|YMMV • Radar • Quotes • (Funny • Heartwarming • Awesome) • Fridge • Characters • Fanfic Recs • Nightmare Fuel • Shout Out • Plot • Tear Jerker • Headscratchers • Trivia • WMG • Recap • Ho Yay • Image Links • Memes • Haiku • Laconic|
A popular documentary-style reality show on A&E. It's won at least one Emmy during its run.
Basically, each episode follows pretty much the same format. A camera crew follows one or two addicts around. The addicts merely believe they're going to be part of a documentary on addiction - none of them know they are facing an intervention. The addictions run the gamut from the traditional (alcohol, crack, heroin) to the less traditional (shopping, video games, self-harm).
During each episode, we'll see the addicts (or addict if there's only one) being followed around by a camera crew as they go about their daily lives and cope with their addictions. Towards the end, they will face the intervention, where their loved ones will implore that they get help or else they'll have to put their foot down. The addict will then either decide to go to rehab or will refuse treatment. If there's enough time between filming and airing the episode, the viewers can occasionally see what happened since the filming wrapped. There have also been a few episodes strictly devoted to following up with past addicts.
Recurring tropes on this show:
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Seeing "marijuana" in a list involving methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, or similar far worse substances.
- Badass Mustache: Sported by interventionist Jeff VanVondren
- Bottle Fairy: ...Duh.
- Creepy Twins: Sonia and Julia, anorexic twins. They were obsessive of each other, dressed nearly identically, measured each other's food, slept in the same bed, and showed almost zero emotion throughout the episode.
- Downer Ending: Not all visits to rehab are successful...
- Earn Your Happy Ending: ...but many are.
- Also, a handful of subjects (though fewer than you might expect, considering the subject matter) have been revealed to have died after appearing on the series.
- Drugs Are Bad: Surprisingly less Anvilicious here than in a lot of other media - probably because this series actually shows the effects of drugs, from consumption to high to crash.
- Dysfunctional Family: Again, more than a few. One family featured a mother that had never told her kids she loved them because she found it "emotionally manipulative".
- Useful Notes/Abuse -- physical, verbal or sexual--is the root cause of some 60% or more of all addictions on the show.
- Absentee parenting is also a major root cause, especially if there's abuse involved.
- Parental Abandonment: Yes, missing parents come up a lot too. Quite a few of the addicts have cited that as the source of their Freudian Excuse. This includes the addicts themselves if they have kids.
- Fallen Hero: Several addicts were exceptional students and/or shining citizens.
- Notably, Jeff VanVondren one of the show's stable of interventionists himself relapsed, and needed a leave of absence in season five to work on his own sobriety. He returned the next year, healthy and happy.
- A couple addicts were famous before being featured on the program. Among the most notable was Travis Meeks, lead singer for Nineties alt-rockers Days of the New, who threw away his successful career for his methamphetamine addiction.
- Freudian Excuse: A lot of the addicts have as their reason an unhappy homelife/childhood.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: It's been chronicled a few times. These people are very hard to force through an intervention.
- Being addicted to alcohol or drugs like cocaine or meth, all of which can alter moods significantly, don't help.
- Heteronormative Crusader: Jessa's mother being a specific example, but other relatives of gay or lesbian addicts sometimes tend to be these as well.
- Manipulative Bastard: Many of the addicts, while in their various altered states, are rather good at tricking friends, family, and others into giving the addict money and drugs. For example, Linda - who was addicted to a painkiller 100 times more powerful than morphine - was able to get her parents to spend half a million dollars on her for prescriptions, jacuzzis, and a four-bedroom house. How? She had a delusional disorder, certainly not helped by the painkiller, and was able to get her parents to believe the delusions too.
- Parental Favoritism: Another common thread, where many of the addicts at least accuse their parents of playing favorites. Some of them were enabled by their parents favoritism towards them.
- Reality Show Genre Blindness: Admittedly less of an issue here because it's a cable show, but you'd think at some point an addict would have watched the show and seen through the "does not know he's facing an intervention" thing.
- Most of the addicts are so out of it that they never even think about another person, let alone an intervention.
- A handful of the addicts have been tipped off to their family's intentions by their more genre savvy "friends."
- And, as of December 2010, it finally happened when an addict saw the room, swore, then ran off, later admitting she was a fan of the show and saw it coming.
- Overall becoming subverted in the later seasons. It's becoming more and more common for an addict to see his/her family in the room and know EXACTLY what's going to happen, which prompts him/her to run.
- Self -Harm
- Unwitting Pawn: In many episodes, the addict's family members have fallen into patterns of co-dependent/enabling behavior without realizing it. Taken to its extreme in an August 2011 episode; the addict's grandparents, who were largely responsible for getting her onto the show, called her just before the intervention to tell her what was about to happen. The interventionist then asked them not to participate, and the meeting turned into a shouting match in the street.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Although the crew's intentions are good, given the premise is that the addicts believe they're in a documentary on addiction, when the intervention happens, often the addicts get pissed off at the crew for lying to them and tell them off.