MONDO EXTRAS

You Down With OCD?

by admin January 10, 2006
Intervention: “Gabe And Vanessa”

You guys. This is just...YOU GUYS. You may think you've seen some real knobs on reality TV, but nothing can have prepared you for the human piece of garbage that is Gabe. Gabe, for instance, would probably never have contributed any money to a Hurricane Katrina fundraiser if he thought he could, instead, use it on a few hands of blackjack, which is just one of many reasons you are a better person than he is.

And just so everyone's prepared: I'm going to be saying some mean things about some people who are in a tough position in their lives. I'm not a mental-health professional and I'm not qualified to judge where poor decisions start turning into a disease, so please don't send me any emails saying that addicts can't help it and that blaming them for their mistakes in life is like blaming an asthmatic for wheezing. Maybe it is, and maybe it isn't. A&E put these people on my TV, so I judged them. It's what I do. Would all of my decisions in life stand up to the scrutiny of the North American viewing public? Probably not, which is why when TV cameras show up at my house and film me putting Tide in the dishwasher, I don't sign the release.

So, the show. It starts with a disclaimer about "disturbing" scenes and advising viewer discretion, and then we get some quick cuts of scenes that we will be seeing later in the episode (so I won't spoil them now, even if the show is teasing us with them to make us watch -- as if the promise of having people's lives ruined in front of us wasn't enticement enough), introducing us to "The Gambler" and "The Shopper": "They believe they are being filmed for a show about addiction. They do not know that they will soon face an intervention. By the end of this show they will either enter rehab or...or face exile from their family and friends. Millions of Americans struggle with addiction. Most need help to stop. These are two of their stories, captured live." INTERVENTION!

"Gabe," reads the screen." Ooh, child. Y'all in for something. A kid in his early thirties stands outside a casino. He is quite girly-looking, with long eyelashes, fluffy dyed hair, and chubby cheeks. He looks like a cartoon of a girl, almost -- or maybe like a cartoon cherub. Not that I want to picture him in a white cloth diaper; I'm just saying his face lends itself to that image. Unfortunately. So Gabe -- for it is he -- describes how he feels as he walks into the casino: "I feel like I'm gonna be one of the cool, hip, swingin' Rat Pack type of people -- ring-a-ding-ding, cha-ching, you know?" No. I don't. Also, are you sixty-two? Clearly, Gabe isn't making the right kind of friends hanging out in sixth-tier casinos all the time, which is apparently what he spends most of his time doing these days, or so the Black Screen Of Judgment informs us: "Gabe drives 90 miles from Los Angeles to a casino outside of Palm Springs. He has done it four times this week." Gabe puts his last dollar bill into a slot machine, loses, and bitterly shrugs, "That's it." We watch Gabe play blackjack as he narrates, "Every hand is so important. Every hand is, 'This could be the big moneymaker.'" "Laurie, Gabe's mother" -- a permed blonde, with bags under her eyes so huge that you know Gabe put them there -- says that their family has been "shattered."

"The next morning back in Los Angeles." Grammatically problematic, but I'll allow it. Gabe drives, a cell phone adapter in his right ear. (And can I just ask when that became socially acceptable? Okay, you're in your car, that's one thing. But I was just in Las Vegas over Christmas and I saw at least a dozen dudes who were clearly on vacation, just walking around with those Bluetooth cell-phone things permanently in their ears, the way they might keep a pair of sunglasses tipped back on their foreheads. Are they really so important? Do they really get that many calls? Don't they realize how dumb they look? Or can't they actually worry about that because they're cyborgs?) Gabe: "I feel very strange. I feel almost like this isn't real, this isn't happening." His phone rings. He checks the call display and reports that it's Discover Card calling. Somehow, that's even sadder than knowing everything else we already know about him -- that he couldn't even max out a real credit card to do all his gambling; he was reduced to taking cash advances on his Discover card. Like, next we're going to learn that he started buying appliances on his Sears card and selling them for slot cash.

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You Down With OCD?

by admin January 10, 2006
Intervention: “Gabe And Vanessa”

You guys. This is just...YOU GUYS. You may think you've seen some real knobs on reality TV, but nothing can have prepared you for the human piece of garbage that is Gabe. Gabe, for instance, would probably never have contributed any money to a Hurricane Katrina fundraiser if he thought he could, instead, use it on a few hands of blackjack, which is just one of many reasons you are a better person than he is.

And just so everyone's prepared: I'm going to be saying some mean things about some people who are in a tough position in their lives. I'm not a mental-health professional and I'm not qualified to judge where poor decisions start turning into a disease, so please don't send me any emails saying that addicts can't help it and that blaming them for their mistakes in life is like blaming an asthmatic for wheezing. Maybe it is, and maybe it isn't. A&E put these people on my TV, so I judged them. It's what I do. Would all of my decisions in life stand up to the scrutiny of the North American viewing public? Probably not, which is why when TV cameras show up at my house and film me putting Tide in the dishwasher, I don't sign the release.

So, the show. It starts with a disclaimer about "disturbing" scenes and advising viewer discretion, and then we get some quick cuts of scenes that we will be seeing later in the episode (so I won't spoil them now, even if the show is teasing us with them to make us watch -- as if the promise of having people's lives ruined in front of us wasn't enticement enough), introducing us to "The Gambler" and "The Shopper": "They believe they are being filmed for a show about addiction. They do not know that they will soon face an intervention. By the end of this show they will either enter rehab or...or face exile from their family and friends. Millions of Americans struggle with addiction. Most need help to stop. These are two of their stories, captured live." INTERVENTION!

"Gabe," reads the screen." Ooh, child. Y'all in for something. A kid in his early thirties stands outside a casino. He is quite girly-looking, with long eyelashes, fluffy dyed hair, and chubby cheeks. He looks like a cartoon of a girl, almost -- or maybe like a cartoon cherub. Not that I want to picture him in a white cloth diaper; I'm just saying his face lends itself to that image. Unfortunately. So Gabe -- for it is he -- describes how he feels as he walks into the casino: "I feel like I'm gonna be one of the cool, hip, swingin' Rat Pack type of people -- ring-a-ding-ding, cha-ching, you know?" No. I don't. Also, are you sixty-two? Clearly, Gabe isn't making the right kind of friends hanging out in sixth-tier casinos all the time, which is apparently what he spends most of his time doing these days, or so the Black Screen Of Judgment informs us: "Gabe drives 90 miles from Los Angeles to a casino outside of Palm Springs. He has done it four times this week." Gabe puts his last dollar bill into a slot machine, loses, and bitterly shrugs, "That's it." We watch Gabe play blackjack as he narrates, "Every hand is so important. Every hand is, 'This could be the big moneymaker.'" "Laurie, Gabe's mother" -- a permed blonde, with bags under her eyes so huge that you know Gabe put them there -- says that their family has been "shattered."

"The next morning back in Los Angeles." Grammatically problematic, but I'll allow it. Gabe drives, a cell phone adapter in his right ear. (And can I just ask when that became socially acceptable? Okay, you're in your car, that's one thing. But I was just in Las Vegas over Christmas and I saw at least a dozen dudes who were clearly on vacation, just walking around with those Bluetooth cell-phone things permanently in their ears, the way they might keep a pair of sunglasses tipped back on their foreheads. Are they really so important? Do they really get that many calls? Don't they realize how dumb they look? Or can't they actually worry about that because they're cyborgs?) Gabe: "I feel very strange. I feel almost like this isn't real, this isn't happening." His phone rings. He checks the call display and reports that it's Discover Card calling. Somehow, that's even sadder than knowing everything else we already know about him -- that he couldn't even max out a real credit card to do all his gambling; he was reduced to taking cash advances on his Discover card. Like, next we're going to learn that he started buying appliances on his Sears card and selling them for slot cash.

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