Mustache Battle: Mario v. VanVonderen

My roommate and I are addicted to A&E's Intervention. We're the type of sickos who find it a little funny. Sure, sometimes it's heartbreaking, like when a young girl prostitutes herself to buy heroin or some mother's eating disorder is beginning to be mimicked by her infant daughter. These are serious, socially recognized addictions, handled in a stark and very sincere way.

So I couldn't stop laughing when they featured a kid addicted to video games.

It was in the same episode as some housewive with an eating disorder. She had serious deep issues, self-loathing leading to self-destructive behavior, etc. etc. This kid Peter, a sarcastic, scrawly pale 21 year-old with scraggly blond hair, had some issues as well, so it was easy for them to make the connection when he'd play games for 24 hours straight. They had all this footage of him ignoring his parents and little brother and hot lady friend as he jabbed away at the controller, shouted back at the screen and so on. He lived at home and had no job. So sure, it was an addiction. Fit the same patterns as anything else. But on par with booze and meth?

He didn't think it was something he needed to be "treated" for. It took his hot lady friend threatening to not see him anymore for him to finally agree to enter a wilderness survival program, but he went right back to playing games when he got home.

Bottom line, the kid was an idiot. Ignoring the hot girl so he could play Halo? And his parents were idiots - I should hope mine would kick me out on my ass if I lived at home like that. His mom was especially bad, and that's what I laughed at most. She sobbed about "losing" him to the games, and she basically could have said, all sobby and heartbroken, "It's like you've chosen Mario over me!"

The best take on this situation is from the show's forums. As "Sandtyger125" astutely observes,

All I saw on this segment as a guilt tripping mother, a distant father, and a manipulative egotistical female who liked being worshiped by a man with little self-esteem.... This family has serious problems, his video game playing is a symptom of those problems...not the cause.

I saw no evidence of "destructive behaviour". What I did see was a slacker who should have been kicked out of his parents basement for not contributing to the household.

Where's the obessive purchasing of video games? Where is the playing of games past the point of exhaustion? (The [24-hour marathon] DDR record was completely bogus, as that was a specific goal...and could be viewed as the same as attempting to yo-yo for 24 hours consecutively.) There was no evidence presented to the viewer that he didn't have control versus he didn't have anything "better to do".

This segment was poorly done and is a very poor reprisentation of the problem of video game addiction.

Calling "Peter" addicted to video games with the evidence presented IS a joke in this case.

(By the way, Peter's intervntion session was presided over by Jeff "Trustache" VanVonderen. Read more about him on SomethingAwful.)

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