One of the Better Reality Shows- Not as exploitative as expected,
So far in this show's run, which isn't over yet as of the time this review is written, the show hasn't really been as exploitative as I had expected. I thought this show would ultimately sugar-coat the whole rehab process. Especially with the show being on VH1, my intuition told me that "Celebrity Rehab" would be this BS game show-type reality show similar to "The Surreal Life" or "Celebrity Fit Club".
In a lot of ways, I think VH1 executives may have wanted "Celebrity Rehab" to be that kind of show. Fortunately, it didn't turn out to be that way, especially with Dr. Drew Pinsky as the head doctor on the show. Dr. Drew is a guy with a good sense of humor, as anyone who has heard the radio show "Loveline" knows. However, he is also a good, smart doctor who takes his field of work seriously despite his celebrity status. When you see him on camera, you can tell that he really cares about his patients, and is doing this reality show to help them and others who may be watching. He does all this without constantly looking into the camera or looking down on his patients. I think that approach to rehabilitation is unorthodox, but it appears to be effective.
I think the main focus of this show is redemption. You look at these B and C-list celebrities, and you see humans, especially in the case of Jeff Conaway. Conaway made a brief and belligerent appearance in 2006 on the third season of "Celebrity Fit Club", and it was made quickly aware to millions of viewers that he had a drug problem that affected everyone around him. On "Celebrity Fit Club", he came off as a jerk, but he's in the process of redeeming himself on "Celebrity Rehab". It is a shame seeing him in a wheelchair because of his back problems, but it's a relief that he's making efforts to improve himself. He has said on the show that this show marks his eleventh time in rehab, but hopefully this stay will be his last.
This show is a good change for VH1 amidst the usual "Best Week Ever" and other shows which involve mostly celebrity gossip. It's educational as well as not sugar coated. I sure hope the celebrities on this show improve in the long run. Of course there are some who are having an easier time than others, but it's good to see most of them trying to improve. Above all, this show, along with "Celebrity Fit Club", is one of the few TV shows, let alone reality shows, that I actually look forward to seeing every week.