Monday, July 14, 2008

Addict TV? Really?

The evolution of VH1 from "adult contemporary music channel" to "a network that finds it acceptable to air a program called 'I Love Money' " was slow and soul-crushingly inevitable enough that it wasn't exactly surprising.

But A&E? Didn't that, at some point, stand for "Arts and Entertainment"? Didn't they used to run a bunch of "Biography" episodes, and in the afternoons offer repeats of "Newsradio" and "Night Court"?

I used to make sure to get home from classes in college so I could catch some "Newsradio" at lunchtime. It was...comforting.

This past weekend, I watched A&E and saw a show called "Intervention," wherein a knock-off Dr. Phil coaches a family on confronting their addict to get help. It was depressing, to put it mildly (not least of which because the guy DIED - way to go, Dr. Faux-Phil).

During the commercial breaks, I got to see a preview for "The Two Coreys." The show that asks viewers to give a shit about two self-absorbed, borderline delusional recovering addicts who for a brief period were also teen actors.

Most heavily promoted was "The Cleaner," the network's new scripted drama, starring Benjamin Bratt as, from what I could understand, leader of an A-Team of addiction counselors.

At what point did A&E come to stand for, as Tad puts it, "Addicts and Ex-Addicts"? And more there really a huge market for this? VH1's freak-show mentality I get, but where is the real audience reward for watching a cancer-riddled fall-down drunk refuse treatment and die?

I hope it's not schaedenfraude (and no, I'm not spell-checking that, you know what I mean), but are we supposed to learn from them, or what?


Jaime Anderson said...

What's schaedenfraude? (Yeah I dont feel like looking it up). Oh, and your assumption about 'The Cleaner' is basically exactly how the reviews read. Unneccessary and over-the-top. "Instead of having them go undercover to find the drug addict who can usually be found at his moms house...why dont they, um, go to his moms house?"

thechicgeek said...

I've always shied away from A&E. That network always seemed to be the Murder She Wrote or Columbo haven for grandmothers. At least, that's what I thought. Apparently I was wrong.

But maybe I'll stay away just the same. I don't want to watch people waste away, and I don't care for any of the Golden Girls. Except for Bea Arthur. I love Bea Arthur.

Threat Quality Press said...

"Schadenfreude" is the experience of enjoying seeing the misery of others.

I don't know what all of this is about; more and more of my beloved, clever old shows (I really liked Columbo, the chicgeek, not the least of which because Peter Falk based the character on the detective from Crime and Punishment) are being replaced with watching a bunch of developmentally challenged narcissists make each other's lives miserable.