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 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).
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.