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If I said I was addicted to the A&E reality show “Intervention,” that would just be a cheap play on words. But so what. It’s true!

For those who have not heard of the show, it is a “docuseries” about people with addictions. The premise is the addicts “agree to be in a show about addiction,” but do not know that they will soon face an intervention from their friends and family. The cameras follow them around, interview them and their families, and often uncover, in the process, the root cause of their addictions. In the end, the addict either agrees to go to rehab or…doesn’t. (At this point, after many years on the air, it is a little hard to believe that none of the addicts who agree to be on the show have not at least HEARD of a TV show that follows addicts around and then makes them face an intervention. But then again, I suppose most addicts have better worse things to do than sit around and watch TV.)

To say I “enjoy” the show is probably a little too callous an admission, even for me. But I can not deny that the drama of these real life tragedies is just inherently watchable. Seeing them at their lowest point means I can’t help but hope against hope that they will “accept the gift” they are given–in the form of free rehab–and take control of their lives. The coda at the end, when the titles come up explaining how the addict has fared since rehab has, in all honesty, made me smile with relief on occasion, and made me burst into tears on others.

But all this is not to say some of the people on the show are not…ridiculous. Like the episode featuring Allison, the girl who sucked on aerosol computer cleaner cans like a baby with a bottle. That was perhaps the craziest hour the show has yet to produce. Since Allison came out of it all OK, (aside from an apparent penchant for jewelry made out of compacts), I think it’s OK to include this little fan video.

On the other side of the spectrum, the episode that probably affected me the most was the one about Hubert, a homeless alcoholic who looked beyond hopeless. He reminded me of so many of the homeless and addicted I pass every day on San Francisco streets. His recovery was an amazing thing to see, and it alone convinced me that even if the show IS exploitative, the fact remains, lives are changed because of it. Exploit away!

The new season, which premieres on Monday, is being paired up with an equally intriguing show called “Obsessed,” which will focus on people with anxiety disorders like OCD, phobias, and, most exciting of all, hoarding. (Oh please feature an animal hoarder. Please please please.) “Intervention” has actually dealt with some of these issue before, but they never did really feel right in a show focused on substance abuse, so I’m glad to see this spin-off. I just hope one of the proposed treatments is to take one of the obsessively clean people over to one of the hoarder’s homes, and just have he or she go hog wild and clean that mess up. Of course, I suppose that’s not really how it works. Otherwise, every cleaning business in the world would be made up of OCD clean freaks. Let’s just hope the obsessed will be willing to accept the gift that is given to them. Germs and all.

A new season of “Intervention” premieres on A&E Monday at 9 P.M., followed by the series premiere of “Obsessed” at 10 P.M.

the author

Rain Jokinen watches a lot of television and movies and then writes things about them on the Internet. She's a San Francisco native, and yeah, she'll rub that fact in your face any chance she gets.

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  • brad

    Ummmm.. What about the one with the woman who wouldn’t swallow? She had a feeding tube into her stomach for nourishment, so she would chew food and spit it into a cup. Even her saliva. I guess that would fall under the spinoff show.

    I have one other thing to say: “Don’t make me have to hit you grandma!”

    Oh, and grandma’s response: “I need to get out of here – I’m tired of this rigamarole.”