A LOOK AT SOBRIETY ON TELEVISION
Addiction and recovery is something we’ve seen a lot in recent years, whether it’s regular series on addiction, like Intervention, or shows where addiction and recovery is part of the storyline. Now here’s a look at current shows that deal with addiction and recovery that you can watch, enjoy, and perhaps even learn from.
Under-Rated Shows About Sobriety
On the site Inlander, the TV critic Bill Frost found the show Flaked under-rated. The Netflix series followed an alcoholic who “lies to his AA compatriots, and sleeps with clueless women half his age – but redemption is only a Pavement song away.”
The lead character, Will Arnett, had his own struggles with sobriety and he told the Toronto Sun, “It’s scary. Especially when it’s relevant to your own life, and you’re offering that kind of brutal honesty to an audience…Sharing on Flaked wasn’t my original aim, but I felt it was incumbent on me to be as honest as I could through this character.”
Another under-rated show that Inlander enjoyed was Recovery Road, which took a look at teens in recovery. The show deals with a kid in high school who has to attend a sober living facility for 90 days. “Recovery Road’s writing mostly transcends the usual teen soap angst,” Inlander writes. “It was insta-cancelled.”
Another show that didn’t reach a vast audience but was still well regarded is Loudermilk, which Inlander calls “sneakily funny and smart, with dashes of heart and High Fidelity music nerdliness.”
Loudermilk was created by Peter Farrelly, one half of the team that created Dumb and Dumber, but Loudermilk gives audiences a grumpy but appealing and likeable character who is trying to stay sober. And while some critics didn’t find the show completely authentic, the sincerity is undoubtedly there, and it’s carried over to people who have enjoyed the show.
Sobriety in the Sitcom World
Comedy can certainly be a useful Trojan horse to sneak through good messages, and one show that features the recovery process that critics enjoy is Mom. Inlander feels that “despite its hacky laugh-tracked setting, Mom tackles dark material, addiction and beyond, consistently hilariously.”
One of the Best Addiction Reality Shows
Addiction reality shows have often come under fire for being allegedly exploitive. Dr. Drew certainly came under a lot of fire for the show Celebrity Rehab, and Inlander also feels the show Intervention is “exploitive as hell – how else could [it] last nearly 20 seasons?” Intervention has done a lot to show the world the realities of addiction in a straight-forward, matter of fact way. (The show is also oddly addicting in itself, and I often binge watch it for long periods of time.)
While whether a show is exploitive or not can often be in the eye of the beholder. But the more that addiction and recovery can be shown to the general public, the more people can understand it, and potentially get help. The fact that so many shows, whether they’re fictional or are reality programs, are dealing with addiction, and are possibly educating millions on the nature of the disease, is a good thing.
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