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Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew - It's Bad, But It Could Have Been Worse

posted 10:41 AM EST, Sun January 13, 2008
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Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew - It's Bad, But It Could Have Been Worse © Dr. Drew Pinsky - © Glenn Harris / Photorazzi

VH1’s Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew has finally aired. The reviews are mixed – but it's not as bad as had been anticipated by many.

While in reality TV we expect somewhat to gloat at the misfortune, stupidity and discomfort of others, doing so at the expense of someone obviously crippled by addiction seems in poor and unsavory taste, and it has been in anticipation of such exploitation that critics have panned the show; even before it's premiere.

Celebrity Rehab has revealed itself a slightly different beast than what was expected.

The "stars" none truly household name celebrities, appear motivated for some very diverse reasons, and while some seem to have little interest in anything other than another 15 seconds of fame, anyone hearing the tortuous howls of former Taxi star Jeff Conway would be hard pressed to decry the show a publicity stunt in its entirety – the man looks terrible, and feels, it seems, worse.

Dr Drew Pinsky comes across as a very credible clinician, and he provides the show some much needed legitimacy as he begins the therapeutic work of addiction counseling, on air. Yet although to the layman he seems an impressive counselor, clinicians in the industry are less sold on such a public expose.

John Kelly (Center for Addiction Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital) wonders publicly at the dynamics created by filming a session of therapy, explaining that the presence of cameras change the behaviors of patients in the room, and in therapy. Since therapy needs to be an honest and admissive process, anytime patients try to portray an image, they inhibit the therapeutic process. Style rules substance in fickle Hollywood, but you can’t fool yourself, and in therapy any dishonesty makes it all pretty worthless.

Additionally, experts question including two patients, Nielsen and Laurer, who have a past history of binge drinking together, in the same treatment therapy group.

Celebrity Rehab is in poor taste, it doesn't seem likely to offer much therapeutic benefit to its "celebrity patients" and it is only marginally entertaining. Even still, it's not as bad as it could have been.

The cast (patients) of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, include - Brigitte Nielsen, Joanie “Chyna” Laurer, Jeff Conaway, Daniel Baldwin, Mary Carey, Jessica Sierra, Jaimee Foxworth and Seth “Shifty” Binzer.

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