Reality and Reality TV Converge on MTV’s ‘Gone Too Far’

Sometimes you have to do the difficult, that hard thing you would rather not do.  First, you have to look at it, face it head on, when deep down inside you’d rather ignore it.

On the MTV reality series, Gone Too Far (Mondays, 10 p.m.), young men and women, ages 20-25,  face the demon of addiction with the help of family, an interventionist, a drug treatment center and the late DJ AM (Adam Goldstein) as they attempt the difficult task of becoming and remaining sober.

The late DJ AM (Adam Goldstein) of MTV's 'Gone Too Far" (photo: MTV/Fanscape)
The late DJ AM (Adam Goldstein) of MTV's 'Gone Too Far" (photo: MTV/Fanscape)

Shot before the sad, untimely and tragically ironic death of DJ AM from a possible drug overdose, the series has a strangely ominous feel. We watch DJ AM, a former addict, who was, at the time, 9 years sober, interact with the family and the user, who in the premiere episode is Amy,  a 23-year-old heroin addict from his native Philadelphia. He dispenses tough love tempered advice mined from personal experience. We see him in scene after scene. We hear the voice overs. Haunting to say the least. We know the end from the beginning . But this is not ABC’s FlashForward, the network’s new sci-fci series about people, who through some strange occurrence, get a sneak peek into the future. This is real life.

With that said, the series is really MTV’s version of A&E’s Intervention, the only difference being DJ AM’s role as host/mentor.

In the premiere episode, Amy’s brother, sister and mother talk to DJ AM about her history of drug abuse, which began after her father died of a heroin overdose. DJ AM shares with Amy that he started getting high in earnest, after his father, an addict himself, died of AIDS when Adam was 19. We also see graphic videos of Amy’s life as a drug addict.

Like in Intervention, Amy is confronted by her family who love her but are fed up with her using and stealing (her brother has resorted to installing a series of locks to protect his belongings). In the presence of DJ AM and with the help of interventionist, BJ Hickman, Amy is given an ultimatum, go immediately to a drug treatment facility in California for 90 days or leave her mother’s residence for good.

After much complaining and scoring one last high, (the logistics of which were arranged while Amy and the interventionist were at the airport) Amy takes off for California.

For the record, I don’t find the similarities to Intervention troubling, only the lives of these young addicts. Using a successful and well established format worked in MTV’s favor.

I could go on but I won’t. The bottom line is: Should you watch?  Answer: It will be painful. It will be difficult. But you should. You must.

To check out the trailer, click here.

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