Full disclosure: I watch some really questionable television. I mean, I also watch the good stuff. (I was happier to see Don Draper last night than I would be to see some family members.) But the shitty stuff? I'm sad to say I look forward to it week after week, season after season -- enough that if the Nobel Prize committee considered bestowing an award upon Andy Cohen, while I wouldn't campaign for him to win, I'd accept why it was happening. For better or for much (oh God, so much) worse, I don't think anyone has recently shaped our aspirational culture more.
So when I heard there was going to be a reality show following Lindsay Lohan as she pretended to navigate her faux sobriety, I literally programmed the premiere date into my phone so I wouldn't miss it. The first night it was on, I settled on my sofa, microwave popcorn by my side, practically breathless with anticipation.
It's not that I'm invested particularly in Lindsay Lohan, but like any other person on the planet with a modicum of taste, I loved Mean Girls. And the only thing I like to read more than Salinger is US Weekly, so I was excited for glamorous dish and heightened drama from a girl I now believe will always be known, at best, as a fallen star.
What I didn't expect was that the show would be boring. I didn't know I'd be watching Lindsay untangle necklaces while sitting on her hotel room floor while she lived like a hoarder. I had no idea that the documentary-style production would include riveting text onscreen that informed the viewer of how many days Lindsay had spent looking for an apartment. I appreciated (and by saying “appreciated,” I mean “laughed at”) the stark white font used in the quest to make this horseshit appear probing, but as the episodes roll on, it's pretty clear there's nothing to probe or to discover.
Because here's the thing: Lindsay Lohan is the worst.
Oh, you're not watching this drivel so it's hard to understand what I'm trying to say? First, please forward this to the four other people in the continental United States besides me who are tuning into this show, and then get comfortable and allow me to elaborate.
Let's start with the opening shot of the most recent episode. Lindsay is sitting on the floor, a fedora atop her head, her lips puffed to a normal person's approximation of total capacity. She is holding a cigarette and controlling the camera that zooms jerkily in and out, the lens never leaving her face. Her eyes fill with tears. It was a bravura performance, and I almost applauded -- until I remembered this was supposed to be real.
What was she crying about? The footage is never explained, but I'm pretty sure it's because she knows she's a total asshole.
The show's concept is about watching a former addict navigate through sobriety -- except girlfriend gets offended every time someone brings up her possible relapses on camera. So instead the viewers get to watch Lindsay bail on a modeling assignment, not show up for a cover shoot, miss a meeting with a Sony executive, fire her Oprah-hired Life Coach (I'm fascinated as to how someone becomes a Life Coach, but that's an examination for another day), blame her harried assistant for paparazzi, when maybe it was her own show's camera crew that alerted the TMZ guy that she's in the vicinity, and croak her way through moronic statements about how her meditation time is "sacred."
(I'm leaving out the footage she shot herself at 7:20 am at her apartment on the morning of her rescheduled cover shoot where she's surrounded by young Russian men, one of whom was dared to get his ear pierced with a knife. This is something all sober people do, yes? Because I don't believe for a second that any of them were coked up -- that would be silly of me.)
Her management won't fight for her, she wails in a prior episode. And all this show is doing is validating her management's fine judgment.
Look, I get that she was raised by wolves. Her parents appear on this show and they're awful in so very many ways. Watching her bleached blonde mother try to pretend she's got an inspirational story to tell via a ghostwriter for her new memoir makes me wish I didn’t know how to read and seeing her father -- who records phone conversations with his crying daughter and then leaks them to Radar Online -- wax parental makes me want to call my parents and thank them for not being douchebags. But you can't blame your entire life on your parents sucking, and that seems to be the space Lindsay is in. Besides, accepting responsibility for her own actions would require some self-awareness, and what with her gifted Prada handbags and the scented candles she lights to feign spirituality, there's simply no room in that apartment for accurate thought.
And did I mention she lives in a duplex?
I could care less that she's clearly either not sober or that she soon will definitely not be sober. At this point, do any of us believe Lindsay Lohan is on the straight and narrow? Do we even want her to be?
I'd hop on board with wishing her well if she wasn't such an entitled brat, but that's all that's coming through on this show. And I don't buy the blame-the-editing defense. The footage was certainly assembled to create storylines and tension, but the footage is real. She missed those meetings. She wouldn't get out of bed until 4 pm while movers were at her home. She wagged her tattooed finger at the camera, admonishing the photographer for Elle Indonesia not to rely on natural light for shooting after missing her call time because she was (hung over) sleepy. That's all real, and yet it's still as exciting as watching Botox dry.
There's two episodes to go, and I'll see them through because there's some satisfaction I gain from hate-watching this show, but suffice it to say, I dislike Lindsay now. I don't even believe she's a great actress anymore. If she were, maybe six episodes into this produced reality, I'd believe she was not to blame for being the woman she has become.