Something big goes unmentioned in last week's premiere episode of VH-1's Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew— the series that trains cameras on nine celebrity addicts seeking treatment (and, of course, another toehold on fame) at the Pasadena Recovery Center. Earlier VH-1 camera crews eagerly captured the boozy escapades of two of the celebrities, Brigitte Nielsen and Joanie "Chyna" Laurer, on The Surreal Life. Sweet gig for the network: Enable the problem, then rush in to shoot the recovery.
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But whatever motives you may ascribe to VH-1 for the voyeuristic pull of Celebrity Rehab, should you choose to watch you'll be hard-pressed not to wish the best for these lost souls — among them porn star and one-time gubernatorial candidate Mary Carey, American Idol contestant Jessica Sierra, and actor Daniel Baldwin — who tell dispiriting stories of smashed childhoods, bad decisions and shattering guilt, and, in the wretched case of Taxi actor Jeff Conaway, just look like they're waiting to succumb. Overseeing everyone is star "addictionologist" Dr. Drew Pinsky, who, it seems, wears a stethoscope so we know he's the medical professional and not one of the famous patients. You'll want Dr. Drew to succeed, even if it's just to see the celebrities live another day as cheesy, misguided, but at least sober ego trippers on a future reality show. After innumerable VH-1 freak shows that have been content merely to showcase celebrities for their blinkered has-been status, at least they've acquiesced to a program that purports to care about what they could-be.