A Dose of Reality: Breaking Bonaduce - Episode 7
by Caroline Roberts
Published: October 23, 2005
A Glimpse Inside Rehab
Rehab isn't working so well for Danny because they require him to pause. He sees it all as New Age meditation crap, but they're trying to get him to reflect on what got him into rehab in the first place. For those who were wondering if VH1 whipped up a rehab solely for Danny, titles flash on screen to state that "The rehabilitation clinic allowed our cameras to document Danny's progress with two stipulations: We agreed not to show any other patients, and we would not directly name the facility." Alas, this kind of treatment doesn't help Danny get over his belief that he is the center of the universe.
This episode also serves as a cautionary tale of what it is like getting off drugs. Despite all the plush surroundings, Dr. Thomas reminds viewers that it is going to get uglier before it gets better. If you didn't like Danny before, you sure won't like him when he is in withdrawal. Denise, the rehab director, makes clear that all the meditation has a purpose: "I'm trying to teach Danny to learn how to slow down. In slowing down, that's when you start to create the change."
Danny isn't especially impressed with Denise's brand of "spiritual coaching," but she explains all the roles in addiction: victims, blamers, and the overinvolved. Despite all the New Age lingo, she effectively describes his relationship with Gretchen. Danny gets all snarky, just like he did with Dr. Garry, trying to outwit and engage the professional: "Is it bad that I'm all of these?"
Gretchen Takes a Deep Breath
The show makes a nice transition from one therapy to another as Gretchen heads to her session with Dr. Garry. Gretchen admits that she is thrilled Danny is in rehab: "I'm so happy that I'm out of the equation." That's right - Danny makes her feels responsible for him. Dr. Garry reminds her that "he's out of your equation." Gretchen laughs, "He's not there to suck all of the oxygen out of the room!"
Cut to Danny learning how to breathe with the yoga instructor. He tells Jo-Ann, the rehab therapist, that yoga was "hell" because it forces him to look inside himself: "I'm trying to go horrible places in my mind instead of good places." Since yoga is hell, Danny calls Gretchen and whines about how he hates the "New Age crap" of rehab. He also asks one terribly cruel question when she says she's been thinking of him often: "You mean that you haven't been thinking of me any other times?" If there's one thing rehab can't fix, it is his possessiveness, and no wonder Gretchen thinks of Danny in terms of suffocation. Danny then tells Gretchen that he will get a day pass because he is desperate to see her. Instead of saying "no," she says, "I don't think that is a good idea." Perhaps it would make for good television, but it is not a good idea for Danny's progress.
Luckily for Gretchen, whose "no" isn't as strong as it should have been, Jo-Ann, the rehab therapist, lets him know that he isn't ready for a day pass. Not only does this counselor have Danny's number, but she also has him on speed dial. She knows he will run for whatever vices he can get his mitts on: "I don't think that you're stable yet." Danny makes it all about his kids, but it's clear that he wants to have sex with Gretchen. Jo-Ann knows it: "He has expectations that his wife is going to be loving with him and that she's going to be sexual with him. If that doesn't happen, how is he going to cope with that?" She may have a girlish voice, but she is a woman of steel. No, he will not be going out for a day pass, and, no, he does not deserve a day pass. He drops the F-bomb, but she won't budge.
As Danny goes on a hike with the rehab facility's "Wellness coach," Gretchen admits to Dr. Garry, "I want to really miss him." She goes out with a friend and tells her, "Even if he's my husband, he's not going to ruin my time." A montage follows of Gretchen having a good time, LA style: shopping, getting her teeth whitened, and spending time with friends. Meanwhile, Danny has to play funny little flutes at the rehab center as the team tries to focus him. They claim that they want him to "tame his mind," but one of those little flutes is bound to get broken by the end of Danny's stay.
Danny's mother then shows up, which is a surprise. She hasn't been a factor in the therapy at all. He jokes, "They don't love me in the drum circle either!" She laughs. Mom definitely doesn't get the fancy techniques at all, but she's just like the women in Danny's life - they fade out whenever he is around. All they do is respond to his needs, and he reacts badly when they don't do exactly as he expects.
Surprise - Danny Acts Like a Child
Gretchen drives in for a family meeting with Danny, but, tellingly, she wants to get it over with as quickly as possible: "I'm hoping that it ends a little sooner. I'd love to do stuff." Gretchen has had a taste of freedom, and she clearly likes it. Yet she still gives Danny a warm greeting, proving that she has room in her heart for both Danny and herself.
Danny wants to spend some time with Gretchen, but they have to go through an activity with George, the rehab counselor, who says, "It starts here. I heal me first, then I can heal my wife and our relationship." Danny looks skeptical, but it is high time that he sees his wife in a new way. Then again, the exercise in which Gretchen climbs up a pole as she is tethered to Danny's "lifeline" isn't going to work out. Gretchen is game to climb up the wavering pole, which she must then stand on. She declares, "It's hard to stand on something that's not stable." Then they make her say what she means to Danny: "It's hard to stand on you and count on you when you're not stable."
Danny responds: "Okay, then, get the F&*% off me." Nice, Danny, real nice. Being stable means that, for once, not everything has to be about you. At this point, it is fair to ask a question about Danny: Does he get jealous when the camera is on Gretchen? Because when the plot clearly turns to her, and whenever they are in scenes together, he does his best to steal her moments. He sure did a good job this time.
He proceeds to rant and rave about being stuck in rehab. As always, it's Gretchen's fault, and as always the camera cuts to him. She takes it too well, and George reminds her that she is a human being: "He just said 'F*&% you' to you! Do you want to live with that?" George, honey, we've been wondering that for some time. He says, "Let him die if he has to." In short, Danny has to do it for himself instead of pinning all the blame for his problems on Gretchen. George is pretty harsh, which proves that the rehab is way more than hearts and flowers.
George has motivated Gretchen, and she informs Danny that she wants proof that he's changed. Dannyt sneers, "I can't win. I'm out of here right now." He stalks off like a big baby. At this point, it is clear that bringing cameras into rehab is not a good idea. As usual, Danny is the focus, and nothing makes Danny nastier and more unpleasant than a camera. But would he exist if there weren't a camera there?