I think I had a strange dream about this…

…and then my dream ended up on YouTube! Right. Bill Nye. Dancing the cha-cha. To Oingo Boingo.

He’s not bad. The woman is much better, but I presume she’s a professional dancer?


  1. Becca Stareyes says

    Yes, that’s generally the premise of ‘Dancing with the Stars’ — the ‘stars” partners are professional dancers, and part of their challenge is to make a routine looks good when they have someone less skilled as a partner.

  2. carlie says

    I went to some regular, nothing-to-do-with-science tv forums about this episode, and although there were a lot of criticisms about his performance, there were more comments complaining that he was “creepy” when talking about how sexy and young his dancing partner was in the “behind the scenes” section of the show.

    Jack Osbourne gave an adorable performance also – clips are on hulu, at least.

  3. says

    He was rather worse than than your average middle-aged white guy dancer. They always have at least one.

    And yeah, his comments about his partner were kinda creepy.

  4. says

    Nye is an avid swing and ballroom dancer, and is reputed to be quite good. I’m inclined to suspect strategy (look awkward on the first night, then milk points from the judges for “improving” later in the season.) It might have just been nerves, though: with the lights and the noise and the cameras and everything else going on, a newbie on the stage can get distracted no matter how good he is.

    It’s not enough to get me to watch the show, but I will be following his performances.

  5. says

    Some reaaaalllly awkward shit happened to that song in high school. It brought me right back to that moment. It was less awkward than the dancing just now though -_-

  6. kevinkirkpatrick says

    — in dance studio:
    Bill: Ladies and Gentlemen, if your watching… Tyne is kind of a knockout.
    Tyne: Well, thank you.
    — side interview cut-in:
    Bill: This might be the best example in history of ‘Beauty and the Geek’
    — back to dance studio:
    Bill Watching the show, it looks like the successful couples have that, I mean, frankly, it’s that sexual tension.. (audience laughter)
    Tyne: Right…
    Bill: .. from an evolutionary standpoint..
    Tyne: Right…
    Bill: pssh… it’s just.. fabulous

    Yeah, just… yuck on that. I kind of felt like, “get Bill off the show so Tyne can stop worrying about where he’s going to put his hands during the dance under the auspice of selling the ‘sexual tension'”.

  7. Louis says

    Is Bill creepy? No idea. This suggests it is so. Were I a betting man, however, I’d bet it was scripted/encouraged in some way.

    Either way it doesn’t matter. I thought the professional dancer lady looked squicked out. Maybe that’s just me.


  8. Uncle Ebeneezer says

    @Epicure- Right?!! I was all pumped to hear a good Cha-Cha done by a no doubt fabulous group of professional musicians, and what they give us is about as far from it (musically) as it gets. I’ve never watched the show before, so I’m sure they do this sort of thing all the time, but still, there’s so many great authentic songs they could have used…

    Agree on the creepy-ness of the “knockout” segment, but like others it seems like something pre-written to keep the show “edgy.” (gag)

  9. says

    Meh. “Edgy” is really not something the DWTS producers seem to strive for. And, although there have been numerous pairings between older men and young attractive women, Bill Nye is the first one I’ve seen go off on that sort of tangent. Hell, even Andy Dick never came off that creepy. (I think this is the 5th year I’ve been watching.)

    Why all the resistance to the idea that Bill Nye managed to come up with something mildly creepy all by his lonesome?

  10. Kaintukee Bob says

    @Sally: Bill Nye is an icon to many of us. I think it’s natural to want to not believe he possesses normal human flaws, especially given the recent controversy within the atheist community.

    I was a bit squicked out by the creepy too, but I think it was also scripted. Nye’s first comment (on her attractiveness) may not have been, but it could have easily been encouraged for them to play it up.

    A big clue for me is their body language. When not in one of the ‘creepy’ bits, they’re very relaxed. She talks about him (to the camera) like she’s quite fond of him. Their chemistry outside of the ‘creepy’ bits seems very natural. It all changes during the creepy bits. Nye’s voice changes subtly, and his body language practically screams, “uncomfortable” and she is similar – she starts those bits standing further from him than they naturally stand otherwise.

    It’s all speculative, and I could be reading it wrong. Obviously, she’s got strong motivation to act as though he’s wonderful (the show is, in part, a popularity contest), but I would assign higher probability to the idea, “Nye isn’t really that creepy, that was staged” than to the idea, “Nye said those things naturally.”

    TL;DR: There is, I believe, at least some reason to suspect it was staged. There is also a very natural bias for many people here to believe the best in Nye and disbelieve anything which opposes that.

  11. says

    I love Derek Hough. I also admire Mark Ballas’ choreography and artistry.

    Yeah, Ballas is good. He and Hough actually studied under some of the same dance teachers when they were teenagers.

  12. ButchKitties says

    I could not take my eyes of Amber Riley, which is a pretty huge accomplishment considering her partner is a Derek Freaking Hough. Amazing.

    I was also pleasantly surprised by Jack Osbourne, not enough to watch the show, but I will look up his dancing clips on Hulu.

  13. Amphigorey says

    Speaking as a former competitive ballroom dancer, no, Bill Nye isn’t very good. His technique is terrible, his footwork sloppy, and his steps are much too big for the cha cha. It looks like he’s an ok social dancer and he knows how to lead, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to competition, especially for something like cha cha, which requires snap and precision. In social swing, you can be pretty loose, and he’s clearly used to that and hasn’t figured out the control that cha cha requires.

    I wonder if he’ll do any better at the Standard dances – waltz, tango, foxtrot, quickstep, Viennese.

    I agree that he was creepy at his partner. I hate that shit. I occasionally teach social ballroom, and sometimes older guys creep on the younger women in exactly that way. They think that since ballroom has romantic overtones, they can get away with creeping on their partners. It’s infuriating.

  14. John Horstman says

    That banter was defs creepy. Even if it was scripted, bad on Nye for agreeing to play along (and it’s entirely possible he *is* a creep – I know nothing about him other than his public persona in advocating science literacy). :-/

  15. F [is for failure to emerge] says

    Yeah, I don’t know if Nye is generally creepy, even if I’m prepared to expect that maybe it is true because of the tumblr bit referenced by Ichthic. Certainly he was a bit creepy at the moment he made and ran with that comment. It certainly is a cultural pattern, if not necessarily a personal pattern for him.

    Less creepatin in the water would help.

  16. says

    I think it speaks well of DWTS that Nye’s banter was something of a high mark for creepiness on the show. Usually the relationship between older stars and their much younger pro teachers is more familial & friendly. In addition, Peta (the pro) blatantly hit on her partner (some TV dude, I think) within seconds of meeting him, but it wasn’t creepy at all because she was so direct. Aweseme.

    Lynna – I didn’t know that about Hough and Ballas, but that makes total sense. Thanks.

  17. Suido says

    Def creepy, but heavily edited and I think it looks like the latter remarks were prompted. He referenced Beauty and the Geek as well as evolution – that sounds more like he was answering a producer’s leading questions.

    I would guess it probably started by him making an offhand, unnecessary comment about her looks, then getting prompted into saying more things that were definitely creepy, then it getting heavily edited for maximum effect. So while I’m not giving him a pass for the comments – he did choose to say them – I’d be interested in seeing the unedited footage to see how much the producers manufactured it.

    Anyway, I think he dances a lot like me – very comfortable when it’s loose and social, but without the training required for precise styles like the cha cha. He’ll improve quickly.

  18. Suido says

    *…a producer’s leading questions, a producer that wanted to emphasize science and geekiness as much as possible.*

  19. sonofrojblake says

    There is, I believe, at least some reason to suspect it was staged

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Ya think?

    Wow, you people really don’t watch much television, do you?

  20. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    nineteenthing or whatever the creep factor isolated by kevinkirkpatrick.

    About the dancing, so, I’m not one to do better, but it seemed like he was much better with footwork than with basic posture. His shoulders kept coming forward at inappropriate moments. But it was pretty good for Bill N given his lack of experience. Of course, I’m assuming he didn’t have that long to work on it. Like saying I’m pretty good at guitar for only picking it up again about 3-4 months ago.


  21. says

    Staged or not, it squicked me out enough to stop watching and check out the comments. I was disappointed. I don’t know if Bill Nye is an idol of mine, but I did expect him to be better than acting like a sexual harassing creeper.
    “I think it’s natural to want to not believe he possesses normal human flaws, especially given the recent controversy within the atheist community.”
    I wouldn’t even file creeper under “normal human flaws”. Chronic lateness, bad breath, general non-harassing awkwardness, clumsiness, or a tendency to drink out of the milk carton are normal human flaws. Creeping is a kind of different level to me. Not that it’s unforgivable, but I try not to normalize it (even if it happens so often that it can be called “normal”).

  22. Kaintukee Bob says

    @WellYesYouMay: A certain amount of awkwardness when dealing with attractive people is a perfectly normal thing which can appear (or, with editing) be made to appear creepy.

    I agree with your points. ‘Creeper’ shouldn’t be a normal human flaw and it shouldn’t be normalized. That said, I think the displayed behavior falls short of ‘creeper’. We can only know what the producers chose to show us, not the whole picture. They have an obvious bias in what they choose to show (the pair rehearsed for at least several days, but more likely a full week, and we were shown less than 4 minutes of that time) and I don’t think it’s fair to apply such a label to anyone based on such a small percentage of observed time.

    At this point, all I can say for sure is that Bill Nye sure seems to be awkward around women he’s going to be dancing with on TV.

  23. says

    Leaving aside the dirty-old-man comments (that’s what they were going for, for humor, and they did miss; it was creepy).

    What bugged me a bit is this. (I’ve watched a fair bit of the show over the years; my wife is a big fan.) Normally when someone’s clearly not a contender, but is bringing it in their attitude and enthusiasm and effort, the judges are sweet and supportive (and then give low marks) – because their critiques are intended to improve the dancer, and when the dancer is somewhat elderly, or not in a shape where they could contend, they don’t bother with negative comments because it won’t do anything to help.

    So it surprised me a lot that Bruno and Len were so negative. Unless they actually think he can improve, that was kind of mean, and not really in the spirit of the show. (Or, unless he’s really kind of a creep in person, which could be a reason to want to get rid of him.)