Last week, the A&E network launched the second season of a program called Intervention, which could be described as a hybrid of a documentary and a reality television show.
Intervention takes a frank look at people addicted to anything from drugs to shopping to self mutilation. There are few shows on television that can make one’s jaw drop as consistently as this one. It’s compelling, shocking and depressing, all at the same time.
Each episode opens by introducing the audience to two different addicts. In separate segments, the cameras follow each person through their daily lives, giving viewers an unblinking look into their personal lives. The audience is also introduced to the subjects’ families and friends, all of whom speak directly and candidly to the cameras.
From teenagers to married mothers to the street people, it is an eye opening look into the lives of people occupying varying socio-economic positions in society. All of the subjects have a few things in common: they are hardcore addicts, they have loving families and they are close to hitting rock bottom.
It is particularly difficult to watch each addict indulge their obviously self destructive habits. The camera is unflinching as it illustrates the entire process from procurement to consumption to climax and finally remorse.
The subjects of the program are unaware that their families, in conjunction with the production team and an addiction treatment professional, are planning an intervention. So it is a complete surprise when he or she is confronted by several loved ones who read emotionally charged impact statements and often issue ultimatums to push them into accepting help and entering treatment programs.
It makes for riveting television and while some may criticize the producers for exploiting clearly troubled individuals for the entertainment of the masses, I feel that Intervention will help the general public understand and empathize with a segment of the population that is unfamiliar to most of us. You can’t watch this show and not have a changed opinion of addicts. For young people, I think it represents an excellent opportunity to see how a recreational habit can quickly turn into a destructive vice if they are not careful.
The A&E network deserves some praise for putting a hard hitting series like Intervention on the air. While other new A&E shows like Dog: the Bounty Hunter may generate stronger ratings, I highly recommend watching at least one episode of Intervention.