This is a response to Reviewing "Down To Earth," with Zac Efron.
"Down to Earth ft. Zac Efron" is a Netflix Original, where hosts Zac Efron and Darin Olien hop from country to country throughout the first season and explore the sustainability measures each country takes, along with their food and other parts of the surrounding culture. In the second season, they stay in Australia due to COVID and adventure into the many different regions and lifestyles that exist throughout the country.
Why Zac Efron?
There are a few reasons why I think Zac Efron does a phenomenal job in this role for the show. First of all, Zac is fully himself. From showing genuine enthusiasm, confusion when he is just confused, and saying "oh man!" when the situation calls for it, he lets the viewers feel like they're right there with him, an Ordinary Joe experiencing these amazing things for the first time. This can be seen even in the first episode, when Zac and co-host Darin are served their meals at an Icelandic restaurant. Darin remains respectful and observes his dish with a blank expression, while Zac, clearly mystified by what is sitting on the plate in front of him, politely shows his hesitancy to eat the food. While it might not be the normal dish for people from the United States, Zac eats the food - because why wouldn't you when in Iceland - and enjoys it with authentic praise for the chef.
Another great reason - Zac is a Hollywood actor. At first, it may not seem like he's the right fit for that very reason. But in reality, if there's anyone who needs to hear the stuff they're talking about in the show - it's the consumers in the United States who keep up with Hollywood and extravagant, heavily-consumer based society. Zac is conversely very light and chatty throughout the show, keeping the mood educational but in the right way so that viewers can acknowledge there is real substance there.
I wondered many times throughout the show how viewers would understand the sustainability concepts and, if they did, if they cared. We live in a world where some people are passionate about this stuff, and others just simply are not. But then again, these issues are time-sensitive and very real problems in our world. Not just in one corner here and there, but everywhere. The mix of culture, food tastings, and carefree adventure, allows for environmental solutions to easily slide in there and show how all of these things are actually connected. Our resources, the same ones we rely on for food and water, are affected by our environmental standards. It shows the inextricable connection between everyday lifestyle and sustainability, no matter where you are in the world. This really lets it hit home that we have to start caring - and acting - towards a more sustainable future.
So is "Down to Earth ft. Zac Efron" down to Earth? I sure think so. Even taking a few big-name celebrities and talking about big topics, the show sets the tone for better and more accessible Earth conversations for all.