Bill Nye, CEO of the Planetary Society and Science Guy, released his new Netflix show Bill Nye Saves the World on April 21. Unlike his famous ’90s show, Saves the World is aimed at adults — though, honestly, it’s a show for everybody. And if you didn’t think he could get any cooler, he devoted the ninth episode to gender and sexuality.
The animated segment shows a vanilla ice cream cone trying to convince the other cones to be vanilla — based on the “science of feelings.” The other cones aren’t having it. They argue with Vanilla, about how their flavors aren’t a choice — and besides, they’re PROUD to be the flavors they are.
Thankfully, Mint Chocolate Chip mentions Neapolitan ice cream which gets Vanilla so hot and bothered, he joins the others in a huge, multi-flavor ice cream orgy. (Mmmm… ice cream orgy.)
This cartoon has quite the voice cast — Todd Barry is Vanilla, and he’s joined by several queer icons: Sandra Bernhard is Mint Chocolate Chip, Matt Lucas is Salted Caramel, Margaret Cho is Pistachio and Cameron Esposito is Chocolate.
The entire episode is very insightful; at the beginning, Nye and correspondent Derek Muller explain the spectrums of sexuality and gender with a sexual abacus. Muller uses the “pointer of sex” to distribute the abacus beads along four different spectra: sex (the biological component), gender (what you identify as), attraction (who you want to have sex with) and expression (how you present yourself).
Another favorite bit is when Crazy Ex-Girlfriend‘s Rachel Bloom performs the original song “My Sex Junk.” The pop song — featuring DJ Seahorse — is all about the different ways people express themselves sexually. As Bloom sings “This world of ours is full of choice/But must I choose between only John or Joyce?/Are my options only hard or moist?”
While most of what Nye explains probably won’t be news to queer people, this episode works as a great 30-minute primer on the subject. It’s perfect for playing for confused parents, grandparents and your clueless straight friends.
Unfortunately, this episode of Bill Nye Saves the World isn’t universally popular. There are a number of “takedowns” on YouTube, including one that claims “My Sex Junk” will end Bill Nye’s career. (We’re not holding our breath on that one.)
In fact, the comment sections of both embedded videos in this article are full of negative comments; though, it is YouTube, and those negative comments are about as coherent as you’d expect:
Regardless of what the collected creeps of YouTube think — and you’ll see the word “cuck” quite a bit — we think Bill Nye’s doing great work. And we think that, honestly, Nye’s explanation will win more followers than these guys think. In fact, he might just, dare we say it… save the world.