10.24.2008

5 Stinky Thoughts on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew 2 - Episode 1: "Premiere"

Each week I offer a quick recaplet on the latest episode of the second season of VH1's ongoing experiment in candid celebreality, Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew 2. The fun commences this week with Episode 1: "Premiere."

Thought #1: How 'Bout Those Rehabitants?
Goodness. Gracious. What a batch, eh? And, again, who are these people? Though I feel like I've heard the name Tawny Kitaen forever without ever really knowing what she did to become nominally famous, and though I've long known Gary Busey as one of those actors who supposedly used to be good before he went cuckoo, and though Rodney King likely has the greatest name recognition of all them all, I'm once again struck by how this batch of rehabitants stretches the limits of the very term "celebrity." The Guns'n'Roses guy? That model Amber? And Rod Stewart's kid? (To be fair, I have seen Sean Stewart before but only because of some other weird reality televidiocy thing a year or so back.) And of course, an American Idol also-ran. At this point, Jeff Conaway's Vikki -- aaaaaaack -- is entering the same dimensions of fame as some of these folk. Aside from basic name/face recognition though, I am once again struck by the gruesomeness of the current state of affairs for each of these folks. And while I miss the over-the-top theatricality of Mary Carey's intake last year (not to mention Chyna's hilarious commentary in that first episode), and I'm certainly not looking forward to Jeff's erratic swings between charisma and cruelty, I'm just trusting that I'll warm up to these folks. Already, I'm totally pulling for Nikki and Amber and was surprised to find Tawny to be basically human. I'm flummoxed by the drummer guy, and Sean Stewart seems like a big, mean baby. Jeff is Jeff, and Grandiose Gary seems like he's back on an earthly rotation after a failed bid to be the new cryptkeeper. Yet among them all, I found myself most moved by Rodney, a brittle spectre of a man hovering at the edges of this strange spectacle. This first episode was punctuated by glimpses of Rodney checking out these new digs -- taking a dip in the pool, toying with the equipment in the game room -- quiet gestures underscoring that Rodney, perhaps singly among these rehabitants, has the least experience with the trappings of fame even as he's certainly the most widely "known" among them. His presence offers a potentially fascinating new dimension to this year's series and I'm already fascinated.

Thought #2: Severe Chronic Assholism, Exhibit 2A.
Oh, goodness. So many contenders for this week's title. (For those just tuning in, "Severe Chronic Assholism" is the phrase I use to describe the behavior that emerges when folks rely upon drug-seeking emotional tricks -- bullying, manipulation, aggrievement, righteousness, victimhood, rationalization, emotionalism -- to clear people out of their way so that they can go ahead and do whatever the hell they want.) This week, it might seem that this year's DaBaldwin (Gary Busey) would be the obvious contender. But even as Busey obnoxiously endeavored to become most profoundly irritating person to ever possess my poor teevee, I found one other rehabitant's behaviors more subtly appalling. I am, of course, talking about Sean Stewart, the bratty son of singer Rod Stewart. Why, you ask? Well, it was his dumb, middle-school level, prankster sensibility: assessing his fellow rehabitant's drug history and celebrating it with a "Nice!" or a "Sweet!"; hitting on Amber while telling her he had piss all over his arm (not because he's detoxing, mostly because he's gross); amusing himself by deliberately confusing the already brain-smushed Steven Adler with vaguely racist red herrings about "who" Rodney King actually is. I don't know. Gary Busey is the kind of chronic asshole whose own actions work as a giant flashing sign (Danger! Stay away!) where Sean Stewart seems like a stealthier sort of saboteur, the kind of kid who would feed piles of drugs to a dog, only to giggle wildly as it toxed out, and then profess sweet-faced innocence when confronted after the dog died. Busey may freak me out, but Sean Stewart scares me a little more.

Thought #3: Moments of Clarity with NurseShelly.
Ahhh, Nurse Shelly (well, really, Rehab Tech Shelly, but you know what I mean). I think what I love about Nurse Shelly -- well, that's not right -- one of the many things I love about Nurse Shelly, which I really realized during this episode, is that she's my interpersonal relationship superhero. I watch her and learn little life lessons about how I might better deal with those wackadoos that sometimes cross my path. She ain't perfect and she's doing her job, not necessarily being in relationship with this folks, but I so adore how she does what she does -- bringing a little bit of tough love, a lot of good orderly direction, and a generous dollop emotional presentness to her work with the rehabitants. This week, when confronted with Grandiose Busey (maybe I should just rename him Grandy Busey), when faced with Busey's bald defiance and blatant attempts at intimidation, Shelly didn't back down even when "dismissed" by the crazyman. She was able to do this even though (as we learned in a subsequent interview) Grandy Busey was tapping some of her most vulnerable buttons. We all likely need a role model for how to deal honestly with the difficult, damaged people in or passing through our lives and, with this episode, I guess I realized that's why I so treasure Nurse Shelly. She's my "how to deal with crazy people" role model. I love Nurse Shelly.

Thought #4: What I Didn't Need To See.
Surprise, surprise. What I didn't need to see this week would be the latest installment of the neverending story of the viciously enmeshed enablers, Jeff & Vikki. (Why -- I must ask -- is Vikki wearing a shirt adorned with the word "caca" over her bazooms? An apt enough advertisement I suppose, but why label yourself so?) I swear, these two seem to be really working hard to convince the VH1 folks that they deserve their own spinoff series. I remain fascinated, though only to an extent, by Vikki's seemingly constant, high-drama, bad-actress performance in some imagined movie of her life. In every moment, it seems Vikki's gunning for that Razzie nomination. And, here, adding mom and brother in the mix (was it the editing or was it just me but did anyone else see Vikki's mom give Vikki a camera-ready comfort kiss in exactly the same way on two separate occasions) -- just wow. And, I swear, I don't dislike Vikki exactly, but that moment when she seemed a little uncertain about going to the "other wing" of the Pasadena Recovery Center (that would be the wing without Jeff and/or the VH1 cameras)? That moment when she paused her whole tearful plea for rehab? I wasn't sure whether she was balking at doing rehab without Jeff OR whether she didn't want to do rehab unless she was going to be on camera. Either way - ew.

Thought #5: Celebrity Rehab 2's Lessons in Sobriety.
My heart went out to Tawny when, unknowingly, she approached Grandy Busey to make "getting to you know you" chatter and suddenly got caught in the crossfire of his crazy. Then, when she graciously extricated herself from the Busey-wreck, and tentatively approached Rodney, he scurried past her in some cracky search for some water. She then turned and, to the camera, observed with a sweet awkwardness: "This is going to be tough." Indeed, it is, sister -- indeed, it is, and this first episode is only ever a mere hint of all that's to come. So, off we go, lovelies, into the delicious crazy town that is Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew 2... SO glad to have you all aboard.

And please do share your first impressions in comments, beloveds.
Perhaps one of you can clue me in as to what the HELL was in the Busey's suitcase?
Did he just rob a laundromat? Did he use those highlighters to stick people up?
And why didn't he do his laundry while he was there?
OH! - and WHAT did you think of Amber's mom?
I certainly hope hope hope we get much more of her...
And were there always so many pussycats hanging around the PRC?
I love how they're now the face of silent judgement on the show...

And, yes, be sure to tune in next week for every addict's favorite thing: MORE!!!

2 comments:

ezpkns said...

Shelly's my wife, and stinkylulu is the only CR coverage I let her read (well, regularly).

You're consistently funny and insightful, but more importantly you're never mean to her. She's sensitive, you know...

stiggy said...

i felt sorry for rodney king the first episode. he's like a fish out of water. he's alone most of the time. others dont seek him out. he is obsequious .he seems to be a shy man, not overly intelligent. dr. drew talked to hime once and thats it. rodney doesnt make for good tv.
basically i think rodney dod ot because he's broke..(where oh wheref did that settlement money go)_
you rock lulu