Obsessed, the little sister of A&E’s Intervention premiered last week with the same general concept as the original, replacing addicts with OCD sufferers and less death. So that’s definitely in the show’s favor — we like anything that doesn’t make us feel like evil voyeurs. But without the life or death stakes, can it possibly make for fascinating TV like its predecessor?
Well, the downside of ditching the drugs is that the drama is also dialed down too (we dare you to say that five times fast). That said, the producers do a good job of showing all the sad and lonely that can accompany OCD. Example: The episode we saw (full episodes here) centered on a girl who couldn’t stand to look at her family’s hands and another with obsessive thoughts about hurting people. You see how hard it is for them to cope in their everyday lives (both had a bagel with cream cheese; is there something the bagel industry isn’t telling us?), and then they start therapy. Part of the therapy involves being exposed over and over to whatever it is that bothers them. For the girl with the hand problem, that was pretty straight-forward, but for the other one… well, her therapy was holding a knife to her therapist’s neck. It made for pretty riveting TV.
But this is where we think Obsessed is going to run into problems; it’s not relatable. While most of us have tiny OCD habits, it becomes really hard to understand where some of these people are coming from; we had to restrain ourselves from yelling “It’s just hands!” at the TV screen. You walk away from the episode feeling more frustrated than informed.
So will this be the breakout hit that Intervention was? No, dadgum. As much as we hate to admit it, Obsessed has a lot more to do with getting well than salaciously delicious drama. That’s just not as much fun. But whether or not the show makes it, it seems like A&E has found it’s I Love The 80s — expect to see this formula repeated ad nauseum.