Thursday, January 27, 2011

Celebrity Relapse with Dr. Drew

I love Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.

I don’t schedule my day around it, but then again, I don’t have to these days.

I can count maybe one or two shows that I ever bothered to set a VCR for-the last one was probably Twin Peaks on the “LP” setting-and it doesn’t seem to be a requirement circa 2011. Most of the television shows today are repeated ad-infinitum.

And with kids, forget about it. Ours rule the television until 8, at which time it’s at least an hour ordeal to round the little shits up and get them pointed towards bedtime.

Adult shows have to wait until at least 9:00, and then it’s a battle for television dominance. This means I head down to my basement and seek entertainment.

If Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew comes on the channel directory, I go “Ooh! Dr. Drew’s on!” because I secretly want to be Dr. Drew in real life and I find his patience with people-some of who are incorrigible-a very admirable attribute.

If you’ve ever watched the show, admit it, there are people on it who you’d like nothing more than to knock a few teeth loose. This season, it was that socialite-I think his name was Jason Davis-a rich nobody who’s claim to fame seems to be nothing more than to be the first one to announce that Lindsey Lohan’s public hair, apparently, matches the curtains.

But the big news, at least for me, was the introduction of Leif Garrett as a cast member.

Perhaps you’ve heard of him. He used to be a pop star.

You think I’m joking, but in all seriousness, my wife had no idea who he even ones. I told her that a year or two before she was born, Leif Garrett was like the Justin Bieber of his day. It put it in perspective for her, but she really had no idea of his impact for millions of American girls who then proceeded to grow older and completely forget about Leif altogether.

Aside from those like my wife who had no inclination about Leif Garrett, he is probably known more for his after career slide into addiction, which seems to pop up in the headlines every other year or so. It seems like the moment the story arc of Garrett’s recovery is planted in the press, along comes another skuzzy mug shot and a sad tale of Leif buying narcotics from a cop. Or him falling asleep on a park bench with a crack pipe in his mouth. Or Garrett doing something equally stupid that you immediately think, “That dude is incredibly fucked up to get busted this much!”

Your predisposed into thinking that every tale-at this point-of Garrett’s recovery will undoubtedly result in a return of addition, and he did not disappoint with this season of Celebrity Rehab. He came into this season in the warm feeling of one final hit of junk, turning into a puking mess of withdrawl, transforming into a tense bundle of “Give me a reason to skip out of rehab!” and then into a smooth talking man of appreciative gestures, vaguely hinting at some mumbled post-treatment care that ultimately never arises.

By the reunion show, months after the show’s original taping, Garrett joins the panel with shades, coat, and a hat-visually demonstrating that he’s obviously hiding something inside. And we all know that secret has something to do with a wagon, and Garrett falling off of it.

You could see he was embarrassed by it. But he was lucid enough to get defensive with Dr. Drew’s careful suggestion that he still has a problem and Bob Forrest’s don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining glances.

You can’t fool Bob. He’s been there before you and probably done a few drive-by’s in the meantime.

In fact, Dr. Drew acknowledged that Leif reminded him of Bob at a younger age-and he hated him during that period. Now he and Bob both know that Garrett still hasn’t figured out what rock bottom is yet, and he may die before he even reaches that point.

Some may call Celebrity Rehab exploitive and others might consider it a bit voyeuristic-the idea that the show is publicizing something that may be better served with a much more private approach.

I think it’s fascinating, and I have yet to find any evidence that Dr. Drew doesn’t have his patient’s best interest at heart. Sure, he likes the notoriety and fame that this show provides him and his bank account, but I don’t believe that he’d like to register some success with his efforts. In most cases, it seems to work-with varying degrees, depending on the personality.

In the case of Leif Garrett, it seems like a failure for now, but you’ve got to admit, it takes some balls to broadcast the shittier moments of his profession-the days where one addict still just doesn’t seem to get it.

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