Once upon a time I dated a "Loveline" caller. Only I didn't know it at the time.
This was back when Adam Carolla and Dr. Drew Pinsky co-hosted the show dedicated to callers grappling with a number of issues.
Addiction. Dating. Romance. Family strife. STDs.
You name it. The “Loveline” hosts took calls on it. And did their level best to help out the troubled teens on the other end of the line.
The co-hosts may have changed over time, but Dr. Pinsky’s steady presence never wavered.
Now, the show is prepping to answer its final questions. The last original “Loveline” airs tonight. Former co-host Adam Carolla will return to send the syndicated show off properly. They’ll still work together on “The Adam and Dr. Drew Show,” which expands from two to five episodes a week following “Loveline’s” demise.
It won’t be the same.
My “Loveline” ex wasn’t a teenager. Nor was I at the time. She had gone through some trauma growing up, and it haunted her into her adult years. It impacted our relationship, too, something I realized after the fact.
That’s where “Loveline” came in. I would listen to the radio show while driving to and from my then-girlfriend’s house. I heard caller after caller describing their childhood traumas. “Dr. Drew” and Carolla would explore their stories, connect them to their current questions and suggest therapy as a possible solution.
There were no easy answers. And it’s clear not every caller hung up and made a doctor’s appointment the next day.
I healed from that broken relationship thanks, in no small part, to the information gleaned from “Loveline.”
FAST FACT: In 1998 Dr. Drew Pinsky and Adam Carolla released a “Loveline”-related tome, “The Dr. Drew and Adam Book: A Survival Guide To Life and Love“
What the show did was illustrate aspects of human nature rarely, if ever, explored in popular culture. Sure, Jay Leno dutifully shamed Hugh Grant for his dalliance with a prostitute on “The Tonight Show.” And entertainment shows would cluck their collective tongues over the latest celebrity sex tape “leaked” to the press.
That more or less was it. No other pop culture institution dug into how childhood trauma could color the rest of our adult lives like “Loveline” did. Yes, Carolla would lighten the mood, and Dr. Pinsky didn’t always have the very best answers. Who bats 1.000 when it comes to the human condition?
Still, they addressed subjects that other entertainers wouldn’t go near. Before long-form podcasts became all the rage, they spent precious radio time on topics that needed more than a sound bite solution.
They helped me better understand both my ex and the way I deal with others on a richer emotional level.
And I bet I’m not alone.
Not bad for a radio show ostensibly focused on sex, drugs and other tawdry topics.