The folks at Freeform (formerly ABC Family) reached out to us a couple of months ago to let us know about a new show, Recovery Road, based on the book by Blake Nelson. We were skeptical at first; we didn’t want to reinforce the idea that we’re only here to talk about drugs or that we’re only here for sober teens. But just like our mamas taught us, you shouldn’t judge a book – or the TV show based on it – by its cover.
The show is only two episodes in, but we’re officially fans, and curious to see where this thing goes. Putting aside the main subject matter for a second, the cast includes several familiar faces, there is serious romantic intrigue simmering and lots and lots of good old-fashioned DRAMA (which we’re totally down with when it’s scripted).
To get you all caught up, everything centers around Maddie. On the surface, you’d think she has it all – good grades, a great boyfriend, a tight group of friends – but underneath she’s kind of a mess, and starting to slip. Within the first 10 minutes of the first episode, Maddie gets busted for drinking during school, which lands her in detox and a sober living facility. The first episode is basically all about Maddie grappling with her new circumstances, dropping hints about her backstory (her dad died when she was younger, mom is super busy) and introducing us to the show’s larger and endearing cast of characters.
If last night’s episode is any indication, the reason this show makes so much sense for us to talk about is that it ISN’T just about drugs either. Yes, substance abuse is the common thread and the source of so much drama, but as the layers begin to get peeled back, we think we’re going to see that drugs and alcohol – and other, more obvious types of self-harm – are actually distractions from or coping mechanisms for characters’ real issues. But of course those types of coping mechanisms have a bad habit of becoming an issue all their own.
Even though it’s fictional and dramatized – and everyone is flawlessly good looking, even when they’re trashed – the issues the show depicts are REAL, and we’re glad someone’s calling more attention to them. One of the character’s in last night’s episode delivered a total burn about cautionary tales and unhappy endings. Problem is, the person delivering that line clearly hadn’t learned anything from said cautionary tale. Recovery Road is shaping up to be an entertaining ride, but we hope people take its lessons to heart too.
We’ll be tuning again next week. Watch along and join us in the conversation on Twitter (#RecoveryRoad)!