Congratulations are in order for VH1’s newest creation. Not every network can claim to have produced the reality-show equivalent of a used condom. In the realm of trashy TV, “Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew” has got to be up there on the hierarchy of shows that drain an audience’s faith in humanity, which includes “A Doubleshot at Love” and “Flavor of Love.”
“Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew
Sundays at 10 p.m.
This sinking feeling of disgust and disbelief is not directed toward any of the cast on the show, but rather toward the audiences that supported “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew,” thus enabling the creation of “Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew.”
“Sex Rehab” follows the rehabilitation of eight individuals, three men and five women, including pseudo-celebrities like Jennie Ketcham (a.k.a. Penny Flame when she’s moonlighting as a porn star), Playboy Playmate Nicole Narain and professional surfer James Lovett. While trying to sexually detox, some of the women still make a living as Playboy Playmates, porn producers or adult entertainers.
The whole scenario makes it hard not to ask: Exactly what are these people going to do career-wise when they get out of rehab? It doesn’t seem like returning to a livelihood of freelancing as a dominatrix is conducive to staying on the sex rehab wagon. Following a summary of each addict’s claim to fame, Dr. Drew has a session with each participant and he or she is welcomed into the rehab center (a welcome consisting of the filmed confiscation of sex toys, skin magazines and dildos named Jeremy).
Despite the incredibly unconvincing melodramas and overly contrived dialogue each patient fuels, many of the sex addicts actually seem genuinely messed up, and it’s hard not to feel bad for them. But sympathizing with the participants isn’t the point of the show, nor is the point to shine a light on real issues with which people struggle.
Instead, the point of “Sex Rehab” is to extract as much shock value as possible from everyone’s problems. The show makes a point of unearthing as many participants’ past sexual abuses as can fit in an hour (apparently seven) and by creating as many situations as possible to set them up for failure.
The latter is achieved by rooming the guys and girls right across the hall from each other, which is basically the same thing as putting out a table full of brownies on “The Biggest Loser.” If not for the absolute transparency of these tactics, the show might be stomachable, but as it is, it’s disgusting.
While the show pretends to be concerned about each person’s recovery, “Sex Rehab” mostly depends on the audience’s desire to hear about how Nicole can’t stop whacking off or how Smith has STDs on his uvula.
One of the most disturbing aspects of “Sex Rehab” is that Dr. Drew himself doesn’t seem to be a very reliable therapist. Anyone who has taken Psych 101 knows that it’s never a good idea to tell patients how they feel, and then frown if they try to disagree. His later insinuations that his patients are lying makes him come across as smug and pretentious, especially when he says things like, “Although Phil claims he didn’t suffer childhood abuse, his grief over his mother’s death has certainly affected his addiction. I’m certain that as Phil progresses in treatment a more complete story will unfold.”
If any plan to brave this nauseating hour of pity, dreadful dramatics and clumsy mind poking, be sure to bring knee pads (no — not for that!). Undoubtedly, hours will be spent following the unfortunate exposure of this show kneeling before the TV-watching public, begging forgiveness for having fueled the production of filth of this caliber.