TLC will debut a new reality show on Wednesday, to go head to head with A & E's Intervention, called Addicted. For the kick-off episode, according to a report in the Sunday Boston Globe, we can look forward to watching a young woman named Amanda shoot heroin in her bathroom.
I am not a media critic. This is not a media critic's blog. I am not a doctor or a social worker or therapist, nor a recovering addict with an ability to understand. I do not watch much reality TV, have never watched Intervention, and will not be tuning in to watch poor Amanda fall under the spell of the cameras, lights and "action" shooting through her veins.
So, for the sake of anyone that wants to jump-in on behalf of TLC's better intentions (TLC President, Eileen O'Neill, calls Addicted "...a series about family, change and hope"), or the tragedy that is Amanda and countless other victims of substance abuse, or the good that might come from bringing their stories to light in an insensitive world, I am here to say only, fine. Sure. If you think so.
For anyone else that may be driving up and down the broad boulevards of television staring out the window, wondering what ever happened to the old neighborhood that was once lined by trees and decorative front yards, Addicted is a good metaphor. The answer is that people moved away and the place got too expensive for those that remained. And, inevitably, this is what happens.
It can remain an open question whether TV can help Amanda -- or New Jersey housewives, or hoarders, or top models, or anyone else issuing a desperate cry for help. Let's hope so. In the meantime, their voices mingle with desperate cries from the media world -- and, not unfittingly, it is sometimes hard to tell the cries apart.