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Staging an Intervention

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You're ruining your life. We're here to do something about that.
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Troper...

We need to talk.

We've put this off for too long. We've watched this going on, and we're not going to take it any longer. Don't try to argue, this is for your own good.

Now, sit down there while we describe Staging an Intervention.

This occurs when a group of friends, family, loved ones of a character who's caught in a web of bad habits, usually addictions of some sort, that are leading them on a downward spiral decide to take action rather than sit there and watch them self-destruct. They confront the individual about their habits, and declare that they're not willing to be bystanders any longer. The phrase "We've made you an appointment, and we'd like you to keep it" may be heard, as they drag said individual off to see a professional counselor or to rehab.

This is an Undead Horse Trope. In serious examples, the person being intervened on has a real problem, and the people doing the intervention have good intentions. However, this is often subjected to parody. The person being intervened on may have no so serious addiction, the intervention may be staged as a form of revenge against the person, or may be Played for Laughs in other ways.

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This can sometimes happen partway through a Descent into Addiction character arc. Contrast Toxic Friend Influence.


Examples

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    Advertising 
  • Comcast used to do ads where this happened as a form of Cable/Satellite Mudslinging.
  • This Doritos commercial has woman come home to find her friends staging one of these for her Dorito cravings. They tear up the house revealing Doritos inside a teddy bear, in her closet, in the chimney, and behind a false wall in the refrigerator. When she cites pregnancy craving, her friend pull up her shirt revealing a pillow and another bag of Doritos.

     Comic Books 
  • Mary Worth had the cast hold an intervention to stop Aldo Kelrast from stalking Mary.
  • In Superior Spider-Man #7, The Avengers stage an intervention when they see that Spider-Man no longer conforms to their standards.
  • Marvel Universe parody comic Marvel Now What had the Watchers holding an intervention for their most famous member Uatu to deal with his habit of intervening in human events. Except that at the end they realize that holding an intervention violates their code of non-intervention!

    Films — Animated 
  • The sharks in Finding Nemo do this when one of them gets a whiff of blood.
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    Films — Live-Action 
  • But I'm a Cheerleader: Megan's family has an intervention to tell her that she's a lesbian and to send her off to anti-gay camp.
  • There's also the inciting incident in The Hangover Part III.
  • In Failure to Launch, the main leads are locked in a room together by their friends, with the guy taped to a chair, so they can work out their problems.
  • It's the main plot of Life of the Party with the twist being that the therapist doesn't show up and the people involved try to wing it.
  • About a third of the way into The World's End, the gang are prepared to confront Gary for his increasingly self-destructive behaviour, after they learn that he lied about his mother's death to get them to go drinking with him. However, they're distracted by an alien invasion. Several aborted interventions occur throughout the film, culminating in a climax that is a bizarre combination of intervention and Humanity on Trial.
  • Meth Head: Kyle's family tried to throw an intervention but it failed.

    Literature 
  • Nicholas Meyer's take on legendary detective Sherlock Holmes, The Seven Per Cent Solution has Sherlock's brother Mycroft Holmes, Doctor Watson and Professor Moriarty arrange to lure Sherlock Holmes to Vienna, Austria in order to receive hypnosis treatment for Sherlock's cocaine addiction from psychologist Sigmund Freud.
  • In X-Wing: Wraith Squadron Myn Donos ends up with massive PTSD after his entire squadron is killed in an Imperial ambush at the start of the book. After he later has a psychotic break in mid-mission, the other Wraiths throw him into a simulated version of the mission in question, forcing him to face the fact that it wasn't his fault and start recovering somewhat.

    Live Action TV 
  • How I Met Your Mother had a whole series of funny interventions, dealing with behaviours from spray-tanning to fake British accents to organizing funny interventions. The following are a list of people the gang have held interventions for, and the reasons why (from Intervention Banner page):
    Barney: frequent magic tricks, specifically those involving fire.
    Barney: not taking off the old man suit.
    Barney: give his father a second chance and have dinner with him.
    Lily: use of fake British accents.
    Marshall: refusing to take off a hat.
    Marshall: constant use of charts.
    Robin: obsession with spray tans.
    Ted: marrying Stella before they knew each other.
    Ted: for his pretentious pronunciations; for example: "encyclopædia". (Not actually seen)
    Ted: love for a married woman. (He actually threw this one for himself.)
    Stuart: for drinking. (This was done with other people)
    The Gang: for hosting too many interventions. (Called the "Intervention" intervention.)
    Barney: for his plan to move in with Quinn. (Called the Quin-ntervention.)
    Robin: her obsession with Barney
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • The guys and Penny stage an intervention for Sheldon to make him get a driver's license.
    • There's also the example where Sheldon is sacked for insubordination and becomes a recluse, weaving obscure garments and surrounding himself with cats: his mother is called in to co-ordinate a rescue.
  • Intervention. Possibly one of the few examples of this being taken seriously.
  • My Name Is Earl: When Earl decides to abandon his list, his friends stage an intervention to make him be good again.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: In The Magical Voyage of Sinbad, The Big Guy proves his strength by wrestling a bear. The SOL crew's dialogue turns it into the bear staging an intervention for the guy.
  • A serious example is an intervention to stop Chris from taking heroin on The Sopranos. It's fairly hypocritical on the part of the mob guys calling Chris out on his addiction, which he doesn't fail to point out. It turns violent when Chris insults his own mother and Paulie beats his face in. Tony himself states that if it were anyone else but Christopher, the "intervention" would have been quite different.
  • On 30 Rock, Jenna puts the idea of an intervention into a few of the other characters' minds in a bid for attention. Things don't turn out so well, when the rest of the cast stages a real intervention.
  • Seinfeld. In "The Pez Dispenser," Jerry grudgingly hosts an intervention for an old friend.
  • Frasier has one in the episode where Frasier is depressed from losing his job.
  • That '70s Show has multiple pot interventions, including one for Hyde's sobriety, of all things. (Leo even goes so far as to say, "You have a problem with drugs.")
  • On Just Shoot Me! has an intervention for Dennis, who has been dating a woman who keeps humiliating him but he can't get himself to leave her. Nina, who apparently has been in the receiving end of some interventions, is glad to be in on the other side of one.
  • In Elementary, after Sherlock takes Joan on as an apprentice her friends do this to her in "Deja Vu All Over Again," thinking that she's looking for a purpose after quitting medicine. They try to pretend it isn't an intervention, but Joan sees right through them after having been a sobriety companion in her second career and helping set up several.
  • In Breaking Bad's first season, Skyler calls the family over for an intervention to try to get Walt to take the chemotherapy treatment (and the money offered by Gretchen and Elliot to pay for it) for his cancer, since Walt was unwilling to do that.
  • Orphan Black: Alison's husband and friends try to stage one about her recent odd behavior (due to her clone Sarah filling in for her), her increasing alcoholism, and torturing her husband when she suspected that he was her secret monitor/handler.
  • Saturday Night Live, in a Weekend Update segment.
    Seth Meyers: NBC announced that Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb will host a primetime special on the network called A Toast to 2013 in which they recount their favorite stories from the past year. But whispering behind his hand shh, it's actually an intervention.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer has the Scoobies stage an intervention for Buffy when her odd behavior towards Spike worries them. It was actually Spike's Buffybot that was acting out of character.
  • In the first part of the first season finale on Leverage, the team confronts Nate, who's been in a drunken stupor through much of it, about his habits. He thinks they're pulling an intervention and are going to drag him off to rehab, but they have other ideas. 'They're going to help him get revenge on those responsible for his son's death.
  • In an episode of Chuck, Casey is starting to get a little stir crazy after being stuck in Burbank for weeks and his daughter mentions the others are about to have an intervention if he doesn't cool down.
  • In one episode of Parks and Recreation, the rest of the cast stages an intervention for Ron after he again comes under the control of his vampy ex-wife, Tammy II (whenever this happens, he turns into a weird sex freak).
  • Supernatural: In an effort to get Sam Winchester off of Demon Blood, his brother, Dean, and Bobby Singer confront him and have him locked up in a rehabilitation chamber. It doesn't stop Sam as he is transported out by Angels as part of their plan to start the apocalypse.
  • Once Upon a Time: After Snow White drinks Rumpelstiltskin's potion to make her forget Prince Charming, she starts to get really mean and unpleasant to the point that the dwarves confront her as a group. It backfires when she decides to go kill the evil queen.
  • In Home and Away, Robbie steps on a discarded needle and believes that he may have contracted AIDS (he did not, but he did not know this). He then starts acting like a jerk toward everyone including his family and girlfriend. It is then decided to stage an intervention including the aforementioned people where Robbie is confronted about his behaviour. Robbie reveals that he knew someone who got AIDS in his old school and was treated like a leper and that was why he started acting like a jerk.
  • Arrested Development:
    • In the pilot, the Bluth family holds one for Michael to get him to take charge of the company after Buster proves unable to perform the task. Michael points out that an "intervention" doesn't work that way, and what they are doing is more of an imposition.
    • In a later episode ("Spring Break-Out"), it comes to light that Lucille has a drinking problem. It's suggested to hold an intervention. Only problem: they already tried that and it went horribly awry. They decided to have a few drinks themselves to "take the edge off" and became completely plastered by the time Lucille showed up.
  • In Key & Peele, one sketch features a baseball player obsessed with "Slap-Ass" (high-fiving while slapping a fellow player on the buttocks). After an impromptu intervention by the rest of his team, it slowly becomes more and more obvious that his addiction to Slap-Ass is ruining his life, including withdrawal symptoms.
  • The Whitest Kids U' Know has a sketch with an off-screen intervention. This is because the joke lies in how the character is tricked into going to the intervention and the fact that that is what it was, so showing the intervention would just make the sketch needlessly long.
  • iZombie: Liv's family, five months after the party at the lake. They think she suffers from post-traumatic stress and thinly disguise the intervention as the return of "potluck Tuesday".
  • Man Seeking Woman: The entire Olympian pantheon stages one for Cupid to confront him about his substance abuse problems and inability to do his job properly.
  • In 3rd Rock from the Sun, the aliens are forced to stage an intervention for Dick after he becomes addicted to collecting plush toys called Fuzzy Buddies. They get help from Mary, Nina, and Mrs. Dubcek, but Dubcek first wants to be sure the intervention's not for her, as apparently she's "Fallen for that twice now."
  • Cougar Town once opened with the Cul-De-Sac Crew staging an intervention for Jules and her habit of lounging around wearing a Snuggie. She just holds out her sleeve and tells them "Feel that!" They feel the sleeve and are visibly impressed. Cut to them all sitting around wearing Snuggies.
  • The final season of The Good Wife has Peter Florrick set aside longtime campaign manager and partner Eli Gold in favor of a new character to help him run a national campaign. Eli spends most of the season trying to embarrass the new campaign manager to get his job back, and in one episode his daughter Marissa, who was born and raised in Israel, tries to stage an intervention by getting him to come to Israel to work for an opposition MP against Benjamin Netanyahu (whom Eli hates). Eli refuses.
  • In the season six premiere of Californication Karen, Becca, Marcy, and Charlie stage an intervention for Hank who has been drinking even more than usual due to feeling guilt over his treatment of an ex-girlfriend that he believes led her to attempt a murder-suicide via drugged drinks (with him as the murder victim.) The others wind up either crying or getting upset about various other issues leading Hank to declare: "Worst. Intervention. Ever." Despite this, he does agree to go to rehab by the end of the episode.
  • The Gang stages an intervention for Frank in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, for his alcoholism. Of course, they don't care about Frank's health, they only care because he's irritating the rest of them by being messily drunk in the middle of the day. Doesn't work very well since the entire gang are also alcoholics- and they host the intervention in the bar. In the end they all just decide to get drunk instead.
  • In Malcolm in the Middle Malcolm gets one of these when he buys a terrible car. Since it's an intervention for cars rather than drinking, instead of getting someone from AA then get someone from Triple-A.

    Web Comics 
  • The webcomic Two Guys and Guy has a subverted intervention in which the goal is to get the character to stop hinting that he has a problem and shut up.
  • In one Penny Arcade comic ("Just When I Get Out"), Tycho assumes that his "friends" are staging an intervention. He makes an emotional confession of his drinking problem and of thinking that nobody cared, and is grateful and optimistic now that they're rallying around him. Actually, they're there to pressure him into joining their World of Warcraft guild, and explicitly don't care about his problems unless they are somehow in the way of him using a computer.
  • Chainsawsuit gets meta with it. In "The BUTT Algorithm", the character gets a Twitter algorithm that recommends posts relevant to his interests... and it gives him nothing but "news about men's butts!" The Rant below the comic states: this page is procedurally generated. no one else is seeing this comic today. it’s about you and how much your dumb butt hangup is ruining your life. this is a web intervention from me and your family.

    Web Original 
  • The ClickHole quiz "Which Character From 'The Office' Are You?" appears to be a normal quiz on the menus of the website, with its thumbnail being a cast shot for the show. Upon actually taking the quiz, however, the heading image is instead a group of people sitting at a table. It turns out these people are staging an intervention for your drinking problem, yet the article is still formatted like a quiz, with the group's statements as the "questions" and your responses as the "answers". The results you get in the quiz are "Michael Scott" (the description of which has nothing to do with the character, focusing more on your drinking), "Roy Anderson" (which the description makes parallels between his drinking problems and yours), "Kelly Kapoor" (which gives a straight character description before pleading you to stop drinking), and "Your Addiction".
  • On Cinema: Tim's friends attempt this in season 8 episode 8 after Tim gets burned all over his body after sleeping after smoking a device given to him by Dr San to which he is addicted. Tim refuses to listen to them and orders them to leave.

    Web Video 

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons:
    • In the episode "Three Gays of the Condo", while waiting for Marge to reveal their weekly family activity, Homer and Bart have this exchange:
      Homer: I hope it's as fun as Pictionary was last week!
      Bart: Dad, we weren't playing Pictionary. That was an intervention to stop your drinking.
      Homer: What? Are you sure?
      (Bart shows Homer a drawing of him drunk while Bart, Lisa, and Maggie cry)
      Homer: Ah, that takes me back.
    • "The Heartbroke Kid" has Bart's family and friends staging an intervention concerning his overeating and to send him to a fat camp.
  • American Dad!:
    • Parodied when Steve becomes addicted to an energy drink, and ultimately starts conning his friends out of money to pay for it. They appear in his room to talk, Steve is touched they want to stage an intervention after all the things he done, but in fact they're just there to violently confront him for cheating them.
    • It's later played straight on three separate occasions. The Smiths have held two for Stan, first to address his anorexia, and then in a later episode for his crack addiction. The third time is for Roger, when his frequently shifting fake personas start to get on everyone's nerves.
  • Family Guy:
    • The Very Special Episode had Quagmire and the other holding an intervention for his sister to get her out of an abusive relationship.
    • One cutaway has an intervention concerning Peter wearing a giant novelty hat for months on end.
    • In "Baking Bad", Brian stages an intervention for Stewie, who is drunk on cough syrup. He also mentions that he's staging another one for Chris concerning his masturbation problem.
  • Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law gets one when he gets addicted to tanning creme. Among the people staging this include Phil (Who has a bunch of cigarettes in his mouth) and X (Who has a gambling addiction).
  • Robot Chicken
    • One sketch had Popeye's friends confronting him over his addition to spinach.
    • A parody of Adventures of the Gummi Bears had the bears holding an intervention for Tummi over his addition to gummiberry juice.
  • After Chozen's rekindled romance with his prison boyfriend Jamal leads to tensions with his friends, they stage an intervention to try and convince him that Jamal's a bad influence.


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