Science and classic television collide on tonight’s season finale of StarTalk, when Neil deGrasse Tyson sits down with legendary television producer Norman Lear, who many consider to be the pioneer of the television sitcom in the 1970s. Lear’s most notable programs include “All in the Family,” “Sanford and Son,” “Maude,” and “The Jeffersons” – programs that continue to influence television and popular culture today. He discusses what influenced him as a TV producer, what empowered him to make people laugh, and pushing boundaries in a time when sensitive social and political issues had not yet found a home on the TV screen.
Here, Neil and Norman discuss if science has a place within the modern sitcom on television today:
Also on tonight’s episode, Neil is joined by comedian co-host Chuck Nice and special guest Saul Austerlitz, writer and critic whose work has been published in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. His latest book is titled “Sitcom: A History in 24 Episodes from I Love Lucy to Community.” Together, they all discuss the roots of the sitcom genre that Lear created and the evolution into what it has become today.
Then, as always, Bill Nye shares his opinion on this evening’s topic. He gives us his on the effects of media on society. He reflects on a scene from “All in the Family” to show how Norman Lear was able to take centuries of social injustice and compress that sentiment into 30 seconds of television. He was able to do this consistently, “show after show, week after week, year after year.” Lear shaped people’s view of the world with his programs and make an everlasting mark on the history of American pop culture.
Don’t miss an the season finale StarTalk, tonight at 11/10c!