Each week I offer a quick recaplet on the latest episode of the new VH1 experiment in candid celebreality, Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. The fun continues this week with episode 5, "Bye Bye Baldwin."
Thought #1: How 'Bout That Mary Ellen?
'Twas an episode loaded with indications that some of the Rehabitants are actually digging into some real issues, what with some long-awaited cracks of insight peeking through Joanie's glib shell of denial, and with Jeff coming to strength and consciousness in all kinds of ways, and with Seth seeming to tap into some genuinely deep clarity about the high stakes of his recovery. Indeed, the actual work of recovery just piled into this episode. But, for StinkyLulu, 'twas the many facets of Mary that proved most moving. First, when the sick dynamic between her and Da Departed Baldwin came to light, the subsequent pile-on of recrimination, judgment and blame was amazing to watch. In attacking DaBaldwin, Brigitte, Jessica and Jaimee inadvertently took away Mary's agency, effect ively molding her as victim. Then, Ricco and Joanie turned it on Mary, demanding that she take responsibility for her role in the dynamic, efffectively blaming Mary as a not so innocent victim. All of which forced Mary into a peculiar position of powerlessness as, all around her, from every side it seemed, folks decided her experience for her. In sum, the whole drama provided a heartbreaking glimpse of what Mary's up against, the incredible level of projection that happens upon her... I'm so glad the show seems to committed to helping her tune into her own sense of self, separate from other's demands and expectations. Like NurseShelly, I too was so glad to see the amazing Sharon Mitchell (astonishingly preserved though she was) brought in as a resource for Mary. And even more, that ballet class? With that teacher giving Mary kind permission to be a ballet dancer again and always? Made me puddle up a little. (But so did Seth's conversation with his son, so I may just be hormonal.)
Thought #2: Severe Chronic Assholism, Exhibit D.
With DaBaldwin gone, it might seem that the evidence of Severe Chronic Assholism might be a little less prominent in this episode. But noooooooooooo. On the one hand, we got to see the collateral damage of DaBaldwin's Big Assholism. Even long gone from rehab, DaBaldwin was somehow able to do what he had done the whole time he was a rehabitant: stir the shit so he could be the center of attention. Moreover, the residuum of DaBaldwin's Assholism seem to get all sticky on the other rehabitants, as though just talking about Daniel's Assholism brought out their own (like Brigitte hollering to Mary that she should spit on Daniel, or Ricco taking DaBaldwin's side out of a default masculine allegiance). (And I'm not even going to get into Vikki's bringing a vodka water bottle into the facility and then claiming that it was all Jeff's fault that she did.)
Thought #3: Moments of Clarity with NurseShelly.
Again, NurseShelly was a less featured player in this week's madcap episode. Alas. But, thankfully, the editors knew we'd be needing at least a little of Shelly's toughtalking verve. And so this week our "Moment of Clarity with NurseShelly" came in the first minutes of the episode when all the rehabitants were suffering their Drama Hangovers due to DaBaldwin's late night departure just hours earlier. Shelly's utterly nonplussed. Shifty's all, "That was a lot of drama" and Shelly's all, "Well. Don't participate. Just go, 'All right, dude, stay or don't stay. Go...make a decision." I love Shelly... I want her to have her own show, or online advice column, or tell-all memoir, or something. I love NurseShelly.
Thought #4: What I Didn't Need To See.
That crazy puppy pile in Brigitte and Joanie's bed (!) was a touch odd. It began with Brigitte doing her best "Detoxing Jeff" impression, proving that she's a better actress -- or at least mimic -- than I might have expected. Then, as if magnetically drawn by the mere mention of his name, Jeff arrives to the room and squishes in between the two amazons, his jellybelly bubbling forth from beneath his t-shirt. Then, somehow, Jessica's piling on. Followed by Seth. And, finally, Mary -- wearing only a towel (!) -- crawls on as well. Luckily, Mary's efforts cause her to release a giant shuddering fart, which results in peals of laughter from the puppy pile participants and which provides an apt segue out of the whole untidy spectacle. I now think of Mary's recurring flatulence as the voice of her guardian angel ("Remember Dr. Drew's lesson in Body Boundaries, Rehabitants!"). But even with a farting, flabby puppy pile in the ep, what would a "What I Didn't Need To See" entry be without an appearance by Vikki Lizzi, our recurrent sobriety saboteur. It remains simply appalling to me that Miss Vikki brought a bottle of water full of alcohol (I guess that's a new variety, "Vitamin Vodka Water"?) and then blames Jeff for being the reason she had to drink that day. I'm surprised, but newly galled, by Vikki's selfishness. (An email I received last week indicated that Vikki and Jeff are back/still together and very happy, which makes me anxious on a whole 'nother level.) But since next week looks like family week, I s'pose I'll hold on to my Vikki-inspired judgment, blame and recrimination until then and, in the meantime, try to hold onto this week's lesson in sobriety courtesy of Celebrity Rehab.
Thought #5: Celebrity Rehab's Lessons in Sobriety.
The basic lesson of this episode is: "Don't participate in someone else's addictive drama." That's their shit, not yours. But you can make it yours at any time, which only means that you have more shit to clean up. It's a hard hard hard lesson to learn, let alone put into practice. Sharing is a good thing, 'cept when it comes to other people's shit.