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Where has 'Family Therapy' been our whole lives?

Season 1 | Episode 1 | “Family Therapy Begins” | Aired Mar 16, 2015

All this time, you didn’t even know you needed Family Therapy in your life. You were just wandering around with a D-list celebrity-size hole in your heart. Thank you, VH1, for continuing to make shows that simultaneously make me feel both better and worse about the human race.

The latest installment of trainwreck TV is Family Therapy with Dr. Jenn, and it’s already fulfilling every single emotional deficiency I’ve ever had. All I need to feel good about myself is 45 minutes alone with this show, and everything is right with my mind.

Overly critical mother? Who cares? I have the extreme weirdness that is Tiffany “New York” Pollard and her mother, “Sister” Patterson. Emotionally unavailable boyfriend? So what? Bam Margera can distract me with his brokenness. Passed over for a promotion at work? To hell with it. Dina and Michael Lohan will make it all go away as they debate the logistics of their domestic abuse.

There’s something so satisfying about watching shows like Family Therapy and Couples Therapy. Dr. Jenn, for one, is kind of a badass, and handles antics with more poise and grace than you’d think is humanly possible. Also, my innate sense of self-actualization allows me to feel superior to the folks on my screen. That’s definitely not the right way to live my life, but watching these celebrity(ish) characters devolve into their worst selves makes me feel better about not changing my sheets in over a week.

All I’m saying is that VH1 gets me—and face it, they get you too. They know how to mix a volatile, psychologically questionable, pitiful cocktail just right: so that it packs a punch, but you’re not too hung over in the morning. One is never enough, but sometimes it’s one too many.

Meet the cast of Family Therapy with Dr. Jenn:

Tiffany “New York” Patterson and Michell “Sister” Patterson,
Famous for
Flavor of Love and I Love New York.

Sister Patterson is bananas. She is controlling, manipulative, critical, and high-strung. She wants to manage Tiffany’s life, down to how and when she breathes … and when she can’t, she becomes angry and hostile.

She dominated the first episode of the show with her psychic antics and loud-mouth shenanigans. She confronted Kami, the house worker, first, then quickly moved on to Dr. Jenn, Dr. Conte, and then Dina Lohan.

I’d really like to complain about Tiffany and Sister Patterson, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. They are magnificent. Together they encapsulate everything that is wonderful (or maybe terrible) about reality TV.

Sister Patterson’s clairvoyance and spirit-reading is enough to sustain its own show, in my opinion. But once she starts beefing with (literally) everybody, she’s won my heart. There may as well not even be anybody else on this show.

Best quote from Sister “I’m going to whisper this, so no one hears us. If you get pregnant, I’m going to TAKE your baby.”

Dina and Michael Lohan
Famous for:
screwing their children up—most notably their daughter, Lindsay Lohan.

It doesn’t seem like there is anything left to mine from this cesspool of a relationship (even Sister Patterson gets the heebie-jeebies from Dina’s aura), but leave it to Dr. Jenn to get down to business.

There’s so much toxic sludge in between these two that I (almost) can’t even enjoy it. Once their bickering devolves into a dissection of the details of their past violence and drug use, I’m hooked. I want, nay, need to see how their relationship pans out.

Best quote from Dina: “I don’t know how to process getting punched in the face, over and over.”

Bam and April Margera
Famous for: being a globally ranked skateboarder and from Jackass, the show and movie.

Here’s where things take a turn for the sad. It’s hard to enjoy somebody else’s sh-tshow when it’s completely wrapped up in addiction and grief. Bam is a raging alcoholic. He’s deep into his disease, and it’s obviously controlling his life. So much so that he should be doing a stint on Intervention instead of Family Therapy.

His self-destructive tendencies have taken a much darker, suicidal turn, after the death of friend and costar Ryan Dunn. He is practically oozing pain, and you can barely even look at him without pangs of empathy and compassion taking over.

His poor mother is suffering right along with him, but it’s almost worse for her because she doesn’t have any substances to dull her worry and pain. It’s a horrible situation to watch—Bam falling down in the street, conducting the interview with a broken and bleeding hand, slurring and stumbling through lunch with his mom. I can’t laugh at him.

Best quote from April: “I just want him to get healthy. We, the whole family, are worried about Bam.”

Brittany and Briana Dejesus
Famous for:
16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom 3.

These sisters are awful to each other. Dr. Jenn calls it sibling rivalry, but it goes far beyond that. They both discovered they were pregnant around the same time, but Briana decided to have an abortion, while Brittany kept her baby.

Now the sisters live with their single mother, raising Briana’s baby, and the resentment is like an elephant between them. They might as well be hurling grenades at each other every time they open their mouths to speak.

This has potential to get very Bad Girls Club very quickly, but I can’t lie—that would be amazing. I’m not rooting for the sisters to fight or anything, but there’s no drama like sister drama. And let’s just admit it: We’re all here for the drama.

Best line from both: Briana: “You’re SOOO MEAN!!!” Brittany: “You’re so sensitive.”

I didn’t write about the Dashes … more to come next week. Stay tuned.

As you can tell, I’m excited to write about this juicy mess. What did you love this week?

Family Therapy airs Wednesdays at 9/8C on VH1.