Rembert Explains the ’80s: Mr. Wizard (is a Dick)

Welcome back to our series Rembert Explains the ’80s. Every so often, we’ll e-mail 25-year-old Rembert Browne a video from the 1980s that he hasn’t seen. Rembert will write down his thoughts as he’s watching it, then we’ll post those thoughts here. This week’s installment was selected by Hollywood Prospectus editor Mark Lisanti: the Watch Mr. Wizard compilation that’s been tearing the internet a new meme-hole this week. If you have an idea for a future episode of Rembert Explains the ’80s, e-mail us at

0:08 This can’t possibly be the name of the show?


Mr. Wizard: See those two pins, Stacy?
Stacy: Yes.
Wizard: Well, today, I’m going to stick them in you.

Good lord. What is this?

0:16 “Look at all the paper you wasted.”

Cold-blooded. Wait, is this a compilation? Maybe the show is just called Mr. Wizard and these are simply the times he’s behaving like “a dick.” Very clever. This just got fun. What else does he have up his sleeve?

0:25 “That’s enough, because I already see that it’s not random. Why isn’t it random? I thought I told you to write random numbers?” There’s nothing like the moment when a child loses all confidence in his or her abilities. This is an example of that moment. Poor girl.

0:28 “What do you mean, not exactly? Can you see it or can’t you?

Kid, you just got served. If the scale was out of 10, I’d called this a “LEVEL 6 WZRD SERVING.”

0:30 “Well, you’re right, but for the wrong reasons.”

Yeah, pink sweater, hold your head down. Getting things right isn’t always what matters. It’s knowing why you got things right and not simply guessing or getting lucky. I bet this serving never left her, to this day. Also, look at that condescending stance he’s got going on. What a jerk.


Wizard: “Sounds logical, doesn’t it?”
Happy Boy: “Yeah.”
Wizard: “Well, that’s wrong.”
Now Sad Boy: “That’s wrong?”

Wizard just hit him with the okey-doke, luring this kid into thinking he had done something good, and then BOOM, never mind. I love it. That’ll teach him.


Girl: (typing) “M, I, S, S — ”
Wizard: “You don’t have to say anything, the computer is saying them for you.”

Wow, he did not just cover her mouth. Tell me he didn’t. Tell me I’m just seeing things. I don’t even know how to properly quantify this dis, because on the 10 scale, this is a LEVEL 92 WZRD SERVING. Holy moly.

1:00 Girl: “You’re seeing a beam of light.”

Wizard: “No, you’re seeing little pieces of dust.”

Ha, she was trying to be all fancy and outscience the science wizard. She didn’t want to be called dumb like all the other kids, so she went with “beam of light,” knowing that it was just dust. And due to her risky move, Wizard made her feel doubly dumb. Poor thing.

1:07 “Haven’t you ever seen a sliced banana before?”

I don’t even know who he’s talking to, but know he thinks you’re an idiot.

1:10 “You can’t blow up a baby’s nursing nipple?”

Fighting words, Wizard. If anyone ever says this to me, my fists are going to have a busy day. Utter disrespect.


Wizard: “Yeah, well, you have one of those inside your brain?”
Hopeful boy: “I do.”
Wizard: “Yeah, it’s called a brain.”

But here’s the thing: I don’t think Wizard thinks this kid has a brain. You know, because he thinks he’s so stupid.

1:20 “Come on, no confidence in the science at all.”

Boy: “But it might come back and hit my face.”

I guarantee if we saw the next scene of this clip, the can filled with rocks comes back and hits this kid in the face. Oh, and if we saw the scene after that, it’d be the kid on the ground crying and Wizard laughing, pulling out his iPhone4, and putting five pictures on Instagram with the caption “Science 1, Dumb Children 0.”

1:23 “You don’t seem to have a great deal of confidence.”

This undoubtedly screwed her up for life. No question.


Girl: “Ouch.”
Wizard: “Hot wax drop on your finger?”
Gir: “Yeah.”
Wizard: “Well, hold it straight up and it won’t do that.”

She thought she was going to get an “are you OK?” from Wizard. HA. You child, this is Wizard we’re talking about.


Wizard: “Get up.”
Wizard: “Get up.”
Girl: “I can’t get up.”
Wizard: “Yeah.”

That’s what you get for dressing like a bottle of French’s. He’s punishing you, you living, breathing bottle of mustard.


Wizard (after hanging his green piece above her purple piece): “And I must say, it doesn’t look any better than mine.”

OK, once again, if the scale is 10, this is a LEVEL 800 WZRD SERVING. There’s no way this girl ever did art again. Wizard went out of his way to ruin this girl’s life, and guess what: He succeeded.

2:01 “Wait till I’m through with you. You’ll be sorry you said what you said.”

I’m pretty sure this is a threat on this kid’s life.


Happy Little Girl: “I’ve never heard of food going up.”
Wizard “Well, yours is going to in just a moment.”

It’s a shame that she’s too young to realize Wizard just hinted at the fact that he’s going to make her vomit, probably by way of waterboarding. She thinks it’s all fun and games and science, but in reality Wizard wants to make her life a living hell.

Wizard: “But instead of putting paper clips on here, we’re going to put Ashley.”
Sassy Boy:WHAT?

Known throughout the land as the first kid to ever question Wizard’s authority, I can’t imagine he lived to see the airing of this episode. There’s no way Wizard let a kid with such gall and sass come on his show and attempt to put himself in the position of power, and then just walk off set and get back to his normal life. I wish that was the world we lived in, but I know it’s not. This kid is definitely serving a life sentence for a crime he didn’t commit. What was the crime? Unclear, but I’m sure it was one that Wizard committed. Without a doubt.


He’s loving this.


Why wouldn’t Wizard hop in his car and leave this kid in a field? This seems right up his alley. Where’s he headed? Probably to a dive bar three towns over to drink Michelob Ultras until it’s time to go to work the following day.

I always thought I had it good with Beakman’s World and Bill Nye, the Science Guy and The Magic School Bus when it came to science and entertainment. I was wrong. The children of the ’80s had Mr. Wizard, the rudest man on earth. Sure, it’s a crapshoot as to whether his tough-love approach to science would have driven me to a career at NASA or preteen alcoholism, but those have to be chances you’re willing to take when it comes to your future.

Filed Under: Rembert Explains, Science

Rembert Browne is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ rembert