Alcoholism Makes Good TV
Beverly Hills Real Housewife actress Kim Richards, better known for her movie career in the 1970’s, was admitted to alcohol addiction treatment. The reality show depicted an extremely moody individual who slurred her words most of the time and had trouble forming relationships. She always seemed to be in the middle of drama, although extremely conflict avoidant.
Viewers watched the train wreck of alcohol addiction unfold, speculating that Richards had more of a problem than what was being depicted. The challenged family dynamic presented both a defense and attack, depending on the situation. One episode depicts her younger sister yelling at her in an uncontrollable rage. In another episode, her sister is defending her after being attacked about her sobriety from a guest on the show.
The exploitation of addicts and alcoholics makes for good television; however, this serious family disease is not that entertaining when it is your reality. It is unfortunate that programs like this are using the disease of addiction to increase ratings.
Talk shows, educational shows and reality television are all culprit to this trend. Public education about the disease of addiction is important and the media can be an effective tool. Quality control in television programming should protect active addicts from making poor decisions, such as being recorded and broadcasted on television while they are still struggling with acceptance of their disease.