2.22.2008

5 Stinky Thoughts on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew - Episode 5: "Retreat"

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 7, "Retreat."

Thought #1: How 'Bout That Chaos?
Just one week after what might have been the most effective episode of the series -- last week's concentrated depiction of the challenges wrought by the "Friends and Family" weekend -- this week's episode, brings things back into the generalized chaos of a reality series trying to cram too much drama into too few episodes. Several notable things happened in this week's ep, each of which -- with a better production company/contract or a longer run -- might have enough to focus an entire episode. There was Ricco's admission to his core addiction: gambling. (Ricco's being a thrill-seeking adrenaline-junkie makes absolute sense. Drugs and alcohol are amplifying/medicating accessories; the grandiosity and "terminally unique" secrecy are self-protective rationalizations. His real high is the "how much can I get away with?", a whole 'nother kind of scary.) Ricco's stuff could have made for a whole episode, as could the idiotic Catalina venture (which, in contrast to the sober living coffee house talent show, was just full of bad behavior). And then there was Jeff's departure, which was nothing interesting in and of itself (everyone had seen it before and was now done with trying to convince him to stay) but which seemed to have interesting consequences in terms of chaos. (Like, for example, the idiocy of the foodfight which occasioned one of the more astonishing visuals from the entire series: An overhead shot of Shifty play-snorting a pile of Cap'n Crunch from the surface of a picnic table emblazoned with a "Celebrity Rehab" tag.) Might have been nice to see how the group dynamic actually recalibrated once the "real addict" in the house left. There was a lot going on in this episode and, unfortunately, we didn't get to see much of it because everything was happening too fast to clear the deck for next week's finale.

Thought #2: Severe Chronic Assholism, Exhibit F.
A few contenders here. Ricco's "Jump Off The Boat & Giggle When Four Law Enforcement Agencies Arrive" schtick. Shifty's "Food fights are fun, fuck the cleanup" nonsense. Utterly typical displays of the addict's basic adolescent immaturity, their thoughtlessly self-serving actions effecting others in ways they neither know nor care about. But I think I must give this week's "Severe Chronic Assholism" nod to Jessica's aggrieved adolescent act that hit full-throttle this week as "what's next" began to loom on the horizon. To be sure, Ricco, Shifty and Jessica were all behaving like immature brats. What distinguished Jessica's actions this week is how much work she did to make sure everything was everyone else's fault. It's a noxious ploy: to manipulate the circumstances so that it's everyone else's fault that that you choose to use. CounselorBob and DrDrew called her on this poop but, amidst the many tangled narrative threads of this episode, Jessica's assholism seemed on near constant display.

Thought #3: Moments of Clarity with NurseShelly.
Alas, overstuffing this episode had the devastating consequence of nearly cutting NurseShelly out entirely. Some of our few glimpses comes during wake up calls. Sad sad sad. Proving one of the simple truths of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew: an episode without NurseShelly is an episode without serenity. Luckily, NurseShelly does show up briefly to give Jeff a little reality check grimace when he confirmed that Vikki would not be adjusting her drug use when Jeff returned home. Thank you, Nurse Shelly. (We also got a cute moment of clarity from NurseIcyHot -- bringing up the rear as he tends to do. As the rehabitants were dancing like crazed "self-willing" monkeys during their food fight, NurseIcyHot noted how much he loved them. I'm sure they love you too, NurseIcyHot, I'm sure they love you too. I just love NurseShelly more.)

Thought #4: What I Didn't Need To See.
Jessica singing. The number at the coffee house was one thing. (Didja happen to notice how much Shifty loved Jessica's song? And what did MaryEllen and Jaimee perform? If they performed monologues from one of their movies and VH1 didn't air their dramatic arts, I'll be really peeved. I mean, they took a curtain call -- what did they perform?) But, no, the most uncomfortable spectacle of the episode was perhaps Jessica singing "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall". In a tiny cabin on the boat to Catalina. To herself in the mirror. I might just have discovered a new feature of my own personal vision of hell. AI also-rans singing campsongs in perpetuity... Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Thought #5: Celebrity Rehab's Lessons in Sobriety.
This episode, at some level, is all about the addict's inclination toward self-sabotage -- how one of the hardest things about sobriety is learning to live a different way without one's drug of choice. Because sobriety (and the emotional clarity it brings) is stark, new, and absolutely terrifying, an addict often lapses to the familiarity of the same old cycle of addictive bullshit. Your life may be a giant swirling pot of suckage, but at least it's YOUR swirling pot of suckage -- a giant swirling pot of suckage you know well. It's sad to watch the rehabitants freak out and make lame, occasionally dangerous, spectacles of themselves but it's par for the course... And it looks like the drama just escalates in preparation for next week's finale (when, it seems, both Dr.Drew and NurseShelley cry -- I can't wait!)

But please share your drama 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 ("Bye Bye Baldwin")
Episode 6 ("Friends and Family")
And be sure to tune in next week for every addict's favorite thing: MORE!!!

5 comments:

Beth said...

I like your stinky thoughts quite a bit, but think your reasoning on one of these this week is a bit stinky! I viewed the group session with Jessica quite differently than you. I don't agree that she was being an ahole and blaming others for what might happen to her at all - who did she blame? Instead she was wildly grasping at straws as to why she couldn't succeed because she wasn't strong enough on her own to do so...which is why Dr. Drew talked specifically about having to prove to her she was indeed tough enough. It was definitely "addict thinking" and a bit of "poor little me" but I don't think it was the blame game at all. Having said that, my vote for the ahole award goes easily to Ricco...not for jumping off the boat but for thinking that was somehow a classier act than the food fight. Evidently messing up the routine of a whole boat crewe and even having Homeland Security getting involved is not on par - to him at least - as thrown tomatoes.

StinkyLulu said...

Beth - Thanks for the comment.

I actually agree on Ricco's being a real contender on this one, especially his foodfight superiority.

But I think I was reacting to Jessica's maneuvers beyond group as well as within it. She just really reminded me of DaBaldwin, so she snuck through the unusually crowded field this week.

jakey said...

I couldn't enjoy this episode at all. The Catalina fiasco was, as you say, chaotic -- and from what I read, Dr. Drew insisted to the producers it would be too much, but they ixnayed it. Your analysis of Ricco the adrenaline junkie is spot on; I definitely feel there's no impulse control there.

I don't know how I'll be able to take Nurse Shelley crying next week! That's right up there with Brigitte and her kids in terms of making me get a little emotional.

Beth said...

See to me Jessica is the complete opposite of Baldwin. The word maneuvers implies a plan - which Baldwin had with his text messages, talk about residual cocaine in fat cells, etc. - but Jessica seems just utterly lost and incapable of planning anything. Also Baldwin was always saying what he thought were the right things to say in rehab, what he thought others wanted to hear - for ex. saying Jeff had jeopardized his sobriety by bringing in cocaine to rehab - whereas Jessica clearly says whatever comes to her head at the moment and holds back nothing - like that she was bummed she didn't sneak in cocaine too! Anyway, still like the blog; we can just agree to disagree as regards Jessica.

MuthuSelvan said...
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