For those of you who happen to carry a copy of my column on your person at all times (I know I do – it makes it easier to quote myself), and happen to see me on campus, feel free to shove it down my throat. Yes, this week I will be eating my words.
If you read last week’s column (hi, Mom!), you might remember my assertion that any show with a “VH1” logo on the bottom right corner is complete trash and ought to be deleted from every TiVo in America. I admit I was a bit harsh, and while I stand by my previous statement, I wish to amend it slightly: Reality shows on VH1 are an embarrassment to mankind in general, with the exception of “Celebrity Rehab” with Dr. Drew. On second thought, I wish to amend my previous amendment as follows: The only reality TV show on VH1 (besides marathons of “America’s Next Top Model”) worth watching is “Celebrity Rehab” because it portrays drug addiction and recovery for what it is – a battle very few win, if they even choose to fight it.
In case you didn’t get a chance to watch it last week because you were in a post-new-episode-of-“Grey’s-Anatomy” coma (for which there is no cure), the show takes eight celebrity drug addicts and chronicles their treatment at the Pasadena Recovery Center. Overseen by Dr. Drew Pinsky of “LOVELINE,” the intensive addiction-recovery program strips the glamour from celebrity drug use and attempts to “pull back the curtain and demystify the process” of addiction and recovery.
So, as I sat watching the show and sipping wine (I can stop whenever I want), it occurred to me that this show has more substance (ironically) than most because these public figures are willing to admit they have a problem and then take the necessary steps to recover. At least that’s the idea, anyway.
Of course a show about celebrity addicts just wouldn’t feel right without a sleazy introduction. Every addict arrived to rehab either drunk or strung-out (and for Jeff Conaway, a dangerous combination of both). Nothing says “I’m ready for recovery” like 20 oxycontin and a bottle of Jack Daniels.
On the celebrity roster are a few stars you may remember from “The Surreal Life” (Chyna and Bridgett Nielson), the most dysfunctional Baldwin (Daniel, though Stephen came in at a close second), Kenickie from Grease (Jeff Conaway, or more recently, the crazy guy from “Celebrity Fit Club”), and Mary Carey (though, really, you would only know who she is if you watch lots of porn). This time, celebrity breakdowns will serve a purpose other than to meet the five food or fist fights required for every hour of airtime (actual stipulation of VH1). In this show, no one is exempt from dealing with the consequences of their addictions, and Dr. Drew won’t let them off as easy as they are used to.
If anything, you should watch the show to learn something about human nature – or maybe even yourself. Chances are you have been or will be directly affected by substance abuse. Trust me, one minute of watching Ozzie Jr. (Jeff Conaway) attempt to function even once he’s off the drugs will have you seriously consider deleting your dealer’s number from your phone (who am I kidding, you probably have it memorized). If celebrities aren’t immune from the psychological and physical effects of chronic drug or alcohol abuse, we sure aren’t either (and we don’t even get them for free).
So if you aren’t too busy throwing back doubles, you might consider turning your TV to VH1 at 10 p.m., because this week I love “Celebrity Rehab.”
Allison Baker is an English senior, Mustang Daily columnist and pop-culture enthusiast.