Neil deGrasse Tyson On My Television
Neil deGrasse Tyson, noted astrophysicist and always deemed my favorite, has once again invaded our television screens as an actor on a beloved television series. Fans may know Tyson from his work on Nova ScienceNow or his numerous books that bring astrophysics to the masses. Casual viewers or readers may know him better as ‘The Man Who Demoted Pluto.’ Yes, third graders everywhere are cursing his name because they have to relearn the planetary jingle.
Despite the fact that it’s been four years since the IAU agreed with Tyson and demoted Pluto to dwarf planet status, the entertainment industry is still using it to their advantage. Tyson first took a turn as an actor on the Stargate: Atlantis episode “Brain Storm” where he played…Neil deGrasse Tyson. He became the subject of taunting by Dr. Rodney McKay over his role in the planet’s demotion, but managed to get a few good jibes in himself.
Rodney McKay: Hey, at least I didn’t declassify Pluto from planet status. Way to make all the little kids cry, Neil. That make you feel like a big man? (SGA, Episode 5.16, “Brain Storm”)
And now, two years later, he’s back again. This time, he’s on the hit comedy Big Bang Theory, favorite of nerds everywhere, and he’s playing…Neil deGrasse Tyson. Hey, when you’re iconic, you can be your own character! He is still defending himself as not being the sole person responsible for Pluto’s demotion, but Dr. Sheldon Cooper will have none of that.
Sheldon Cooper: I’m quite familiar with Dr. Tyson. He’s responsible for the demotion of Pluto from planetary status. I liked Pluto. Ergo, I do not like you. (BBT, Episode 4.7, “The Apology Insufficiency”)
Poor Dr. Tyson, he just can’t win. But if the television writers want to ride this joke out for however long they deem it funny, I’m happy to see Tyson return time and again. Until then, I’ll be over here geeking out over my favorite astrophysicist.
Photo Credit: Chris Cassidy, NOVA science NOW
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