Teen TV Critic

What's harder than breaking an addiction? Sitting through a PBS special on addiction!

By Vivian Rose

I was literally falling asleep watching Moyers on Addiction: Close to Home (PBS, check local listings for April repeat dates.) Obviously, this show provides education, not entertainment, but how much is a teenager going to get out of this five-part series if it's too boring to sit through?

Journalist Bill Moyers introduces the series by explaining that his son became an addict and that he created the series to educate others. The first episode is "Portrait of Addiction," an hour-long segment of discussion with recovered addicts.

What they don't show is someone currently struggling with an addiction, which would be much more effective. Someone who's hit bottom in his life--right now--because of addiction should have been included. I'm afraid this series just isn't graphic enough to scare teens--or anyone--away from drugs. For all you know, these "recovered addicts" could be actors (incidentally, Daniel, who is an actor, was the most impressive). They're not proving anything and, except for Wendy, they all looked relatively healthy and scar-free. It doesn't even mention people who lost their lives to addiction!

The next episode, "The Hijacked Brain," was so treacherously technical that only someone with a Ph.D. will be able to make sense of it. They brought in a group of scientists/doctors to give some fancy-schmancy medical talk about how drugs destroy the brain by using up its dopamine. From what I could glean, the basic idea was to show a human brain during and after a drug high; also, that your family history is a tremendously important factor in determining if you are at risk.

Since it was so enormously difficult to follow, I decided to check out their website component,

"Close to Home Online." The site is informative for anyone researching addiction or looking for a way to seek help with one. Kids may be entertained and positively influenced by the anti-drug cartoons and "Overboard," a soap opera comic strip for teens that's being published in weekly installments--though it might may you wish your computer was addicted to speed since it moves through the Shockwave program at a slow crawl!


Totally Teen TV! is delighted to welcome Vivian Rose as a regular contributor. Best known for her daily film reviews on the popular Teen Movie Critic website, the Winslow, Arkansas native began her career at the age of 9 on a local radio show. Now 15, Vivian has been writing celebrity interviews for the Tampa Tribune for the past three years. She also reviews movies with adult anchor Steve Voorhies on the local CBS affiliate KFSM-TV in Fayetteville-Ft. Smith, Arkansas.


To write Vivian about this site,
contact vivianrose@ipa.net (Vivian Rose)

Rent Movies