Recently I mentioned that I like to watch Intervention to someone. She recoiled with horror and said, "Why would you want to watch that?"
I think in her mind, it was like watching a fatal accident for enjoyment.
I can't say that I enjoy Intervention. I don't feel entertained when I watch it, as I do when I watch something like The Amazing Race.
So why do I watch it?
Because I'm interested in the reasons the addict became an addict, their backstory, if you will. What drove them to that self-destructive behavior? In that good old writerly parlance, what's their motivation?
I'm also fascinated by the family dynamics and the family's relationship to the addict. For instance, last night, two brothers were addicted to heroine. The older brother was not, and he kept trying to point out to his parents - especially his father - the extent of the problem. The father basically claimed he loved his sons and you wouldn't kick out somebody with cancer, would you?
Regardless of what the father said or his rationale, what became more and more obvious was that he loved the two younger sons more than the eldest, and always had. It was never really clear why he felt this way, except that the middle son was a good-looking, popular star soccer player and the oldest one was not.
At one point, the interventionist pointed out that the oldest son was doing everything right, but it was the younger ones who got all the attention (and, I think it was implied, the love). I think, from the look on his face, that the older son had been waiting for years for somebody to say that to his father's face.
It was this son, his role in the family, his struggle to get through to his father and the pain he felt as his father's treatment of him compared to his brothers, that will stay with me and perhaps one day become the basis of a hero.
That's why I watch Intervention.