• Tue, Nov 30 2010

4 Things To Expect from Dr. Drew’s New Show

Dr. Drew, the doctor-turned-TV-star who has hosted Loveline, Celebrity Rehab, and the Teen Mom reunions, is getting his own show on HLN. Although his previous forays into television have relied on his medical expertise – Drew, whose workaday last name is Pinsky, is an addiction and recovery specialist – this one will be a more general news and current events discussion program a la the network’s shows with Larry King and Joy Behar. However, I‘ve expressed my dislike for Drew before, and I don’t think I am going to watch his show. If you do, though, here’s what I predict you’ll see:

1. Kissing up to celebrities

One reason that Dr. Drew is an ineffective TV host is that he doesn’t ask challenging questions of celebrities. Several times on Celebrity Rehab he had opportunities to ask really harsh questions and force celebrities out of their comfort zones, but he usually passed. As long as Drew continues to be starstruck by famous people, he will never ask them challenging questions. Then again, this quality probably makes him a perfect Larry King successor.

2. Diagnosing diseases in people he has not met

Since Drew is a medical doctor and a public figure, he likes to go on TV shows or do magazine interviews talking about medical histories of people he has never met and who are not his patients. For example, he said that Lindsay Lohan had a drug addiction (to be fair, we all knew that) and that Angelina Jolie was lying about how much heroin she had used in the past. Now that he has his own platform, count on Drew to pontificate on medical treatments for people who are strangers to him.

3. Assuming all women were molested as children

There was a running theme on Loveline, Dr. Drew and Adam Carolla’s sex advice radio-cum-TV show where Drew would assume most of the female callers had been molested as children. I’m exaggerating slightly, but more often than not Drew would take any sex or relationship question and turn it around to start asking a woman about whether she’d ever been sexually assaulted. While it is important to delve into a person’s history to see if it’s at the root of any current problem, Drew was one of those people who works with a hammer and thus makes all his problems look like nails.

4. Making that weird smushed-up “sympathetic face”

On Celebrity Rehab, Drew did one-on-one sessions with each of the show’s participants. During the therapy sessions, the celebrity would invariably tell some sob story about themselves. Drew had this particular smushed-up, squinty, head-tilting “I’m listening so intently and really feel your pain” face that never failed to make an appearance during these otherwise serious scenes, and never failed to make me bust out laughing and subsequently feel bad about laughing at a drug addict.

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  • Marina Gipps

    Sure, there are things that nobody likes about these types of shows….and therapists do run the risk of addressing these topics in a public forum as if it is some sort of showmanship first and foremost…YET… As far as I can tell, Dr. Drew Pinsky MD. has never said anything definitively in diagnosis terms on anyone that he has not met–He merely explores possibilities of an alternate diagnosis but he usually says that these things are possible and never addresses it as an absolute. I, too, am skeptical of psychiatrists yet I find him to be mild mannered and polite to all of his guests even those who are not celebrities. I’m wondering if you wrote this a joke to poke fun since the “weird smushed up “sympathetic face” comment is rather amusing. What are you supposed to say to a drug addict on celebrity rehab? I find Dr. Drew’s empathy
    a good thing. What celebrity is going to make divulge painful parts of their life on his show without a little bit of empathy? I suppose the real issue here is whether or not you and the rest of people who have watched the show take this empathy seriously or whether you and others view this empathy as playing up to the camera. In defense of Dr. Drew, I take his empathy quite seriously and think that his shows help others sort through their own problems by alleviating the alienating thought that they may be going through a situation on their own and that nobody else out there is experiencing what they are experiencing. I suspect his shows will continue to be popular given that those with drug or alcohol problems etc… can watch the shows or listen to the shows and sit in as if participating in group therapy from a distance. In this day and age of common people not being able to access medical help for addiction, etc…I do view his show as helpful to those particular folks. As far as celebrity rehab goes, Dr. Drew thought it would benefit others to see that status and celebrity doesn’t fix underlying problems. There are too many people out there (famous and non-famous) who are masking their pain and messing up the lives of others. Maybe these shows that look silly to some are perhaps not so silly in the long run. Just a thought…