Trenton-set reality show 'Human Resources' mixes trash with pleasure

The New Jersey-set reality show “Human Resources” can be best described as “The Office” meets “Project Runway” — and with nary a spray tan or leopard print in sight.

Premiering tonight at 10 p.m. on the year-old Pivot network, “Human Resources” chronicles the requisite wacky goings-on at TerraCycle Inc., the Trenton-based company that specializes in turning hard-to-recycle waste into sellable products and yes, occasionally results in snippets of dialogue like this: “Identify the waste streams you’d like to collect in your home.”

The company’s CEO and star Tom Szaky, 32, who founded the company while a Princeton University student is evangelical about eliminating the very concept of garbage, which results in philosophical discourses about, say, the principles behind using plastic cutlery to decorate a mirror.

“This hasn’t become a mirror because of the use of the knives,” Szaky tells designer Tiffany Threadgould in tonight’s premiere. “It’s really a mirror and you glued a bunch of knives on it.” When Threadgould attempts to make her case based on aesthetics — it is a pretty funky mirror — Szaky shoots back: “If we can start having people think that this object could be a knife, but could be this, this and this, that is what suddenly unlocks the magic that there shouldn’t be garbage out there.”

Szaky himself thought TerraCycle would make great television, and worked with a talent agency that eventually hooked him up with Pivot for a 10-episode series (though Szaky would welcome a second season).

Though there are 120 employees at the Trenton office, only a handful are regulars. Of course Szaky, Threadgould and Albe Zakes, the communications and marketing director, are featured, but the rest, Szaky tells The Star-Ledger, are, “honestly, the people I call the back of the classroom, mid-level junior employees who just became breakout stars.”

The earnestness of “Human Resources” is alleviated by a couple of these characters, notably not-quite-ready-for-prime-time graphic designer Dean Innocenzi, whose graffiti provides much of TerraCycle’s decor, and whom, Zakes worries in the pilot, is liable to bust a rhyme in an upcoming business meeting, and Andre Heine, resident number-cruncher whose right-wing politics put him at odds with some of his fellow employees: “They’re always talking about the environment,” he says flatly in one confessional. “I don’t know why. The environment seems fine to me.”

TerraCycle’s social mission and unconventional work atmosphere made it a perfect fit for newbie Pivot (which is currently in 45 million homes but available in our area only via DirectTV, Dish and Verizon Fios). Pivot is targeted to millenials with a mission to inspire social change, says Belisa Balaban, the network’s executive vice president for original programming. And what about the entertainment part of the equation?

“Will we have guilty pleasures?,” she responds. “I’d like all of our programming to pleasure pleasures, pleasure that you don’t have to feel guilty about. We’re not pushing. There’s no finger-wagging. There’s no judgment. We’re trying to put great stories out there and hope that they inspire people to participate in the things that matter to them.”


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Trenton-set reality show 'Human Resources' mixes trash with pleasure
human resources – Yahoo News Search Results
human resources – Yahoo News Search Results


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