Doc on the box helps medicine go down
He also did the unthinkable, earning grudging respect for Celebrity Rehab
Strictly Dr Drew 8.30pm, Discovery Home and Health
IN five years, when Drew Pinsky is more famous than Dr Phil, let the record show that Review picked it. Or if he isn’t, let it be noted that Review had a weird crush on him. But I think I’m on the ball with this one: they don’t ask anyone to fill in for the host on Larry King Live on CNN.
Somebody needs to be the next Dr Phil because the present one should shut his folksy piehole. Sure, his statethe- obvious approach seemed refreshing at first, but he’s not even a licensed psychologist. This probably doesn’t matter when his advice consists of telling people to stop doing whatever they’re doing that’s bad. ( What’s that? Stop smoking meth? No sooner said than done), but you worry when he sometimes appears out of his depth with serious advice. And when his diet products, which were heavily promoted on his show, were pulled off the market in the US in 2004 after the Federal Trade Commission announced an investigation into their more dubious claims.
Then there was the Britney Spears debacle, in which he turned up at the troubled singer’s hospital room after her breakdown earlier this year and issued statements to the media about her condition.
Dr Drew, on the other hand, despite having the made- up sounding title of addictionologist, is a qualified medical practitioner and an assistant professor of psychiatry who still practises. As that title suggests, he specialises in addiction problems.
But he also gives relationship and life counselling: when he was a medical student he started giving advice to listeners of a radio show, Loveline , which he now hosts.
The idea of teenagers taking advice from a doctor who turns 50 this year may seem difficult to believe, but maybe the attraction is Dr Drew’s sensible advice, offered in an engaging, no- nonsense manner. Or maybe it’s because he’s a silver fox.
He also did the unthinkable in the US, earning grudging respect for Celebrity Rehab with Dr Drew, a reality show following addicts as they received treatment.
Having said all that, Strictly Dr Drew is not his best work. It was filmed in 2006 and he feels too much on the leash; he’s much more animated on his eclectic radio show ( yes, another one), available via podcast, where topics can range from rococo art to giving up smoking.
This is not to suggest Strictly Dr Drew isn’t engaging. It has a good mix of case studies, vox pops and Pinsky’s take on the topic of the day, which has included germs, pain and pregnancy. This episode focuses on addiction and includes an appearance by the always entertaining Danny Bonaduce, who knows a thing or two about substance abuse. But best of all is seeing a man at the helm who doesn’t coat his expertise in cutesy, down- home wisdom.
Healthy host: Drew Pinsky gives his audience sensible advice