Sunday, August 26, 2012

Intervention Canada Returns To Slice

This is the second season for Intervention Canada which is back on Slice Monday evening at 9.
the series is a Canadian spin off from the highly regarded U.S. series Intervention which runs on A&E and deservedly won an Emmy.
The American show has been a staple for a decade. The Canadian version is relatively new but no less potent.
Both series are often grouped under the umbrella title of "Reality TV" which is not helpful.
In recent years that term has meant watching Kim Kardashian stage and then depart from a sham marriage or watching those Jersey Shore kids get into all kinds of silly shenanigans.
Intervention Canada is something very different, it's completely real and none of the incidents seem staged to this observer.
In the first new hour we meet up with Tammy who is 26 and a crack cocaine addict.
Once the prettiest of little girls she grew up with two drug addicts as parents. As a pre-teenager she was all about protecting her two younger sisters from these abusive people. One sibling remembers being left in the cellar for a week with little food.
This is not an easy hour to watch. Tammy has been spiraling downwards. We actually see her smoking her coke pipe on multiple occasions and visiting and staying at a crack house for days on end.
She's lost control of her own children because of her addictive ways. But she has a boyfriend who is trying to help her.
The interviews conducted with her parents and sisters and best friend show the type of atmosphere that contributed to her problems. Both mother and father are addicts and have made little attempt to go straight.
And interspersed are shots of Tammy sliding lower and lower --she no longer looks after her appearance and descends frequently into screaming rants. Long term coke use has damaged her ability to think rationally. To make money she has been stripping which she considers just one step above prostitution.
I guess at its most basic level Intervention is a kind of self help program. Because the addict has to want to get better. Tammy faces a descending fate of malnutrition, death by heart attack or stroke or even a sort of drug induced madness.
The first half hour introduces us to the family. Then interventionist Andrew Galloway comes in and convenes a full family mass interview. The recriminations are fast and furious.
But Galloway is a soothing presence --he's been in recovery for a decade and knows the hard work being sober entails.
The series is very difficult at times to watch, there's no tacked on happy ending.
Tammy is later shown at a treatment centre but her problems will be with her for the rest of her life.
The stats say one in ten of us has an addictive personality.
Tammy's addiction is shared by thousands of young people in Canada's huge urban centers and Intervention Canada shows us the step-by-step method used to help ease her into recovery.
Prescription drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities as the leading cause of accidental death.
It is made by Open Door Co. and Insight Productions and is highly recommended. Just don't call it Reality TV.

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