Doc on the box helps medicine go down

He also did the un­think­able, earn­ing grudg­ing re­spect for Celebrity Re­hab

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv - Ker­rie Mur­phy

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

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