Lindsay Lohan's OWN reality series debuted Sunday
The hourlong episode covered Lohan's move to New York
She was accompanied by a sober coach as she tried to adhere to a clean lifestyle
After all the arrests, court appearances, trips to jail and rehab stays, Lindsay Lohan has turned to reality TV.
On Sunday night, the 27-year-old made her latest comeback attempt in the OWN network’s “Lindsay,” a docu-series that came across in its first episode as part “E! True Hollywood Story” and part “Intervention,” with a dash of “Hoarders.” (Lohan, apparently, gets rid of nothing.)
The premise is to follow Lohan around as she tries to piece her personal and professional life back together after six years of documented turmoil. And so last summer, less than a week after she completed a 90-day stay at a Malibu rehab facility – a place that actually aired commercials during the show – Lohan sat down with OWN’s Oprah Winfrey for an interview and began filming.
The trailer indicated that there would be no glossing over Lohan’s flaws and missteps, as crew members and OWN staff openly commented on the ways Lohan was making production difficult. But in its first hour, viewers didn’t get any of that.
Instead, the show tracked the former child star as she messily packed up and moved from Los Angeles to New York, tried to find her own place, saw her younger sister walk in a fashion show and squeezed in an impromptu shopping trip. Her jewelery needed to be organized, and then she needed to change hotel rooms.
Other than a brilliant “Fetch” T-shirt being flashed at one point, that was about as exciting as it got.
Yet in the midst of all that minutiae, the core of “Lindsay” is the star’s focus on sobriety. Lohan’s numerous low points are tallied throughout the episode, and she’s frequently accompanied by a sober coach. If nothing else, OWN’s “Lindsay” wants to be the portrait of a young artist in recovery.
Does it succeed? Maybe for fans of Lohan’s (and she does still have them, as “Lindsay” proved by chatting up strangers on the street about the actress) or the compassionately voyeuristic.
“I know there r much more important things going on in the world,” media personality Jacque Reid tweeted Sunday, “but I am very curious to see if Lindsay can save herself.”
In the beginning of the episode, Lohan at least seemed to be on her way there, saying during a one-on-one confessional that “there’s nothing left in having a drink for me.”
“There’s no situation that I haven’t been exposed to,” she went on. “So maybe trying the other way for me, which is living with integrity and living in control of my own self, that’s the life I want now.”
But when faced with paparazzi, the stress of moving or a lingerie photo shoot that doesn’t go as planned, the actress appeared on the brink of breaking down. For The Daily Beast’s Kevin Fallon, those moments are what makes “Lindsay” worth watching.
“What ‘Lindsay’ succeeds most at is, for the first time in years, convincing us that Lindsay Lohan isn’t a name in an Us Weekly headline or a joke in a late-night monologue or a character in a drama so wild it can’t possibly be real life,” Fallon writes. “She’s a human. She’s a very fragile, volatile, slightly selfish human. But she’s one who’s working really hard to find peace in the eye of the very large, very tumultuous storm that surrounds her and is causing those dangerous traits.”
As for everyone else, there’s little draw outside of the opportunity to sharpen one’s snarky barbs.
“A small part of me died when I found out this is more than a one episode show,” tweeted The Hollywood Reporter’s TV critic Tim Goodman, while Entertainment Weekly’s Erin Strecker tried to rustle up a silver lining.
“Encouraging sign #1,” Strecker said. “She finally got a driver.”
Actress Chloe Grace Moretz, meanwhile, couldn’t even joke about what she was watching on Sunday: “this is just genuinely sad,” she posted on Twitter. “I feel bad.”
Lohan had to know when she signed up for “Lindsay” that she was leaving herself wide open to this wide-ranging barrage of reactions, especially to comments like the one she made about a past jail stint. “The judge at the time that I had kept overruling me getting released even though they were overcrowded,” Lohan recalled of time spent in solitary confinement. “She kept making me stay there. What they were doing was punishing me instead of trying to help me.”
But, even with the possibility of this docu-series experiment going awry, it seems “Lindsay” is worth the risk for the former child star.
“I’m trying to figure out how to be sane and live,” she said during Sunday’s episode. “(I was) in this bubble where everything was done for me, and now, I’m figuring everything out for myself.”