TV Addicted to Intervention
posted by March 17 at 12:13 PMon
I know I’m not the only one who loves A&E’s is-it-art-or-is-it-entertainment documentary series tracking addicts through the depths of their addiction-fueled degradation before dousing them with the cold shower promised by the title; a not-insignificant friendship of mine is predicated almost entirely on text messages sent during Intervention broadcasts, typically involving direct quotes (“No more vodka for Brad!”) or simple observations (a quick “OMG” as that pretty-girl morphine addict does a slow-motion face plant into a plate of Taco Bell.)
Still, it’s definitely a guilty pleasure, partly because I typically watch the show under the influence of marijuana (is this hypocritical or just postmodern?), and partly because the freakier the behavior of the addicts, the better the episode of Intervention. Even referring to the show as a pleasure, guilty or otherwise, seems wrong—but would I really devote an hour every week to something I didn’t enjoy?
These are the questions brought up by every episode of Intervention, which, as I mentioned, follows addicts—one or two each week—as these addicts do the most fucked-up shit you’ve ever seen, then face an intervention from their loved ones and, hopefully, accept the show’s offer of inpatient treatment.
Before you judge me as a roadside-wreck gawker too lazy to get off the couch for his requisite gore fix, let me tell you why Intervention isn’t necessarily a signpost of the apocalypse.
1. In addition to the classic drunks and meth heads and junkies, Intervention’s addicts include such wild cards as gambleholics and anorexic/bulimics. This breadth of subject matter allows the show to capture an unusually rich and varied collection of real-life human behavior, most of it fueled by hideous desperation, and the majority of it shockingly fascinating. (I wasn’t kidding about the most fucked-up shit you’ve ever seen—Hollywood stars earn Oscars for acting like Intervention subjects.) Still, it’s all drawn from real-life, and thus messier and uglier and more mundane than anything from Hollywood, and it’s as documentary footage that the show finds its greatest value. Watching Intervention’s subjects chug mouthwash and have meth-based math freakouts (“I have to find the formula for evil!”) and store vomit in plastic bags in their closets has truly expanded my understanding of the human condition. (It’s also made clear the hideously direct line that frequently exists between rape/sexual abuse and hardcore addiction/eating disorders.)
2. Featured interventionist Candy Finnegan is obviously the greatest person on earth.
Intervention airs at 9pm tonight on A&E.