Lessons learned from episode two of VH1's most courageous-est new reality show: 1) Jeff Conaway is not faking (I doubted him before) and 2) Daniel Baldwin is an asshole. As expected based on the premiere, those patients who actually have problems–and aren't just here to be on TV–look like they're having a pretty tough time. Those looking for resume builders are just kinda hanging around. Very little of this makes for terribly compelling television, at least not yet. But let's talk about what actually is exciting.
Jeff Conaway, who apparently you comment board nerds know from Babylon 5. Last week I posited that he might be faking, and I stand heartily corrected. This guy needs some serious help–the kind you can't get on TV. He started this week's episode in the hospital, shaking, and ended this week's episode yelling at Daniel Baldwin to "take it back!"–"it" being the accusation that Conaway brought drugs into treatment. (Which actually sparked a funny moment–former American Idol girl Jessica Sierra basically said, "Why didn't I think of that?")
And then there's Daniel Baldwin, master of the fucking obvious. Jeff's in the hospital, so Daniel suggests–as if it's the most original, important idea ever floated–"Let's get him a card!" Baldwin is surely the life of any party populated by vapid no-nothings, and fortunately, Celebrity Rehab fits the bill. If you don't believe me, ask porn star Mary Carey, who on this episode talked about how she got "really religious for two weeks."
More proof that Daniel is an idiot: He says to Seth "Shifty" Binzer, lead singer of an essentially defunct band whose one-hit album came pre-packaged with buyer embarrassment and which comprises 31% of all used-CD store dollar bins, "This must be tough for you. You're successful right now." Maybe it's just the weighty Baldwin voice, but he loads every sentence with import that it doesn't deserve. It's a cruel joke that someone with such a booming voice has absolutely nothing intelligent to say.
But back to the rehab, which is fully half the reason for us gathering here (the other being celebrity). There's group talk. There's one-one-one. There's an insanely meta moment in which Brigitte Nielsen and Joanie "Chyna" Laurer videotape each other's confessionals–while a full fucking camera crew documents the whole thing. I kept waiting for another camera to zoom out, revealing another crew, and another, and another, until finally we pull back far enough to realize that this whole world being filmed is just a bug living on a coke flake on Jeff Conaway's $20 bill.
Back to Jeff, CR's fucked-up break-out star. Dr. Drew won't let his girlfriend come visit two hours early, so he decides to quit. They make him stay. He breaks down and screams and says he's tried to kill himself 21 times. I keep hoping Brigitte will call him "foofy-foof," but she never does. He stays. This is all build-up for the big "Next week on " when we're going to meet a new rehabber (some Ultimate Fighting guy) and hopefully witness a brawl between Tweedledumbest (played by Baldwin) and Tweedledrugs (played by Conaway). They've got six more episodes to build some kind of arc. Let's go, Drew, we're counting on you to wring some courage-osity out of this thing!
-- Jaimee Foxworth did not say a single word on this entire episode. I imagine she's just going to wait for the VH1 paycheck and go buy a fat bag of weed.
-- Drew to Jeff: "I need you to pee standing up."
-- What's on Shifty's tattoo they keep blurring out? A naked woman, or something even more offensive–perhaps the lyrics to "Butterfly"?