill Nye train. My peers enjoy Bill Nye and will often argue that he is the best. WELL BEAKMAN IS ALSO AWESOME SO SUCK ON THAT.
Maybe it’s because I grew up in a world where Sunday newspapers were a big deal. The little Canadian city I grew up in didn’t offer a Sunday paper, but you’d better believe that we gobbled up the Detroit Free Press on Sundays. The comics. Oh god the comics. Pages upon pages, full colour—this was a totally new world beyond the one page of black and white Hagar the Horrible and Blondie comics I had to endure throughout the week. This. Was. Magic.
Published in the Detroit Free Press was the Universal Press Syndicate’s You Can with Beakman and Jax. This was just science-y enough to get my attention. In the early days, I played along with their experiments, even made “movie glass”, which was just corn syrup and food coloring if I remember correctly. Tasty, whatever it was.
Soon Beakman broke out of the paper and came to life on CBS in 1993. Wikipedia tells me that this show debuted a year before Bill Nye. BOOYEAH.
Paul Zaloom, who not only played Beakman in the show but also has a completely kickass name, still performs as Beakman. I’m not sure if these are sanctioned appearances, but whatever, how awesome would it be to have Beakman at your 31st birthday party in September? Hint: Really freaking awesome, so let’s make that happen. And, he didn’t even have to go on Dancing with the Stars like some other science-types, just saying.
Both shows ran for around the same amount of time (91 episodes of Beakman, 100 of Bill Nye) and were both cancelled in 1998. Fifteen years after the shows went off the air, and these two guys are still beloved. I guess that says something about science. I’m not sure what that is, but I’m sure it’s important.
Also, this is the only way I can remember the names of the planets… really messed me up when they booted Pluto out, and when I started watching Doctor Who. Where does Gallifrey fit in?
Unfortunately Mark Ritts (the dude in the rat costume, also known as Lester) passed away in 2009, but he’ll always be remembered for his contributions to science. Or, at least to a kids’ show about science.
Where did your allegiance to science fall? Beakman? Bill Nye? Someone else? Leave us a comment below!