Monday, January 3, 2011

Reality shows: drug rehab

I have no idea who this woman is.
I did a Google Image search for
Frankie Lons, and while this sort of looks like the
woman on Celebrity Rehab,
how would I know if it wasn't?
There's an article in the LA Times about Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew on VH1, and Intervention, on A&E (click on the title of today's post and you'll go to the article). It's not a great article (What! the LA Times wrote a superficial article?), but it reminded me that I've been annoyed by these shows a lot lately. Not so much Intervention; my only complaint with that show is that I'm usually watching the last three minutes wondering how they're going to fit everything in (and yet they always do). I have no business commenting on addiction or recovery, but I watched "Celebrity Rehab" this weekend, and saw an interaction between Shelly Sprague, one of the people on staff at the recovery center, and one of the so-called celebrities that really bugged me.

The "celebrity" in question was Frankie Lons, who is always referred to as the mother of somebody apparently more famous than she is (but I've never heard of either of them). The celebrities were having lunch at Tender Greens with Bob Forrest and Shelly in Hollywood, where they had been taken, apparently in an attempt to intermingle with real-world temptations (not at Tender Greens; I'm talking about being in Hollywood. I recently went to Tender Greens in Culver City and I think I fell in love. I'm ready to go back. So for me, showing the celebrities at Tender Greens was a trigger. Oh, those tricksy rehab people!). One of the actual celebrities, Leif Garrett, did have the reaction I think Bob was expecting, and he tried to, I don't know, order a beer or walk out. That was sort of underplayed so that the following could be focused on:

While they were eating lunch, Frankie wanted to know why she couldn't have a non-alcholic beer, and instead of answering the question, Shelly got confrontational with her and responded "That's a question only an addict would ask."

Maybe so, Shelly, but why don't you also explain it to her instead of just being sarcastic and dismissive? Maybe Frankie doesn't understand that there actually is alcohol in so-called "near-beer"? Maybe she still doesn't understand her addiction or what her reaction to near-beer would be? Maybe there's a better answer, like explaining why it's a bad idea or why you think that's a straight up dumb question? I don't know if there was a deeper conversation off-camera, but what was shown was antagonistic instead of helpful.

The show has been getting on my nerves not only because I think the experts are terrible listeners or because I question the celebrity status of people like Frankie Lons or Rachel Uchitel (or Jason Davis, or that guy who was on TV a long time ago, or that other guy named Jason), but because I wonder how much help these people are actually getting, which makes the whole thing feel like a waste of time. Seeing the story of that guy Jason Davis isn't helping anybody, and neither is Rachel Uchitel, who suffers from "love addiction" (also, apparently she has a degree in psychology, which proves a point I'm not going to make right now). These are just people who want to be on television. I truly believe that.

Drew has been annoying me for years on Loveline, where he's often super impatient to the slow-ass kids who call in (it's true that some of those kids need help forming a sentence, but Drew's on-air persona has become cranky and mean; his own perceived "celebrity-dom" seems to affect his ability to actually talk to people in a non-condescending manner). He brings some of that confrontational style to this show, and while I think these adults should be able to handle it, so many of them are stunted and helpless in a way that's sad and a little disgusting that I think his attempts to get smart with them backfire because they're too stupid to get it.

So there you go. Rather than attempting to write a closing paragraph that's clever and insightful, I'm just going to end this post abruptly and by calling the hapless celebrities on "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew" stupid. I feel great about that decision.


  1. I think Shelly is unraveling this season. She had a mini-breakdown on one of the episodes, plus he looks super unhealthy. Just my opinion.

  2. She's seems very fragile to me at times; could be she's overworked, what with her and Bob's new facility? I usually like Shelly, so am surprised when she comes off as unprofessional.