The dirty leprechauns at Sober House have stolen my Lucky Charms…again. Every preview and commercial they showed for episode 3 was carefully, strategically plotted to build up an event that never happened. I, like an idiot couch monkey, ran to the TV screen and pressed my face against the warm, static-y glass to chase the banana they yanked from view when I got within a foot of the set. Lucky Charms, monkey/banana, carrot/stick…pick your metaphor; Dr. Drew fucked with us.Sober House is the new reality TV gameshow from the producers of Dr. Drew’s Celebrity Rehab…(cue announcer voice)…the stakes could be your life!!! I mean, all the elements of reality TV are here. D-list celebrities. Everyone’s in a limited environment (the sober living house, or the Pasadena Recover Center from Celeb Rehab). They are competing (at least with themselves) to stay sober. Most will fail miserably. The two differences from reality tv are that (1) no one is kicked off…except Daniel Baldwin and Jeff Conaway from CR and probably Steven Adler this season…okay so the one difference is that the show adopts (or at least appears to adopt) a more traditional documentary filmmaking approach than Tools and Twats on Spring Break (which should be a reality show if it isn’t already). Bottom line is: these D-list celebrities are alcohol and/or drug addicts. Dr. Drew wants to help them. He also wants to film their miserable experiences so we can all sit on our couches and mock their efforts. (To be fair, you actually end up rooting for some of them (Rodney King of season 2, Seth Binzer of season 1) and save your ire for the unrepentant addicts of the bunch (Seth Binzer of season 2 and every scene with Jeff Conaway).)
Let’s go through the preview of episode 3. (They showed this at the end of episode 2 and plugged the hell out of it all week so that you wouldn’t have to sit through actual music-related content on VH1.)
1. Steven Adler, who is famous for getting kicked out of Guns n Roses…for doing too many drugs, is about to be arrested. This is important, because the last time we had cops on a Dr. Drew show, it was Jeff Conaway (Bobby from Taxi and Kenickie from Grease) who was just being a total dick. VH1 played up a huge build up. Huge. Conaway was a dick and called the cops complaining he was being held against his will. So you’re picturing major drama. By the time the episode aired, it was 30 lousy seconds.
Cop: “So, uh, you want to go or stay?”
Jeff: “I’ll stay.”
Cop: “Okay, see ya.”
Man, I was worried the same non-event was going to happen with Adler.
2. The gang–at this point it’s Seth ‘Shifty’ Binzer (singer of some piece of shit corporate band), Amber Smith (dumb model), Nikki McKibbin (American Idol loser, weight gainer), Mary Carey (how did she get so far in the adult film world with such mediocre looks?) and Rodney King (“can we all get along?”)–decide to go to clubbing. The staff tell them it’s a bad idea. Seth says he hears a little voice telling him to smoke crack. Cut to shots of the club. Each of them is drinking. Seth wanders off. Shots of ‘the gang’ worried about Seth. Shots of panic.
Okay, so what happened in the show? The preview was great. It was so thorough–like a movie trailer that shows too much–that I felt like I didn’t even need to watch the episode. I saw it already. Seth falls off the wagon.
1. Steven Adler is arrested. Hey, not bad, Dr. Drew. You didn’t lie to me.
2. The gang does indeed decide to go clubbing. Rodney King stays behind because he doesn’t think it’s a good idea. Yay, Rodney King. The staff says he’ll probably make it. ‘Making it’ means ‘staying sober.’ That means they have low expectations of the rest of the house. That also means they’re running a betting pool back at the Pasadena Recovery Center. I’ve got two bits on King.
The rest join Mary Carey and her prickish boyfriend. This dude, and I don’t remember his name, spends his camera time (and he loves his camera time) cracking jokes about how much Mary wants to drink. He ends each joke with, “Just kidding.” He directs ‘just kidding’ to a staffer if one is present. This is the type of guy who–oh who am I kidding? You already know. Everyone knows this type of guy: Douche. Plus. Bag. Dr. Drew cameos that Douchebag is a bad influence. (Whew, that doctorate sure came in handy there, Drew.)
Briefly now: The gang goes to a club. They drink non-alcoholic drinks. Even Douchebag drinks non-alcoholic drinks. Seth chats up some girls (this is so heartwarming considering the plotline from Celeb Rehab 1&2 is how he wants to stay sober for his wife and kid). The gang wants to drink really badly. Seth wanders off. The gang is worried. They go back to the sober living house for a good panic. Panic ensues.
Here’s where Dr. Drew and his preview lied to us. The gang didn’t drink. All the shots of them drinking some whiskey colored drink? Juice. Douchebag himself–if you can believe it–says, ‘hey everyone, it’s time to go back for your curfew.’ And they do. Seth shows up a few minutes late for curfew without a crack pipe. That shot of him chugging a whiskey cocktail? Not a whiskey cocktail, apparently. What a bold faced lie.
This bothers me, and I’m sorry this isn’t particularly funny, but if it helps picture me, a grown man who’s actually read books without pictures, fuming at a reality TV show about D-list addicts. Fuming. Each shot in the preview was a piece of evidence that logically stood on the previous shot in order to build a case. The case is this, “Look at these shots. See where this is going? It’s going to a bad place. You’ll want to watch this. Tune in at 10 pm Thursday.” As a viewer, I don’t know what that bad place is exactly going to be. But I know what kind of place it will be: bad. A bad place. A bad place that I will want to watch possibly with popcorn. Dr. Drew and VH1 decide to pull a fakeroo. It’s not a bad place at all. Nope. In fact, it’s a good place. Everyone’s fine. All that stuff we told you? Kidding. Ha! Got you! Just kidding. The gang’s all safe.
Just kidding. Just like Douchebag.