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Bill Nye appears on 'The Today Show' and it's a struggle

Commentary: The Science Guy seems to exasperate Kathy Lee Gifford.

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She's not happy.

Today/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

To many Americans, he's the face of science. Well, the acceptable face.

To a couple of TV stations, however, Bill Nye seems to be trouble.

Recently, the Science Guy appeared on Fox News and the climate changed when he discussed global warming.

On Wednesday, he appeared on NBC's "Today" and seemed to thoroughly exasperate presenter Kathie Lee Gifford.

It was supposed to be a little game to celebrate Earth Day, which falls on Saturday. Real people were asked scientific questions. If they got it wrong, they got a wonderful book. If they got it right, they got a wonderful book and some money.

Nye was there to offer the answers and explain the science. He did, though, stumble into loquaciousness.

This drove Gifford to slump in her chair, raise her eyes to the sky, make faces like an unhappy Lindsay Lohan in "Mean Girls" and generally wonder why this nerd wouldn't just shut up.

Sadly, it happened more than once. Sadly, Nye didn't seem to notice. This tended to distract from the fascinating facts Nye offered up about snowflakes, champagne, raisins and mountains.

It also tended to amuse Gifford's co-presenter Hoda Kotb, who, the second time it happened, doubled over in laughter at Gifford's dramatic depiction of her feelings about Nye.

He seemed oblivious, too wrapped up in the science to appreciate that Gifford -- and, likely, the show's producers -- wanted him to wrap it up.

Nye didn't help himself either. On a question about whether there are any black flowers on Earth (the quiz answer was "no"), he said: "There are a lot of dark flowers, but I guess they're not quite black."

"What do you mean 'you guess'?" said Gifford. "You're Bill Nye the Science Guy."

Nye decided to correct himself and said yes, indeed, there were no black flowers. Then, painfully, he carried on talking.

Gifford cut him off. "No, wait. No time, so sad," she said, with all the sincerity of a politician at a town hall.

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