STUDIO: A&E Home Video
MSRP: $12.99
RUNNING TIME: 188 minutes
Updates to addicts’ stories

The Pitch

Addicts get emotionally ambushed by friends and family for their own good…and we’re invited.

The Humans

Interventionists: Jeff Van Vonderen, Candy Finnigan, Ken Seeley, Tara Fields

Interventionees: Alyson, Vanessa, Gabe, Sara, Travis & Matt

The Nutshell

Intervention is a show that documents attempts by drug rehabilitation professionals and friends and family of addicts to stage interventions – direct group surprise confrontations of the afflicted in order to get them to seek help for their problems.  The addictions are varied, from drugs, to alcohol, to gambling, to shopping; and the addicts are from all walks of life.  Here there are six: Alyson, a former White House intern who gets hooked on drugs and alcohol; Vanessa, a former actress and compulsive shopper; Gabe, a compulsive gambler over $500,000 in debt; Matt, a crack addict; and Sara and Travis, two meth addicts.  These are the stories of their attempted road to recovery, then and now.

Alyson: “You know, I’m feeling really guilty here.  I probably shouldn’t be doing this.  I’m hurting myself, my family, my friends, my community and I’m putting money in the pockets of ruthless drug dealers.”
Dealer: “Should, I cut you off here and now then?”
Alyson: “Try it and I’ll feed you your dick in bite-sized pieces…”

The Lowdown

Generally, I’d say you’re going to feel one of two reactions from watching Intervention: either genuine empathy or palpable annoyance. Because it’s hard to be indifferent to the people whose plights play out in the episodes of this TV show.  You’re either really pulling for them to get the help they need or you want to take a baseball bat upside their skulls.  And like those reactions, this is a show without much middle ground.  It’s about family and friends confronting their loved ones who have addictions of various forms.

The show builds the background of the addicts, generally showing their home life, who they were, who they are now and in some instances, who they might have been.  Once the addict’s situation has been laid out, one of the interventionists comes in, arranges the intervention and the addict gets the group whammy laid on ’em.  The interventions vary in intensity.  In one case, all it took was the family and friends coming together, with the father, who was barely able to get around due to being on oxygen, saying his piece and his daughter quietly leaving home…but not before she downed 10 morphine pills.

Gabe: “You know, there was a time when I would have lost my mind sitting here gambling like this.  I had an addiction.”
Dealer: “So how did you kick it?”
Gabe: Simple really, I found something else to take its place.  A website which helped me out a lot.  It really helped me refocus my compulsive energies.”
Dealer: “That’s great, man.  What’s it called?”

Among the addicts spotlighted here in this four-episode offering are Alyson the aforementioned quiet interventionee.  Her story had her being a former White House intern whose life derailed after getting hooked on weed, crack, morphine and heroin.  Yep, she’s a full service junkie.  She lived at home, barely bothering to take care of her father, who looked like he already had one foot in the grave and another on a banana peel.  Although, to her credit, once she received the help and after nine months of rehab, she seemed to have gotten her life together. 

However that’s not always the case.  The subject I genuinely had the most empathy for was former actress Vanessa Marquez, who was nurse Wendy Goldman the first three seasons on ER.  I don’t often use the term, but she’s a perky little thing, still attractive and petite, who had a shopping addiction. Now normally I’d throw that right out the window as a legit issue because when you define hardcore addiction, I’m going to give the nod to the heavy duty pharmacological variety every time.  Nevertheless, Vanessa’s issues also stemmed from actual other maladies she had, including noticeable OCD, agoraphobia, bipolar disorder and panic attacks.  Lack of family contacts didn’t help either.  Vanessa’s friends got her into a shopping addiction rehab, but the last update she gave indicated that it hadn’t been successful.  Now she’s just a fading former minor actress in a dreary apartment. I honestly felt for her.

“Losing the war on drugs my ass!  I’m about to execute three POWs right now, bitches!”

The least empathy I had though was for Gabe, a complete and utter whiny little bitch with a gambling addiction and a sense of entitlement roughly the size of Jupiter.  This guy, like any good gambling addict, has run his finances, and his parents’ finances, into the ground, having lost over half a million in five or six years.  While that’s bad enough, he seems to have been under the delusion that his parents are responsible for handling everything for him.  Never in recent memory has a guy been so undeniably deserving of either a severe ass kicking or a stint in the booty house as Gabe.  I also felt nothing for his parents because, even after the treatment failed, they continued cave into his whiny bitch tantrums and demands.

And thus are the reactions that you get from Intervention

Group: “Vanessa, we really think you need something to help you out with this shopping addiction.  Something to take your mind off of it.  Trust us, we’re all addicts ourselves.”
Vanessa: “What did you have in mind?  I’ll do anything.”
Group: “Well, you know it’s funny that you should say that…because we learned in Orgyholics Anonymous that…”

The Package

There’s only one special feature, but it’s apropos for this in that it’s the most current updates to most of the subjects, in their own words.  This is a pretty good show, but this disc offering isn’t worth it in that there are only four episodes, which don’t even comprise the entire first season.  Why they couldn’t put out the whole season box set is beyond me.  You’d do better just catching the reruns.

5.1 out of 10