A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that while this reality series could theoretically serve as a cautionary tale for older teens by shining a harsh light on the consequences of substance abuse, the content veers into adults-only territory -- especially in the earliest episodes. Viewers will be introduced to a porn star who brings her own dildos to rehab, an actor who's consumed so many prescription pills that he's barely conscious, and an American Idol reject with a cocaine addiction. If your teens watch, make sure they're taking away the right messages.
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- Kids say
What's the story?
With reality shows like The Surreal Life and Celebrity Fit Club, VH1 has seemed more than happy to provide C-list celebrities with a public stage for their bad behavior. But now, with CELEBRITY REHAB WITH DR. DREW, the network wants to help them kick their addictions to booze, pills, and hard-core drugs -- the very things that made them such ratings-friendly TV train wrecks. Among those checking into the Pasadena Recovery Center are more than a few reality TV veterans, including actress Brigitte Nielsen and former wrestler Chyna (Surreal Life), actors Daniel Baldwin and Jeff Conaway (Fit Club), and amateur singer Jessica Sierra (American Idol). Rounding out the slate of addicts are porn star turned wannabe politician Mary Carey, Crazy Town rapper Seth "Shifty" Binzer, and Family Matters actress Jaimee Foxworth.
Is it any good?
Leading the recovery process is board-certified physician/talk show host/addiction expert Dr. Drew Pinsky, best known for his long-running radio program, Loveline. Steering clear of typical reality show shenanigans, Dr. Drew adds an air of credibility to the concept and seems genuinely interested in seeing these celebs through to the other side. Without his steady presence, it's not hard to imagine the show becoming exploitative rather than educational.
Still, it remains to be seen whether Celebrity Rehab is inherently helpful or harmful. After all, if it helps at least one person turn his or her life around, then it's served a definite purpose. But if not, isn't it just feeding the problem by giving the fame-starved a chance to be on TV?
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the grim realities of drug and alcohol addiction, as well as the celebrities who seem to struggle so publicly with it. Teens: Do you enjoy the constant media reports about troubled celebs like Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears? If so, why? Do you look down on -- or perhaps envy -- their behavior? Parents: In an age of celebrity worship and tabloid trash-fests, is it more difficult to raise a well-adjusted, substance-free teen? How does the media both help and hinder your efforts?