January 25, 2008

Trainwrecks

Celebrity rehab might not be an oxymoron anymore. I was channel-surfing two weeks ago and stumbled upon my newest guilty pleasure, Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. I watched my first whole episode this evening and saw his tough-talking yet sensible and compassionate ways of dealing with a group of celebrity addicts. I don't know the other people in the group except for Daniel Baldwin, Brigitte Nielsen, Chyna, and Jeff Conaway(so sad to see Grease's Kenickie like this). Assisting Dr. Drew is Shelly, a resident tech at the Pasadena Recovery Center with a take-no-prisoners approach. She is herself a recovering addict. Kudos to these healthcare workers. That's a tough gig.

I know it's reality TV and they always edit the shows for maximum entertainment value. And you wonder how people's behavior get altered by having cameras on them. But this seemed like a truly unscripted, unabashed and unblinking look at their efforts to heal themselves. Like a motorist passing the scene of a car accident, I watched with morbid fascination as Jeff struggled with his detox, listened as group members revealed histories of abuse and cheered as a co-dependent girlfriend got lectured. I never understood addiction but I found myself rooting for these people. I hope they win their battles.

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