3.19.2008

5 Stinky Thoughts on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew - Episode 10: "Reunion"

Each week, for the last ten weeks, I have offered a quick recaplet of the latest episode of the VH1 experiment in candid celebreality, Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. It's been quite an adventure, and the fun concludes this week with episode 10, "Reunion."

Thought #1: How 'Bout That Reunion?
In the week that's passed since this reunion show first aired, I've been at a near total loss in terms of how to approach this recaplet. Of course, it's a reunion show, so it's necessarily a different kind of episode with different threads and a different set of concerns. I waffled about whether to go off the "5 Stinky Thoughts" template. I considered doing a "rehabitant roll call" in which I went through each member of the cast and offered my final thoughts. I thought about just writing a little essay about the whole series. I contemplated just doing a collection of quotes and screencaps (where else would I be able to fit my joke about Bob looking a Peanuts character). But, ultimately, I determined to finish out the series as I had engaged it the whole time, 5 Stinky Thoughts at a time. If there's a massive outpouring of interest to do the roll call or the essay or whatever, I might try that, but for now: how 'bout that Reunion? I have to say I'm so glad they did the show, as the accumulation of divergent experiences presented what is, I think, the most realistic portrait of the whole sobriety process as depicted by the series. Sobriety is hard. People make choices. People take risks. People relapse. Sometimes the authorities are involved. None of which is evidence that these are bad people; rather, it's all evidence of how cunning, baffling and powerful addictive and compulsive habits are.

Thought #2: The Exact Opposite of Severe Chronic Assholism.
I just have to give it up for Dr.Drew's formidable hostessing abilities. I'm especially impressed by his stealthy redeployment of the crazy "reunion" subgenre of VH1's "celebreality" toward a vibe of clarity and generosity. Talk about setting the tone, sir. Yes, the whole fandango might have tended toward a "shiny happy people" version of the story. Sure, the "we love you Dr.Drew" montage was a little weird. True, the whole reunion pitched a little bit toward the careful fortification of the "Dr.Drew" brand, with a clear eye toward future seasons of Celebrity Rehab or something similar. All that being said, I remain consistently impressed with Dr.Drew's ability to remain human and humane in the crazy glare of D-List celebrity. And, yes, if he headlines another show, I'll probably be watching.

Thought #3: Moments of Clarity with NurseShelly.
I'm only sorry they didn't craft a special "Moments of Clarity with NurseShelly" Montage for my giddy delight. But 'twas nice to see Ricco and Jaimee acknowledge their "assholic" lapses to NurseShelly. Yet, for much of the 90-minutes, I was concerned that NurseShelly would coast a little below the radar, holding her tongue out of either respect or shyness. But then, about halfway through, our Moment of Clarity with NurseShelly arrived in the form of a gorgeous outburst of tough love for Seth - a beautiful, heartfelt, intense expression of serious, realistic concern. Behold the power of NurseShelly. I love NurseShelly.

Thought #4: What I Didn't Need To See.
In a word: Jeff. With this reunion special, it's official: I am so "over" Jeff. Yeah, he's sick. Yeah, he's smart. Yeah, he's charismatic. Yeah, he's got surgeries. Yeah yeah yeah. But until he actually gets clean, I really just don't want to hear it. (Nor do I need to witness DrDrew's weird little mancrush on that shrieking, loony old coot in the wheelchair.) Obviously, Jeff's got something truly marvelous in the way of empathy and charisma of which I'd love to get to see more. When. He's. Sober. But cripes. I really don't need to spend anymore time with Junkie Jeff or Ikki Vikki (though, together, they're certainly a much more entertaining trainwreck as a team than they are as singular disasters). I maintain a faint glimmer of hope that Jeff will find his way to being clean (and actually crave the opportunity to see him join Celebrity Rehab 2 as a success story or somesuch) but, until that happens, I'm done.

Thought #5: Celebrity Rehab's Lessons in Sobriety.
I have my fingers crossed for all the rehabitants. I want them all to be ok. I do. But I do have my favorites, the ones I'm really pulling for. Like Mary, who I adore. Like Jessica, who I've battled with (in my own imagination) but who I've come to really care about. Like Ricco even, who stands out as the person whose transformation seems most fundamental. But of them all, the person I think about in weird in-between moments of my day? Seth. I am so rooting for Seth "Shifty" Binzer. His revelation of his relapse? The single most genuinely moving moment of the series for me, even more than "Mary does Ballet." And that made me realize how invested I've become in these bozos. I will surely be genuinely sad if/when I hear about their inevitable relapses. But with Seth, I'll likely be pretty devastated. How does that happen? How do we come to care so about people we barely know? I don't know but it's part of how sobriety works and I remain astonished about how effectively this lame reality show has captured some of the core emotional truths of the process. So, Seth, StinkyLulu's pulling for your crazy ass. And same goes for you, Mary Ellen. And Jessica, Ricco and Brigitte. You, too, Jaimee. Same for you, Joanie. And Jeff. And even DaBaldwin. My prayers are there for you all. Sobriety can be a giant pain in the ass, but it's always better than the alternative. Blessings, rehabitants - and, as they say, thanks for sharing and keep coming back.

But please share on your final 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 ("Bye Bye Baldwin")
Episode 6 ("Friends and Family")
Episode 7 ("Retreat")
Episode 8 ("Graduation")
Episode 9 ("Finale")

What was your favorite moment from the Reunion? From the series? And would you watch Celebrity Rehab 2?

6 comments:

criticlasm said...

I was really touched by Seth as well,but also completely surprised about Brigitte. I'm really hoping she'll continue, and I was somewhat suprised that she was the perfect lieutenant. I'm interested in your thoughts on her and Chynna (China? Chyna?).

Also, this episode was much heavier on stressing meetings and steps, which I hadn't heard so much of (if at all) in previous episodes

StinkyLulu said...

I'm a little concerned that Brigitte (who seems prone to losing herself in relationships) has tethered her sobriety to her marriage.

As for Joanie/Chyna, I have no idea -- she's just such a bundle.

And the very early episodes mentioned steps/meetings/sponsors, but they fell away until the finale.

jakey said...

I've read that while they used the 12-Step program, VH1 made sure to never use footage of it (apparently it's against the recovery program's rules to specifically film 12-step treatment or something like that).

The moment that most emotionally resonated with me was from the premiere, when Brigitte Nielsen -- who I'd only previously seen on television in drunken VH1 escapades, such as tripping over furniture, slapping Flava Flav and then, um, doing OTHER things with Flava Flav -- confesses to the camera that her four boys were the first to pick up on her problem, and told her (in perfect Italian) 'Mama, do me a favor ... don't drink because I don't like it when you drink." I think that's when I realized this show wasn't gonna be the typical exploitative VH1 CelebReality.

I was also surprised by how much I found myself rooting for Seth -- anyone who survives being Daniel Baldwin's roommate has my undying respect.

Thanks for doing this project -- I greatly enjoyed your recaps every week, and sadly it took me til about Week #6 to notice that the Stinky Thoughts had the same theme every week!

Rural Juror said...

There was a whole lot of stuff that worried me in that reunion. A lot of "I only drink wine now . . " moments

Beth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beth said...

Agreed. I wish Dr. Drew, Shelly, Bob, or all three (in unison no less!) would have been more adamant about how "just drinking wine" or "not smoking nearly as much now" or "only taking prescribed drugs" equates to still using and being almost back at square one. Failing to do so, at least as edited and aired, may have given the unintended message that moderation works for people struggling with addiction.

Overall, though, I was happy with the reunion (as I was with the whole series) and how representative the various outcomes seemed to be. I found the Jessica footage very sad but also strangely encouraging; it showed that even the worst of situations can lead to an opportunity to turn one's life around and that hope is never completely gone. On that note...I hope she, Seth, and all the others from Celebrity Rehab can "stop doing bad things" and can gain and maintain longterm sobriety. I never thought I would root for some of the people on this show, but I'm rooting for all of them.

ETA: I deleted my last post (same as above!) to add my thanks to lulu for doing these recaps. I have enjoyed reading them all - even when I disagreed with some of the weekly "honors"! - and am glad you kept to the weekly theme for your reunion recap.