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.