Mario vs. Ken

If you get TV One in your cable line-up, and if Ken Burns's National Parks is simultaneously making you dizzy with all that zooming in and out on old photos and just boring you to tears with the word-per-minute narrative, the soft fiddle music, and all that pious mishmash about nature and democracy....

I heartily recommend the new reality show Mario's Green House, in which actor Mario Van Peebles and his exceptionally photogenic and charming family (five children!) try to go green. It's fast, it's funny, and it's sort of a hipper, white-people-aren't-the-only-greens version of Ed Begley's Living With Ed. Which I actually love also, but while the Van Peebles clan does all the cool green-me-up stuff Ed does, they also talk to Van Jones about green jobs for inner-city teens, and they learn about how the poorest Americans live in the most toxic places and are the ones who need the greening initiatives the most.

Now that's democracy.

Plus Mario's dad, celebrated filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles, goes along on some of the adventures. How entirely not boring is that?

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