Celebrity Rehab

I’m not totally sure if I wrote about this before (and without Google to check, I’m powerless to see), but I’ve been watching Celebrity Rehab on VH1.

Sure, I can say one of the executive producers was best man at my wedding, but that would be a weaselly way of justifying it. I started watching and now I’m hooked on a show about dependence.

Stef originally told me about it and asked me to watch the first episode so we could watch more while she was home (she is home now). Tonight we watched episode two.

The premise is, a bunch of Z-list celebs with substance problems do rehab together under the supervision of America’s favorite physician, Dr. Drew Pinsky – the Dr. Joyce Brothers of the 21st Century.

To quote a friend, “It is like a car wreck. You can’t look away.” That’s a perfect characterization.

Stef says many of the participants have been on MTV/VH1 reality shows before.

There’s Brigitte Nielsen, looking very tired, very old, very spent. She has the largest hands I’ve ever seen on a woman. Mary Carey, porn star/alcoholic is skankier than I would have imagined. Seth “Shifty” Binzer is a tattoo with legs… and a Mohawk.

There are more, including a Baldwin brother (I don’t remember which one), but all the characters fade into the woodwork when compared to Jeff Conaway. He was young and cute on Taxi 25 years ago. That’s his most recent work I remember, though IMDB says there were 50 episodes of Babylon 5.

Even that was off-the-air ten years ago. The last ten years has been less stellar.

I have seen people drunk and stoned. When I was younger, I helped friends down from bad trips (does that language date me? Probably). I’ve never seen anyone close to being as fcuked up as he is. This is not a part time gig. He seemed strung out 24/7.

His tremors and suffering while in detox were disturbing for me to watch. Even seeing him being pushed around, slumped over in a wheelchair was terribly sad. He was obviously suffering… obviously in his own personal hell.

Stef and I watched the show. When it was over, we talked about it.

She looks at TV like this differently than I do. She is a veteran of TV reality. For her, the shock value is gone. Not for me.

I was deeply touched. She was more cavalier.

She didn’t feel sorry for these people because these were choices they made for themselves. More importantly, she didn’t think they were in rehab as much as they were participating in career enhancement!

Wow, that’s an indictment.

I hadn’t thought of that, but she’s most likely right. It puts a despicable edge on the whole thing. Is there nothing in life that’s not commerce?

Her point was, would any of them be in rehab if there wasn’t a camera and MTV?

These are sad people. I’m guessing the show is a hit.

5 thoughts on “Celebrity Rehab”

  1. May I preface this by saying that I HATE reality TV. I figure I already have enough reality in my life every day.

    But similar to you and Celeb. Rehab, I couldn’t turn away from Celeb. Fit Club. “Train Wreck” is how I described it to my friends. Same as a car wreck, I couldn’t turn away. Jeff Conaway was on that one, too, and in the course of their “exercise” they had to row in long sculls (canoes). He actually passed out in a scull – with 3 other people in it – while rowing. The camera shots showed him passed out while still sitting up in the scull, bobbing around on the water, foaming at the mouth. It was truly pathetic.

    And I’m with your wife: They’re on these shows because it’s the only way a camera will be pointed at them now. It really is sad to watch.

    – Laraine

  2. I am extremely skeptical about the entire for-profit addition-alcoholism “rehab” industry. Anyone who actually wants to stop drinking or taking drugs can go to 12 steps meetings that are free. I also find Dr. Drew Pinsky appalling. Are there no medical ethics standards that prevent a doctor from presiding at a freak show under the guise of providing treatment?

  3. WOW – Since I watch so little TV, I had no idea this was out there. I watched some of the clips on the website.

    TAlk about profiting from the misery of your fellow man. What’s next? Filming assisted suicide?

  4. Executive rehab uses a composite of several philosophies and techniques to create a system of drug and alcoholism residential treatment programs that work alongside our structured sober living environments.

    (This entry originally included a link to their site. I’m not sure what to do here. I sense this comment was made because of the entry subject, but without regard to the actual entry itself. If you really want to, you can find this facility. I just don’t want to boost their Google cred by including the URL without knowing more. – Geoff)

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