Cheat-Seeking Missles

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Is America Ready For Uber-Green Ed?

What are the biggest complaints against Christians? In-your-face evangelism and "being told what to do," of course.

So will Ed Begley Jr. do good or harm to environmentalism when the new reality show Living With Ed debuts on HGTV next month? More convicted -- and convicting -- than the most true-believing street preacher, Ed Begley Jr. is the evangelistic high priest of the greenie movement, and he's getting an hour a week to sermonize to us.

LAT reports:
Ed Begley Jr.'s wife, Rachelle Carson, was freezing inside the couple's 1,700-square-foot Home last week. "He's like the Marquis de Sade," she said of her energy efficiency-minded husband, who refused to turn on the natural gas despite plunging temperatures inside the Begleys' Studio City house. "What about the warmth that I'm sending you right now, honey?" Begley asked. Carson smirked, and then embraced her husband.

Welcome to life at the Begleys. Next month, HGTV's new reality show "Living With Ed" (sneak preview, Monday at 1 p.m.) will chronicle Begley's often extreme environmental rules, which sometimes impede his actress wife's desire to live more like her Hollywood peers.

In the pilot episode, for example, Begley times Carson with a stopwatch during what he considers a lengthy hot shower, reprimands her over not recycling properly and lectures her on how to save energy.
Begley brags about his $600 a year electric bill ($100 a year when he was single) -- but how will that play to Americans who can't afford the $100,000 or so it would take to make a home 90% solar like the Begley digs?

And will we respond favorably to scenes of Ed bicycling away on his stationary bike to generate the power to make his breakfast toast?

Will America think it's fine to shivver in the winter and smell like a European in the summer, all in the name of less natural gas burned and shorter showers?

I don't think so. Conservation is a good thing; people shouldn't air condition their homes in the summer to meat-locker temperatures like Barbra Streisand does. But in too heavy a dose, in too preachy a tone, it reminds us too much of Jimmy Carter in his cardigan and Ralph Nader's perennially sour expression.

No, in America "live with less" just doesn't play well. We are a country that loves exploration and innovation. Rather than turn down the juice, we are driven to create the new and improved juice, and to use it for our expansion and comfort.

Begley's fanatical environmentalism, while useful in a "how to save money" tidbit sort of way and no doubt amusing, is antithetical to what made America great -- so hopefully, America will view Living with Ed as a comedy.

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