TV Review: ‘Lindsay’

Lindsay featuring Lindsay Lohan on OWN

OWN has sought to surround “Lindsay” – its docu-series devoted to Lindsay Lohan – with a patina of seriousness and quality, from touting the involvement of director Amy Rice (“By The People: The Election of Barack Obama”) to preceding it with a showcase in which the channel’s namesake interviews Russell Brand about addiction. But seriously, who’s fooling whom? In the best Hollywood tradition, the Oprah Winfrey-Discovery network and the tabloid-plagued actress are using each other, the irony being that if Lohan stays on the straight and narrow, she’ll yield a show as boring as Sunday’s not-screened-in-advance premiere.

Frankly, one appreciates Lohan’s efforts to stay clean and sober. But it shouldn’t come as a newsflash to anyone – starting with Oprah – that the dramatic needs of reality TV and straightening out her life are mutually exclusive.

The show picks up last August, right after Lohan has finished her sixth stint in rehab. While alcohol, she says, has been her drug of choice, it’s clear another kind of high comes from staying in the spotlight.

The opening runs through Lohan’s spotted history of arrests and slip-ups, while incorporating the “backstage” portion of her Oprah interview, before filming the series began.

Mostly, the show is filled with meta moments. There’s the spectacle, for example, of the cameras filming Lohan being photographed by the paparazzi staking out the hotel where she’s living (they become what amount to extras throughout); or her assistant, Matt Harrell, saying the actress knows the OWN project amounts to a last chance, and thus that she won’t screw things up.

Still, it’s hard to see what screwing up would entail in this context, other than falling completely off the wagon, while Lohan’s sober coach, Michael Cormier, keeps a watchful eye on her.

So what’s left? Lindsay talking to the camera, without makeup; Lindsay visiting her mom, Dina; Lindsay trying on hats; Lindsay looking for an apartment; Lindsay having a minor meltdown at a modeling shoot.

At this rate, Linday watching paint dry is a pretty good subplot for episode three.

Frankly, “Lindsay” says far more about OWN than it does about Lohan. Having already handed a fair amount of time over to Tyler Perry, the channel continues to drift farther away from the “Oprah” brand in pursuit of hits.

That’s worked, to a point, but it also dispels the notion that Oprah’s magic touch would somewhat make broccoli TV palatable.

“The vultures are waiting to pick your bones,” Oprah tells Lohan in the “this season on” tease, as if – in this context – her channel isn’t taking a taste. In that respect, “Lindsay” represents another form of addiction, and spinning things any other way is simply putting lipstick on it.

TV Review: 'Lindsay'

(Series; OWN, Sun. March 9, 10 p.m.)

Production

Produced by Pilgrim Studios with OWN.

Crew

Executive producers, Craig Piligian, Nicholas Caprio, Johnny Gould; co-executive producers, Amy Rice, Ralph Wikke, Mitch Rosa; director, Rice. 60 MIN.

Cast

With: Lindsay Lohan

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  1. BobbieFisher says:

    It’s not about whether Lohan is sober or not anymore. Watching someone who is so self-centered, so self-absorbed and who has absolutely zero self-awareness can be tedious — and yet it can also be interesting to see this kind of psyche of Lohan’s in her natural habitat (a hotel room) seemingly without a clue as to how she got to this point. Unrepentant of her crimes (“they just wanted to punish me” re her jail stint), uncaring of the people she lives and works with (“I’m learning to do everything myself now”) as they cut to her haggard, yet suited, assistant as he moves a warehouse of junk to another room in the same hotel, yells at her real estate agent with a rage that makes one remember why directors might not want to hire her – and watching her talk about living her life with “integrity” while she blows off a lingerie shoot she promised to do for a friend because of a few lines, blows off her film’s premiere in Venice, blows off even an AA meeting because of 4 paps (not 40) outside her hotel (which didn’t stop her from going shopping). It’s actually interesting to see this kind of self-deception, total lack of empathy, downright meanness from a human being who has been given so many chances (and two million dollars). It’s not about her sobriety anymore – it’s about a rotten, entitled person who starred in a movie called Mean Girls – who ironically is as mean and nasty as they come. But still – the promise of eight episodes of this mega-conceit will wear any good will offered down to a yawn and a click of a remote in no time.

  2. I think you meant to say the fantasy docudrama about Obama, certainly not the truth. Given that piece of propaganda and this lame show, I do not think Amy Rice is anyone to brag about.

  3. Christine says:

    The paint drying analogy is exactly what I thought watching the first episode! It was very boring and after watching 30 minutes of it, I asked myself “why did I want to watch this again?” and then changed the channel. I can’t believe there is going to be 8 episodes of this. How will they fill the time?

  4. Kwriter says:

    This is OWN on a Sunday. Everything the network has put out tells us exactly what to expect: a story about Lindsay’s recovery. Fans don’t anticipate E! and WeTV manufactured drama. Thank God camera’s aren’t waiting inside rooms for produced dinner meetings w/ carefully crafted talking points. Amy Rice gets to change the perception of celeb-reality. So far, I love her eye.

  5. Couldn’t agree more. It felt like the longest hour of TV I have ever experienced – utterly pointless, lacking insight, purpose, humor, or drama. She comes across as self-involved and vapid, and it makes The Tatum O’Neill train wreck on OWN look like Ibsen in comparison!

  6. Thanks, Brian. Was looking forwarding to watching it so I’ll DVR it now.

  7. PETER says:

    Good job, Brian.

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