Alter Eco

Alter Eco
As a child, Adrian Grenier's mother used to tell him to clean his room, which then became the house, then town and then the world. This clever little anecdote is what opens all 13-episodes of Alter Eco, a particularly bland and unintentionally amusing reality television show about the building of Grenier's stylish and sustainable little abode. In between various granola renovations and enviro-conscious building decisions, the gang, including supermodel Angela Lindvall, peppy green activist Boise Thomas and construction tool with a gym membership Darren Moore, take on side-projects. For example, they greenify one of Angela's Vogue fashion shoots by using sustainable fabrics and natural make-up, they dumpster-dive and help teens sell aluminium water bottles, and they find mobile organic food vans to feed graphic artists. It's all extremely pretentious and laboured but at least it keeps these sorts of folks doing something constructive, as opposed to standing around art galleries talking about how "audacious" everything is. On occasion, it proves quite amusing, with episodes such as the one where the team make a trek out to an organic farm run by a man who appears to be saving the planet by avoiding showers and personal hygiene products, and the one where they enjoy a big earthy feast in an orange grove, with plates they brought from home, while a woman plays the cello. If they hadn't cut away, there almost certainly would have been some discussion about the wine vintage and discrepancies with requisite glass swirling for texture analysis. Also amusing is Mr. Grenier, who sadly only appears in the first and last episodes. It's fantastic that he's green conscious and out to make the world a better place but the whole, "Wow, I've never been to this part of the set before; it really makes you think about your, like, environment, you know?" is a little embarrassing and calculated. No special features are included with the recyclable box set, but we get the pleasure of seeing L.A. types try to convert the masses like crazed religious fanatics. (GAIAM)