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Comments

AntBee

I saw that episode when it originally aired in August. Cristy is/was a straight-up trip! All I kept thinking was, "this woman is not long for this world." Mmmm, I wonder....

Brian

That was more profound than anything I've thought up in the past few months.

But I also have a tendency to toot my own horn.

orville redinbocker

before i read this post i thought youd be in "point and laugh" mode but im glad this wasnt the case. one of the things that got me thinking about cristys drugged out psychosis is the fact that she revelled in the fact that shes an addict, accepts, it and doesnt want to change. i guess when youve been using for ten years at the age of 24 things can seem that bleak. the point of no return. from what i remember she not once said she was tired of using, whereas the other addicts featured on the show seem to be reaching a boiling point and and want out even if they are reluctant about rehab.
i dont thnk intervention is in the same class as jerry springer-esque tv per se, even though it can be as disturbing and gnarly at times, because its one greatest redeeming point (only?) is that its used as a scare tactic to stay away from drugs.
needless to say, i hope cristy wins the easy breezy beautiful cover girl contract.

katebu

Great considerations of a deeply disturbing yet fascinating entity. As a therapist, I (what is the word?, 'enjoy' isn't right, maybe 'appreciate'?) watching the show because it paints the fullest picture of addiction that I've ever seen. When clients are in your office, they aren't manifesting their worst symptoms. In fact, they're probably functioning at their peak: they got dressed, they got to the appointment, they're sitting and talking, motivated to be getting help. That 'addict' doesn't come close to the addicts that live little bits of their lives and their addictions on 'Intervention,' and I do appreciate seeing the full-blown monster. The behavior is so far beyond the bounds of normal human behavior that you can see the addiction reforming how someone's brain works. Sure, you learn all about synaptic clefts and enzyme uptake and inhibition in biological bases of behavior classes but when you see Christy in that clip, you really get how a drug can pickle a brain, how the brain has stopped functioning except in relation and drive to get more drugs. I see addiction now as a huge beast that sinks its fangs and claws into any otherwise unremarkable person and hangs on for dear life, literally, sucking the dearness of life out of the addict, replacing that with the sole experience of getting high and coming down. Repeat.
Of course, I appreciate the view and the increased understanding of the experience of addiction at the expense of questioning the ethics of the show. The subjects agree to be in a documentary about their disorder, but it culminates in a psychotherapeutic intervention, which is a violation of informed consent. AND IT'S TELEVISED which, of course, is a horribly tremendous violation of confidentiality. Ethics aside (easy!), I also question the point of the show: don't many of the subjects have prior treatment/rehab histories? Why is this one intervention being presented as the happy end to their stories? It sets up the intervention as the easy answer to the addiction (if enough people tell them to get help, they'll get it, problem solved), without any indication that the HARDEST work is yet to come, which feels incredibly unbalanced. The show is also unbalanced in narrowing the lens on just the subject, while family and friends comment and cry about the person's collapse. You are so right in asking, addicted for 10 years and just intervening NOW? Cristy's addiction seems to be in inverse proportion to her family's ability to recognize and make an effort to do something about it.
So much to be fascinated and repulsed by, of course it makes for great TV viewing. But it really is a violation of ethics, and I'm surprised the American Psychological Association hasn't taken it to task. In the meantime, I'm still tuning in.

♥dex

Excellent post, Rich. Very provocative food for thought.

Maria

Thanks, once again Rich for eloquently stating what can be commonly referred to as voyeurism.

As a former heroin addict, now clean well over 15 years I am saddened that her family thought that little of themselves to sign off on a waiver and consenting that this episode be played. That's the tragedy here. Not Christy. She's an addict and is only behaving the same way we all do who suffer from addiction.

perfectlylegal

This is probably the best post I've read here. I agree with everything you have written here and I only wish that I was the one who put it down in writing first.

b_g

well written. yes the clip is funny and I can't stop watching it. proverbial train wreck etc. (insert neat rephrasings of things written in the post and comments - btw, sharp comments erbody - I'm glad you can all articulate thoughts better than I can on a friday).

and I am waiting for the day when fourfour and one D at a time spawn the most hilarious, unstoppable mutant whatever etc blah blah.

just make it happen ok?

Josh

"it's exercise for the id"

Fantastic

Please write a book.

jp

Please don't dis Reznor. The rest is unimportant.

Kappy Liu

Christy is the best mess ever. I have watched the whole episode SOOO many times. I call people up to watch it everytime the rerun is on!!!

"Gayest" Neil

Hmm. I don't know if I'm interested in hitting the play button. I think there are shades of reality voyeurism and poor Cristi's sounds (and reads) a little to robust for my taste.

A recent comparison could be alcoholic Ripsi's tequila fueled rampage on the (now boring) Bad Girl's Club on Oxygen.

Ripsi (alcoholic, rage issues) gets hammered in the 2nd episode and proceeds to hilariously terrorize the more passive girls in the house and is ultimately kicked out of the swank pad.

Who knows how long Ripsi has been an alcoholic? That's not really the point of Bad Girls, where I'm pretty sure, the primary arc of the show is "ooh they acting so bad" and the 2nd arc likely, "ooh the bad girls cleaned up so nice!"

Too bad "cleaning up" is so boring.

But Ripsi, tipsy in the pool or destroying a kitchen, is far less startling than a ten year meth addict. Drunken buffonery is a corner stone of comedy; the enraged, naked meth addict, maybe not so much...

Nice post.

haizel

As usual, completely agreed on your points, Rich, (and some posters above), but no mention of the fact that this family is not in a vacuum. You typically keep, on some level, the self-conciousness of other reality show whatnot in your entries; it is hard for me to see Cristy's actions as not boosted for the camera (granted I have only seen this clip and didnt catch the whole show, much less the series). Yes, I know that she exhibits all symptoms that speak to a very real disease, as well as its imposed angry apathy...but I think the discussion should also include the point of view that while we are voyeurs to other people's dirty laundry, they are sellin' it. The sharing on both sides of the humilation-tv craze says even more about where our culture is/is going.

Like Rome all over again. With all of the advances, also the excesses.
Not that I'm above it or anything, of course.

eliot

I think you should do a further analysis of this I Love New York nonsense. I have never braved an episode, yet I'm riveted as to how this garbage has TAKEN OVER the tube.

Ando

I had a friend over on Monday who ripped me a new one for watching Christy "going thru it". Accusing me of laughing at people who are worse off than myself. But that's not why I watch. I love that show. (And in my defense I did cover my mouth, plug my nose and divert tearing eyes to stop laughing.) But because I watched Christy's show my future daughter will be raised to not smoke meth for breakfast, drink vodka for lunch, work the pole and for the love of god, put some pants on occasionally. I use the same logic for Lifetime movies.

I don't disagree with your comments about reality TV in general. However, I am someone who watches Intervention faithfully, not because I want to gloat at the pain of others, but because, for me, it really serves as a warning. I am a person with addictive tendencies who has (and sometimes still does) dabble in some of the behaviors depicted in this series (drugs, alcohol, overspending, food issues). Right or wrong, watching this show really does, in some way, "scare me straight." It reminds me that life is a one big, giant slippery slope, and if you walk on the edge, you have to be very, very careful. When I say things like, "I can do coke because I can handle it," Cristy's similar words ring in my unconscious and give me a much needed pause to stop and evaluate whether or not what I'm saying is really the truth. I like to think that A&E's point, beyond the obvious entertainment value of "shock TV," is perhaps to get people to look at their own behavior, and to let peole know that their loved ones who are suffering can maybe be helped by similar measures.

trick please

I like the way you are able to analyze a clip from a television show, include references to psychology and then tie them back to popular culture. Your writing flows well,is clear and intelligent so that it may appreciated by a wide spectrum of readers.

I'm sure you got all A's on your essays

Bobbie

I watched this episode the other day! Crissy just broke my heart. I'm from Vancouver, I love my city and think it's amazing, but the sad reality is that we've all be struck by this drug. Here all the pharmacies, even in the smaller communities have the "meth watch" program, where all legal and of realistically harmess items that could possibly be used in the creation of meth are kept on the shelves in very small bottles and you're only allowed to purchase one quantity at a time. Sad to say but I've gotten many a suspect look from the staff when I'll try to purchase a medium size bottle of 99% alcohol for cleaning my brushes!

Thank you for writing such a beautiful blog on this insane episode. It's a great show. Although I have to wonder.....

Did Crissy's family sign off on letting her be shown for the sake of their 15 minutes of fame? Or was it maybe a last ditch effort, since the intervention didn't work for her to hopefully see herself in this light? We can only hope it worked either way.

Brian

"I think you should do a further analysis of this I Love New York nonsense. I have never braved an episode, yet I'm riveted as to how this garbage has TAKEN OVER the tube."

I'd think Rich would've gone further in depth about it in this post if he wasn't employed to do recaps for vh1.

And in my personal opinion, I love the whole Flavor/New York series. However, Rich hit the nail on the head when he said those who seek fame for the wrong reasons endure ridicule.

rod

i've gotten to the point of being bored off my tits by reality. frankly, this chrissy girl is quite boring.

she gives the viewer a choice: do you revel or revile? revel in watching a subfunctional human? be reviled and thus be sanctimonious?

i choose revolt. revolt against the neofederacy of dunces that are spoon-feeding out such television.

dan

Please watch the episode about the bulimic who vomits into plastic bags in her closet, so her boyfriend doesn't grow suspicious of her time in the bathroom. And then she keeps the plastic bags in a box, which she throws out once a week.

Horrifying.

Armchair Cook

I've seen every episode of Intervention and the Cristy episode was truly the most horrifying. (The one that aired before it, Betsy the 40ish blond alcoholic in total denial, easily takes 2nd place for me.)

I was hesitant to watch this show because I thought it would be exploitative, but I find the filmmakers to be sensitive to both the addicts and their families. The situation is never pretty, but that's the point, right?

I just wonder why female addicts/girlfriends of addicts always have overly-plucked/painted-on eyebrows:

http://www.aetv.com/intervention/int_episode_guide.jsp?episode=195949

M to the G

Thanks, Rich for dragging your brain through this so I didn't have too. Right on target with your analysis.

As we entertain ourselves in our Digital Rome ...

Shaft

dude...dude..!! i saw that episode a couple weeks back....crazy!!!
that chick was...wow..and that scene was...wow.

Her sister had incredible patience..cause..i would have gotten violent in 5 seconds. That was the first episode of that show i ever saw, and after watching a few others....it wont get any more "entertaining" than this.

i use entertaining in quotes for lack of a better word.

Jeff

I am so thankful for blurred pussy and titties. Honestly.

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