5 Stinky Thoughts on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew - Episode 6: "Friends and Family"

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 6, "Family and Friends."

Thought #1: How 'Bout That Jaimee?
Finally. Jaimee came out of her shell, going gangbusters (with a lil bit of gangsta) after spending two-thirds of the series almost completely under the radar. For the most part, the basic premise of the episode (a "Family Weekend" in which the rehabitants's nearest and dearest join in their process of recovery) seemed to trigger Jaimee's dormant case of the "Fuck Its." What started things, though, was Jaimee standing up to Jeff's raging threats to leave rehab. At first I was impressed with Jaimee's capacity for tough love/loving detachment. Her resistance to Jeff's loud manipulations was solid. But then Jaimee started biting back at NurseShelly, offering her own drama-stirring threat to "fuck that bitch up." As things wore on, it became clear: the pressure to perform for her family/friends is possibly Jaimee's biggest trigger to act out, whether through attitude, porn or pot smokage. Ultimately, the exercise that concluded the episode (where the rehabitants had to do "service" - which in celebrity land I guess means "be the server" at an upscale restaurant) gave Jaimee a way out by giving her a specific role to perform for her family. She got into the service and was able to perform a role for her family that was not destructive, but I suspect this set of outbursts just underscores how much Jaimee's challenges come from her set of people, places and things... (Insert requisite Family Matters crack here.) Still, 'twas nice to finally see her near the center of an episode.

Thought #2: Severe Chronic Assholism, Exhibit E.
'Spose the reason Jeff was the only one able to call DaBaldwin out on his assholism is that Jeff's own case of assholism is itself fairly evolved. This episode's manifestation -- like DaBaldwin's final aria -- seemed to be about fix-seeking, using assholism to stage a high drama departure as a means of expediting the asshole's access to the fix of choice. This round of Jeff's bout with his assholic tendencies was less an aria and more a loud pop-rock song, with a chorus/refrain about Jeff not wanting to be a "barking dog" anymore. He first started singing it at full bellow, berating each member of the staff for not getting the memo that Jeff didn't have to go to the dentist. Then, came a extended set of verses singing his threats to leave rehab because he had been cut off of prescription painkillers (which occasioned a series of duets/confrontations with the other rehabitants). All of which required a yet another intervention/coda from DrDrew to talk Jeff off the ledge. All told, this exhibit of Severe Chronic Assholism demonstrated just how exhausting the addict's high drama performances are. When you're causing NurseShelley and DrDrew and Brigitte to burnout? That's a wowza. But, as always, Jeff's still in rehab and it's only a matter of time before his assholism inspires another bravura performance.

Thought #3: Moments of Clarity with NurseShelley.
Between Jaimee's acting out and the extended Jeff-drama, this episode contained a whole array of Moments of Clarity with NurseShelle. The funniest was NurseShelly's reaction when Jeff said, with complete sincerity, "I don't usually go around yelling." NurseShelly's expression? Just priceless. Then, the next morning after Jeff worked over the entire rehab with his threats to leave, NurseShelly's making her wake-up rounds. She pauses, turns to the camera, and wonders, "Hmmm. Let's see. Shall we wake him up? Ehhhhhhhhhh -- I need to pray some more. I'll be right back." Then, we see NurseShelly doing a quick morning meditation before she returns, freshly serene, to greet a newly gentle, humble and courteous Jeff. I love NurseShelly.

Thought #4: What I Didn't Need To See.
Chyna's so not playing this rehab game. And that made for an awkward, and ultimately deeply sad, turn of events for family day. Since Chyna/Joanie refused to invite anyone to be her guest for "Family Weekend," it seems the producers or someone just as clever had the bright idea to invite Barry Williams (of The Brady Bunch) -- who happens to have some undetermined, passing acquaintance with Chyna -- to deliver some tough love. The whole thing just made me sad for Chyna that she's so opted out of the rehab process. But, worse, it makes me sad for me that I had to watch some "Below the D-list" famewhoring as part of the "Family Weekend." Why couldn't they have gotten Joanie's great friend/mentor "Hef"? (Oh, yeah, his reality show is on E!, not vh1). Or if we must suffer additional lame celebrity famewhoring, couldn't it have been -- oh -- Jackie Stallone coming to mend things with Brigitte? Or Jaleel White checking up on Jaimee? But, no, all Joanie (and, by extension, me) got was Barry Williams complaining that Joanie/Chyna ruined one of his Vegas gigs. Not helpful. (And of course, no "What I Didn't Need To See" is complete without at least a quick Vikki Lizzi report: Vikki made one of her, by now, routine appearances: vaguely stoned, desperately interested in preserving her option to drink, not responsible for anything, and ready to make drama. Oh Vikki Vikki Vikki... Sigh.)

Thought #5: Celebrity Rehab's Lessons in Sobriety.
Two visitors to the rehab this week underscored the simple, but easily forgotten, truth that an addict's addiction is actually a relationship, an abusive and controlling relationship that will take precedence over all other relationships in the addict's life. Seeing both Seth's implausibly adorable son as well as Mary's tragically vulnerable mother provides a luminous reminder that addiction destroys the addict's ability to be in relationship with anyone, even those who offer unconditional love. The addict may yet have relationships in their life, but the addict's ability to contribute to those relationships remains conscribed by the addict's primary commitment to their drug of choice. And (re)learning the ability to be in heathful relationship is perhaps the most challenging work of recovery. Watching Seth with his son, seeing Mary with her mother -- luminous glimpses of hope that Mary and Seth might be on their way to recovery. Here's to hope.

But please do "share" your thoughts in comments, beloveds.
SEE ALSO previous "Stinky Thoughts" on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew:
Episode 1 ("Intake")
Episode 2 ("Detox")
Episode 3 ("New Arrival")
Episode 4 ("Sex & Trauma")
Episode 5 ("Family and Friends")
And be sure to tune in next week for every addict's favorite thing: MORE!!!


jakey said...

Barry was actually there to visit Jeff, but then decided to throw in his story about Chyna (as well as remind Brigitte about some strange pool-throwing incident). I agree that the whole thing was out of place; everyone else speaking in front of the group was doing so out of love or concern, and I don't think Greg Brady had either.

I think this was my favorite episode!

criticlasm said...

Y'know....it certainly makes Barry less appealing than anyone in the house. And I'm convinced whatever Chyna was doing was more interesting than his singing.

And b), I think what we're seeing now is actually Jaimee without the pot. And she's probably surprised by it, too, but boy is she willful and irritable, at least to my eyes. IT'll be interesting to see what's going to happen.

And Vikki & Jeff--really tiresome. Honesty is just a perfume to those two.