Gone Too Far

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Gone Too Far TV Poster Image
Reality addiction show is both earnest and exploitative.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Despite its often-rough content, the series sends a clear anti-drug message. The recovery process is clearly portrayed as difficult and -- thanks to Goldstein’s death -- sometimes tragically unsuccessful. The show also highlights how important family and friends are when it comes to making difficult choices to assist addicts in the recovery process.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Goldstein consistently claims that while he can’t cure addiction, he can offer addicts a path toward recovery -- and he does. He's also non-judgmental when speaking to addicts and their families. Unfortunately, Goldstein's efforts in the show are overshadowed by his own fatal drug overdose in real life.

Violence

Addicts often talk about how they steal and engage in other inappropriate behavior in order to finance their habit. Some yell and argue when faced with going into rehab.

Sex

There's always the potential for discussions about inappropriate sexual activity, prostitution, and other behavior that can become part of a drug addict's lifestyle.

Language

Words like “pissed” and “hell" are audible; those like “s--t” and “f--k” are bleeped.

Consumerism

Goldstein gives addicts Apple iPods and other gifts to help them deal a bit better with the recovery process.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Very graphic footage of drug use, ranging from swallowing and inhaling narcotics to injecting heroin with needles (bloody needle marks visible). One addict is shown shooting up while driving. Addicts are shown in pain and being given pills while medically detoxing. Alcohol consumption is also visible.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this series -- which follows Adam "DJ AM" Goldstein as he attempts to help drug addicts turn toward recovery -- is haunted by the reality of Goldstein's August 2009 death from a drug overdose. Because of that, the show sometimes seems a little exploitative, but it firmly underscores how long and difficult recovering from drug addiction really is. It also sends the message that people, despite their own battles with addiction, can successfully reach out and help others. Expect very graphic images of people smoking and injecting drugs, as well as some strong language (words like “s--t” and "f--k" are bleeped).

User Reviews

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Teen, 15 years old Written bysilly_samsters November 8, 2009

Great show

I love this show! I think that teens should watch this show because it shows you what happens to drug users! Also I am very sad that DJ AM had to go because he... Continue reading

What's the story?

GONE TOO FAR follows Adam Goldstein -- aka DJ AM -- as he travels the country trying to help drug addicts whose lives have spiraled completely out of control. Goldstein, a recovering addict who filmed the series before dying from an accidental drug overdose in August 2009, collects video footage of the addicts’ behavior and talks to the family members who are being affected. He brings in addiction professionals, helps stage interventions, and offers the user the chance to get help. Goldstein also periodically checks in on the addicts' recovery process while they're in rehab. Throughout it all, he shares his own struggles with addiction.

Is it any good?

Unfortunately, since Gone Too Far is being aired after Goldstein’s fatal overdose, many of the earnest messages he offers about recovery and empowerment are overshadowed by his own inability to beat drug addiction. Goldstein’s reactions to the addicts’ behaviors now seem ironic, since the same behaviors are what ultimately killed him. The end-of-episode tributes offered by the people that Goldstein helped before he died also make the show seem more like an homage to him than an earnest attempt to highlight the successful stages of recovery.

But while you could argue that airing the series after Goldstein’s death is more exploitative than helpful, the show definitely succeeds at underscoring how addicts -- even after reaching a positive turning point in their recovery -- can still succumb to their addiction at any time. And it shows viewers how an addict, despite his or her own battles and failures, can still reach out to make a positive difference in people’s lives. Sadly, the series also serves as a tragic warning about what the end result of drug use can too frequently be.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether shows that focus on people’s struggles with addiction and recovery are really intended to help people. Or do you think it's more a voyeuristic kind of entertainment?

  • How do the circumstances of Goldstein’s death affect your opinion of the show? Do you think the series helps people learn more about addiction and recovery, or is it exploiting someone’s death for entertainment?

  • What’s the best way to talk to kids (and adults) about drugs and the dangers of addiction? Where can people who are struggling with addiction go for help in your community? Parents: Check out our advice on some of these topics.

TV details

For kids who love reality TV

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