Remember those perfect families you’d see growing up? Maybe they’d be your best friend’s family and you would sleep over at their house all the time and just marvel at the functionality of the mother, father and siblings. They’d cook elaborate breakfasts, sit around the kitchen table making clever jokes and even cursing. While sitting there and eating your delicious stack of pancakes, you’d search for cracks in the surface, for some hidden resentment or passive-agressive behavior. You wouldn’t find it though and you’d go back to your house, which suddenly looked drab and scream at your sister and eat watered-down oatmeal. Your mother would kiss you in a rush to work and you’d be left sitting there wanting pancakes and some good banter.
Most of the time, the idea of a perfect family is bullshit because everyone has skeletons in their walk-in closet. But it’s also true that all families weren’t created equal and some come with less baggage than others. Those with the least are the closest to The Brady Bunch ideal. Those are the families that make us feel bad about ourselves.
For Jenna—a 28-year old heroin addict living in Boston, Massachusetts—having the perfect family was always a dream, an unattainable desire. That’s because when she was four, her mother married an evil man who made Jenna and her two sibling’s lives a living hell. Their house became a boot camp, complete with physical and (possibly) sexual abuse. To make matters worse, Jenna’s older sister, Leah, eventually moved out and took their brother with her, leaving her all by her lonesome.
Jenna’s scary because she’s an addict and has lesions all over face, but her mother is even scarier for being aware of the horrible things that were happening and never doing a thing to stop it. In fact, she only divorced the turd when she found he was cheating on her. So let’s get this straight: He can hurt her children, make sexual passes at them, but sleeping with another woman is the catalyst for the break-up? This woman is some sad broken shell of a person. We need to intervene on her deep-rooted shit ASAP. OMG wait, we will because this is Intervention!
So here’s a blurry watercolor of Jenna’s life today. She’s been addicted to opiates for ten years and uses up to seven times a day, she loves her dog, she shoplifts from stores and sells the merchandise back for cash in order to support her habit. After getting the funds, she’ll usually shoot up in the parking lot and make her boyfriend John—a weird dude who looks to be in his 50’s—give her a piggyback ride. It’s bleak.
Her sister, Leah, feels major guilt for leaving Jenna behind when she left the house so now she does unhelpful things like give Jenna gas money to drive to her dealer. At the pre-intervention, Candy says to Leah, “You need to stop enabling your sister. You guys dealt with some serious Flowers in the Attic shit growing up, but you need to let go of the trauma in order to help Jenna.” The mom sits there looking super guilty because, duh, it’s sort of all her fault. Candy suggests she get psychological help and she’s like, “Yeah, I probably should, shouldn’t I?” Candy ends their therapy sesh by saying that they all deserve to be happy.
The actual intervention was interesting. Jenna arrives and doesn’t seem shocked to see everybody. Candy introduces herself and Jenna’s like, “I know who you are.” Candy acts all surprised, which is weird because she’s on a super famous TV show every other week so why wouldn’t Jenna know her? Addicts watch Intervention, Candy. It’s like their thing. They know when you’re coming for them.
Anyway, everyone reads their letters and cries. Jenna storms out for a sec, but it comes off as major bullshit. You get the sense that she’s just been waiting for her family to get their shit together and help her. In fact, when she inevitably returns, she actually says, “Why did it take you guys so long to do this?’ Ha. Predictably, she accepts treatment and flies off into the biter sober sunset to Florida.
Three months later, Jenna is sober and playing with her new addiction, which appears to be horses. She seems a lot more focused and uses big words to describe her sobriety. Jenna and her mother hashed things out during Family Week so things are better on that front too. She’s been sober since September 2, 2010. An alarming detail: She still plans on moving in with her super old boyfriend John. Yikes. See you in the follow-up episode, babe!