60 SECONDS WITH SAM METTLER
Photograph courtesy of A&E
Got a minute? Reality-rehab godfather and Intervention creator Sam Mettler talks about the show's inmate fan-base, the upcoming seventh season (premiering Monday at 9 P.M. on A&E), and what he learned from an unwanted contact high.
Q: Intervention was initially criticized as exploiting rather than helping its participants. With six seasons behind you, has that changed?
A: We are required viewing in many treatment centers and for many folks in the prison system. Over the past couple of years, I've started to hear it from folks that were in treatment, from people who were in prison, who've said, "Yeah, we watch every Monday."
Q: How do prisoners find you to tell you that? Should I be worried?
A: I was at a drug-court conferencethat's the kind of place where I'll hear that from someone that has been rehabilitated or from a judge.
Q: You film some pretty intense scenes. Have you had any addict/crew-member incidents?
A: We had a cameraman who was swung at by an addict this season. He didn't connect, but that did happen. And he did end up going to treatment.
Q: Any tips on watching the show without becoming utterly depressed?
A: Watch it all the way through.
Q: You have a background in comedy, as a writer on South Park. How did you make the transition to Intervention?
A: First and foremost I'm a writer, so I understand story whether that be comedy or drama. You know, Intervention, while not a comedy, has the same story elements as anything else: character, conflict, resolution.
Q: I read that you once got a contact high from one of the subjects.
A: We were on the floor of a small bedroom, and the subject was smoking a lot of heroin. We didn't have proper ventilation, and I stood up and fell down. I would equate it to being somewhere with a lot of fumes. You just feel sick to your stomach.
Q: So what will you do differently next time?
A: I guess open the windows. Vanessa Rothschild
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