Quick take: Rehab With Dr. Drew, "Intake"
"Sometimes I'm like, 'How do I not O.D.?'" - Deanna
Review: Rehab With Dr. Drew, "Intake"
(S0101) There's something strange buried deep within the human psyche. For whatever reason, we have a primal urge to watch other people suffer. From gladiators ripped apart by lions, to the NFL, to movies like Saw and Precious, we seem to get some sort of gratification out of others' pain.
VH1 taps into the main vein of this awful portion of human nature with Rehab With Dr. Drew, a spin-off of sorts of the Celebrity Rehab franchise.
In last night's premiere, "Intake", we meet eight drug addicts on the verge of utter self-destruction. As a last ditch effort at sobriety, these addicts have decided to check themselves into the California Rehab and Detox Center in order to be treated by Dr. Drew and his team.
The first and possibly most heartbreaking patient to check in is Michael, a heroin addict from Boston. The camera crew caught up with Michael the day before he was scheduled to fly out to L.A., just in time to see him released from jail after an arrest for distributing drugs in a school zone. Immediately after his release, Michael is picked up by his mother and aunt, both of whom are horrified when he shoots up in the car to stave off withdrawals. It's a really difficult scene to watch unfold, I nearly had to change the channel.
Once in Pasadena, the patients have a one on one sit down with Dr. Drew to discuss their drug abuse histories. In Michael's case, he tells Drew, "I love the needle." It's not just the heroin he's hooked on, it's the ritual of shooting up as well.
Other patients are Deanna, an opiate addict; Ashleigh, an obnoxious alcoholic who sounds almost proud of her kidney failure and ulcers; and Erica, a 22-year-old former model and current cokehead.
Format-wise, "Intake" was set up like an episode of Intervention. The early portion of each segment featured scenes of each addict indulging in their particular vice, combined with interview scenes describing their childhoods and introductions to drugs. Then, after rock bottom, they are shipped off to rehab amid a sea of tears and promises to get better.
I'm taking a wait and see approach to the remainder of the season, as the best parts of shows about addiction tend to be the parts where the addicts are actively using drugs. With that part removed from the equation, we might be in for a season of little more than eight people screaming at each other around a group-therapy circle while Dr. Drew meekly tries to moderate.