Is "Celebrity Rehab" Exploitative Or An Eye-Opening Look Into The World Of Drug Addiction?
My name is Carter Todd, and I am addicted to Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew.
I'm glad I got that off my chest.
I swore I was going to kick the habit after watching the show's stressful first season, which found Jeff Conaway, Brigitte Nielsen, Mary Carey and other celebrities struggling to beat their respective drug addictions. I actually felt sick watching these people go through withdrawal. Still, I couldn't resist tuning into last night's season two premiere on VH1 last night, and I quickly got hooked on the new cast.
Sadly, Jeff Conaway is back, illustrating how hard it is to just say no to drugs once you've just said yes to drugs.
While it was depressing to see Jeff Conaway, whom I kept trying to picture in his glory days as Grease's Kenickie, return to Celebrity Rehab looking worse than ever, I was stunned at Gary Busey's condition. He was manic and controlling, insisting he wasn't a patient in the program but a "participant" and trying to serve as a mentor to the other addicts, greatly annoying some of them.
I can't believe the same guy who was so amazing in The Buddy Holly Story was telling a group of addicts the story of how he once snorted coke off of his dog's body.
That poor dog!
I was also surprised to see the state former American Idol contestant Nikki McKibbin was in and to hear about the physical and sexual abuse she endured growing up, and my heart broke for model Amber Smith when she talked about how her mother did drugs with her.
I felt sick for Rodney King, an alcoholic, who, as Dr. Drew points out, clearly hasn't even begun to deal with the emotional pain he suffered when he was famously beaten by the L.A. cops back in 1991.
This is terrible to say, but I didn't have much sympathy for Rod Stewart's son Sean Stewart, who comes off as an attention-seeking Hollywood brat who is more interested in being on a reality show than getting off drugs. But maybe I'll change my mind about him as the show progresses.
By the way, I don't know how Dr. Drew holds onto his sanity when dealing with these addicts. Actually, as we saw in the preview clips shown at the end of the show, it looks like he loses it at one point. Truly, though, anyone who works with addicts on a day-to-day basis impresses me because I know I couldn't handle the stress.
So what did you think of last night's show? While some critics have written off Celebrity Rehab as exploitative, do you think the show has something valuable to offer both its subjects and the audience?
I have to admit that I initially tuned in to the first season of Celebrity Rehab out of lurid fascination. I wanted to gawk at people I uniformly wrote off as spoiled, weak-willed addicts. But when I heard their life stories, I found myself understanding how they spiraled out of control, and I was rooting for them to recover.
This season, I am rooting for Jeff Conaway in particular, although I worry he is too far gone.
Dr. Drew explains the challenges of each of his patients in this clip:
(Images courtesy of VH1, Getty)