Over the years reality tv has brought us the Kardashians and the Guidos and Guidettes of the Jersey Shore. These shows are all highly successful and entertaining but do they lack a true message. The reality show Living with Ed is not only entertaining but has useful information as well. Living with Ed, which premiered in 2007 on the HGTV but can also be seen on the Planet Green channel. Its a reality show that follows married actors Ed Begley jr and Rachelle Carson. Ed happens to be a avid environmentalist, who actually practices what he preaches. The show focuses on what the couple does around their small home in Studio City, Los Angeles, California, in regards to environmentally friendly lifestyle. This includes Ed peddling a bike to power a toaster to make toast or him scrubbing the numerous solar panels on his roof to increase efficiency. Rachelle on the other hand, although accepting of the lifestyle, at least to a degree, doesn't like everything her husband does. She absolutely hates the red rain barrel Ed sets up while she's out running errands, she even goes to a house showing to inquire about a larger home, even when she knows Ed will never buy a bigger house due to the environmental impacts. Not only do we follow the lives of two actors but we also see how environmental lifestyle is applicable and easy. We even meet some of their other famous neighbors including Bill Nye, you know the science guy, who is also an avid environmentalist and Ed's friendly competition in the neighborhood when it comes to the most efficient and environmentally friendly homes. Most of the show is the back and forth banter between Rachelle, who wants to live like everyone else, and Ed who puts the environment first on majority of issues.
What i found great about this series is the amount of environmentally friendly options people have for their homes that is illustrated in every episode. This includes appropriate landscaping, edible landscape (like i talk about in Grass is always greener: Tips for a more sustainable backyard and life and Victory Gardens we need them!), solar panels, rain barrels, and even solar cookers. They also touch on building materials, like environmentally sustainable counter tops, transportation including hybrid and electric cars. The series is a plethora of information on how to go green in your own home! The other aspect about the series that I found very interesting is their relationship. Rachelle isn't a huge fan of sacrifice compared to Ed, yet she learns and accepts most of what her husband does for the environment. She has learn to live a different way, a more sustainable life and even makes her own environmentally friendly decisions. I thought this relationship was important because it illustrates how like Rachelle the American public can live sustainably without living in the dark ages, like many fear. If Rachelle, a Hollywood actress from the south can do it shouldn't the rest of us at least be able to try a few methods in our own lives?
Other aspects about this series that I really enjoyed came in the packaging of the DVD. Like Ed does with every part of his life, I shouldn't have been surprised that the DVD would come in a post consumer cardboard packaging, which is completely biodegradable, instead of plastic. Also on the DVD, in the extras section, i found it interesting that there's a section that lists all the green products seen in the season. However it doesn't stop there, the DVD instructs you to put the DVD into your computer where it would connect you to special deals on those products. Now the DVD was released a few years ago and I have yet to try it, so I'm not sure if the deals would still apply but its still an awesome idea. In all this is a great environmentally friendly reality show, laid back but with some depth.