Country singer and troubled addict Mindy McCready shot herself this February, becoming the fifth Celebrity Rehab client in the past two years to die. Although addiction and mental illness can be fatal if left untreated, many people are pointing fingers at Dr. Drew Pinsky and Celebrity Rehab. I won’t say he and his show are directly responsible for her or any other death, but their practices are reckless and detrimental to those they are supposedly trying to help, from paying up to a quarter-million dollars to appear on the show to hurting the individuals they’re committed to helping in order to inform the public of the treatment process.
According to Dr. Bob Forrest, this show was originally developed as a means to give the public a realistic look into the treatment experience. He claims that many people have sought help because of the show. True as that may be, it doesn’t excuse the fact that televising rehab sessions is potentially harmful to the recovery process.
After all, who really wants their dirtiest, darkest secrets aired for the nation to see? Especially when someone is at a low and vulnerable spot in his or her life, it seems like an exploitative measure, even if it’s done with the intention of helping another addict or alcoholic. If the benefits the public receives come at the expense of an individual’s potential honesty or wellbeing, then that defeats the entire point of treatment. If the public really wants to know about the treatment process, I’m sure they can find their way onto an easily accessible search engine. Google, anyone?
As if airing people’s dirty laundry across America wasn’t bad enough, producers also began paying struggling celebrities to appear on Celebrity Rehab after the first season. Now, if that’s not a terrible idea, I don’t know what is. These stars were being paid up to $250,000 for a 30-day stint in rehab. Publicity? Check. Money? Check.
These producers and so-called doctors are ignorant if they think that addicts and alcoholics aren’t going to say whatever they think the doctors want to hear—and what the public wants to see—and then spend it on booze, drugs, strippers, and whatever else their vices are. By paying seemingly hopeless addicts to appear on a popular television show, the people behind the scenes not only don’t help the individuals, they also don’t help people who are watching the show and may need guidance.
This brings me to my last point: the entertainment value of this show.
If this show were to be a serious, informative documentary, I could see how it could be helpful to both the star and people watching it. However, it focuses on the melodrama, yelling, rebooting lost pop careers, and messy makeup. Not only that, but it is aired on a channel that is known for its mindless, entertaining shows with very little thought provoking value. As this show revolves around a very serious topic, one that is a life or death situation with many, it has no place on a channel that pokes fun at celebrities’ weights and fashion choices. It is aired in a non-serious manner, and that makes it all the worse.
While it is not possible to blame anyone but their addictions for the deaths of Mindy McCready, Mike Starr, Joey Kovar, Rodney King
, and Jeff Conaway, it is very possible to say that Celebrity Rehab is a show that needs to be cancelled. It doesn’t do its patients any good, and doesn’t provide the public with an accurate portrayal of what treatment is all about. If the public is really interested in what the life of an addict looks like, they should watch a serious show, such as Intervention, or take a walk around their block. I guarantee they’ll run into an addict or alcoholic. Just see if they notice it, even if it’s staring them in the mirror.
Enlow, Courtney. Mindy McCready and the Curse of “Celebrity Rehab:” Blurring the Lines Between TV and Treatment. February 2013. 27 February 2013 <http://www.pajiba.com/celebrities_are_better_than_you/mindy-mccready-and-the-curse-of-celebrity-rehab-blurring-the-lines-between-tv-and-treatment.php>.
Hibberd, James. Mindy McCready marks fifth ‘Celebrity Rehab’ death. 18 February 2013. 27 February 2013 <http://insidetv.ew.com2013/02/18/mccready-celebrity-rehab/>.
Roshan, Maer. Did ‘Celebrity Rehab’ Kill Mindy McCready. 26 February 2013. 27 February 2013 <http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/02/26/>.
Filed under: Addiction, Celebrity News, Substance Abuse · Tags: Addiction, Celebrity Rehab, Dr. Bob Forrest, Dr. Drew Pinsky, Intervention, Jeff Conaway, Joey Kovar, Mike Starr, Mindy McCready, reality tv, Recovery, rehab, Rodney King, Treatment, VH1