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The Genius of Celebrity Rehab

It's quite possible that the second season of Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew is the greatest thing ever aired on television in all of human history. Let's run down the patients.

1. Gary Busey. Dr. Gary, as his castmates have taken to derisively calling him, is under the illusion that he is here as a "participant, not an addict," meaning that he thinks he's a counselor, not a patient. Not only is he a patient, he's a whack job - Jeff Conaway times ten. Watch him play alpha male politics with the guys and creep out the women. His Buseyisms (first spun on I'm With Busey) are actually pretty good, but bear in mind that he has "angelic interventions."

2. Jeff Conaway. Back for a return engagement and, really, not that funny anymore. Not that he was someone to laugh at, but he was at times a figure of comic relief in the first season, even as he was tragic. Now he's just grating and, at times, obviously mugging for the camera. "911!' he'll yell when he claims he's being held against his will. His girlfriend is even more aggravating, and it turns out that whatever degree of gold-digging she is up to is transcended by her own demons.

3. Steven Adler. The original drummer of Guns 'n' Roses whom the band fired for being such a drug-addled fuck-up. "I just want my friend back" he wails in the opener, looking at a photo of him and Slash. Adler is far, far gone and makes a life-saving visit to the emergency room before we even get started at the Pasadena Recovery Center, but a couple episodes in and he seems to be not only cleaning up nicely but surprisingly cooperative, humorous and insightful.

4. Tawny Kitaen. When you are famous for being the vixen in a Whitesnake video and the chick who brawled with your major league baseball player husband, well, you are either bound for glory or bound for The Surreal Life. Instead, Kitaen ended up here.

5. Rodney King. Yes, that Rodney King, though early on the rest of the cast can't seem to figure out who he is. King may be the single most compelling figure to appear on the show in that there is not a single thing about him that his clownish. The big surprise is that he hasn't really processed what happened to him that day at the hands of L.A.'s finest. He also seems isolated from the rest of the cast, at least so far in the early episodes. To watch him talking one-on-one with Dr. Drew is not only moving and emotionally exhausting, but a piece of our history.

A loyal Beachwood reader sends this haiku about Rodney:

he breaks my heart in
to a thousand sad pieces
rodney all alone

6. Sean Stewart. Perhaps the most unsympathetic cast member yet. Sean is the son of Rod Stewart. He's been in and out of rehab, and once "starred" with Randy Spelling and Dave Weintraub in the reality show Sons of Hollywood, which is not to be confused with The Princes of Malibu, which starred Brandon and Brody Jenner, along with "sidekick" Spencer Pratt, of the Laguna Beach spinoff The Hills, where Brody also occasionally appears. At some point I'd really like to see Rodney King pummel each and every one of these noxious, corrosive, morally decayed superbrats into mincemeat, but Rodney is too much of a gentle angel to do that.

7. Nikki McKibbin. Nikki is an American Idol survivor who, incredibly, blames Simon Cowell for her problems.

8. Amber Smith. Amber is apparently a model. She went through opiate withdrawal in episode two.

And, of course, there is the staff. How can you not love Shelley Sprague? She has to learn how to assert authority, though. This season Dr. Drew brought in Luisha to be the bad cop. And Bob Forrest, well, is the hair beneath that hat real?

Finally, there's Dr. Drew. He rules. And if you pay attention to this show, you will learn a lot about addiction and psychology. In the end, it's not exploitive and it doesn't make a joke of these people and their problems; it's enlightening, even if Busey is riveting because he's such a mess. The B-, C-, and D-List celebrities bring you to the party, but the pain and drama of addiction keep you there. And that, along with the steady leadership of Dr. Drew, is what makes the show not only succeed, but succeed brilliantly.


See also:
* Celebrity Rehab Reunion


Posted on November 11, 2008

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BOOKS - All About Poop.


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