Okay, so I didn’t just sit and watch one or two episodes of “Intervention" on A&E on Demand. Oh no. In the true spirit of the show, I got addicted and watched every episode available and greedily searched for more. It was an addiction. It was lovely. And now I think I need anti-depressants so I can keep watching. I cannot stop and think I am going to need an intervention of my own to pay A&E and the On Demand system for more Intervention.
But what it is about the A&E show, Intervention, that makes it so appealing to me, especially since I really don’t have any addictions (other than late nights with free On Demand with my cable package) and don’t know anyone personally who is even half as messed up as the people presented on the show? Why do I revel so shamelessly in the desperation, misfortune, sadness, and helplessness of other people, many of whom have had terrible life circumstances that I cannot even begin to understand? Why do I continue to watch episode after episode of “Intervention" on A&E On Demand without pause, knowing full well that it is some of the most depressing reality television since “To Catch a Predator" and “The Surreal Life"? Good question…
It could be that the show “Intervention" on A&E makes all the things I know about drugs, alcohol, and addiction on a more basic, distanced, and institutional level more real by showing me what the harm they really do to people. Real people. I grew up with DARE and other drug resistance programs that made drugs seem like something distant that people on the streets did. Sure, in college I smoked my fair share of weed and knew people who did more of one thing than another but man, the people on Intervention are just almost too much. Each episode of Intervention I watch on A&E makes me say, “are there really people like that? Is this truly for real?" Perhaps Intervention on A&E (and for me, on the lovely On Demand system my cable gave me for free in an effort to enable me to ruin my life and sleep patterns) gives me a dose of reality that I need. In a world of so many falsehoods and fake images of fake ways of living , this is real. Almost too real.
My reason for watching so many episodes of Intervention on A&E on On Demand might actually be more shallow than that. Perhaps far more so. I think that I am so burned out on reality television that I am turning to more extreme forms of it to feed my shameful addiction to it. I am no longer getting the t.v. high I used to from regular, run of the mill reality television shows like Survivor, for instance. Oh no. My reality television addiction is too strong for that network television stuff these days. After getting my fix early on with network television, I moved to cable. Basic cable. Shows like “Flava of Love" soon made me weary. They weren’t real enough but “Intervention" on A&E is as real as it gets.