Mid-Season Catch-Up: Will Lindsay Lohan Pull Through?

At the halfway point of 'Lindsay', her Oprah-produced reality series, we’re not so sure.

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I’m an optimist when it comes to Lindsay Lohan. Despite all the drama — the booze, the drugs, the rehab stints, the haggard tabloid photos, the stolen necklaces, the $75,000 fur coats misplaced at nightclubs, the celebrity sex lists, the abject disaster that is her recent film career — I still have faith that she can turn it around. I watch Mean Girls at least once every couple of months, and when I see the bright, effervescent and abundantly talented young Lindsay, I feel confident that it’s not too late, that she can still get her shit together and pull out another performance that’s just as good.

I always figured it would take a lot to shake my faith in Lindsay Lohan, but her new Oprah Winfrey-produced reality series has done just that. Lindsay, which is currently five episodes into its eight-episode run, was meant to be about the freshly-rehabbed Lohan moving to New York and making a fresh start. That was the plan at least; the show we actually got turned out a lot sadder than that. It shows a scared and lonely young actress, unwilling and unable to work, sitting in an apartment surrounded by all her pretty things as various hangers-on attempt to elbow their way into the spotlight.

The Bling Ring? Pfft, kids’ stuff. Sofia Coppola would positively kill for the film rights to Lindsay’s tragic true Hollywood story. If you haven’t been watching the show, here is what we’ve discovered about her so far.

Working With Her Is A Nightmare

In the first episode, we see a typical work day for Lindsay Lohan, which plays out like the early chapters of a Bret Easton Ellis novel. She books a lingerie commercial of some sort, which basically requires her to spend an afternoon looking beautiful and listless in an apartment full of models. The original script contained no dialogue for Lindsay, but when she arrives the director asks if she’ll agree to say a few words. This is the kind of situation that would be mildly annoying it if happened at your cousin Hayden’s 21st, but because it’s happening to Lindsay Lohan, it’s an outright tear-streaked catastrophe.

Lindsay Lingerine Shoot

Needless to say, Lindsay’s lingerie shoot did not go very well.

The short version is that Lindsay will not deliver any of your dumb dialogue if you don’t ask her well in advance. The hamster wheel in her head begins to spin out of control as she rants about how she’d rather be in London, how she doesn’t want to be an actress-turned-model, how those around her are liars. The models wait around in the other room looking dazed and bewildered as they give sound bites about Lindsay’s influence on their own careers. Tense phone calls are made, peace talks break down, and finally, Lindsay pouts her way out of the apartment because she’s done with all this bad noise.

She Has A Self-Destructive Streak

An afternoon’s work on a commercial is clearly too much to ask of Lindsay Lohan, who at this point can barely even commit to a reality show about her own damn comeback. She is constantly fobbing the camera crew off, cancelling scheduled shooting days, and kicking them out of her apartment when she decides that she needs a little me-time. Large chunks of the show take place on the sidewalk outside her building, as director Amy Rice negotiates with various Lohan minions, frets about how much time and money all of this is costing, and mills around looking gloomy because she’s getting none of the good stuff she clearly wanted.

Lindsay Director Amy

The director has this look on her face the whole time, as she wonders how to salvage this mess.

Evidence of a destructive pattern begins to emerge. Lindsay is really excited about a new project, until she realises it will take more than five minutes of hard work and dedication to see it through, at which point she loses all interest. Leaving aside the fact that she’s virtually uninsurable, Lindsay Lohan’s work ethic just kind of… stinks. “I just want to work” is her constant refrain, but get her on set, and she’s all excuses about how today’s not a good day and she just needs a bit of time, and snot-dripping diatribes about how she has been lied to and manipulated. She spends much of the series complaining about how nobody will offer her work anymore, but after Lindsay, who the hell would even want to?

She Might Be A Hoarder

Turns out it’s very hard to rent an apartment when you’re Lindsay Lohan — I guess nobody wants to deal with cigarette burns in their hardwood floors, or call in the exterminators to deal with Wilmer Valderrama infestations. Also, if you’re Lindsay Lohan, you don’t know how renters’ insurance works, and scream at anyone who tries to explain it to you. All these things make Lindsay’s New York apartment hunt difficult, but when she finally finds a space it doesn’t take long for her to fill it with stuff. There’s so much stuff, you guys. Lindsay Lohan has all of the stuff, and there’s no stuff for anyone else.

Lindsay Storage Unit

One box of jewellery down, several hundred to go.

We get a hint of this when we see her LA storage unit, which contains 970 cartons of clothes, shoes, old-timey pink telephones and god knows what else — Damian from Mean Girls might be lost in there somewhere, wondering what the hell happened to his career. That’s not even counting all the gear stacked up in the garage of her mum’s New Jersey McMansion. Her boxes have really specific things written on them, too. For instance, there’s one just for ‘Oversized Button Downs’. The last time I moved, I had one box marked ‘Video Games’ and one marked ‘Other’, so the sheer level of STUFF Lindsay owns is pretty bewildering.

Her apartment goes from sleek and stylish to resembling a millionaire’s version of a thrift shop, full of those fancy boxes that double as wardrobes, rotating sunglass displays, and everywhere piles of dresses and handbags. She comes up with innovative storage solutions like hanging shoes from railings and stacking things up in the bathroom, and manages to piss off some very cute movers when she makes them unpack and repack their truck several times because there is simply too much crap to fit in her small space. She later visits a consignment store — an actual thrift shop for millionaires — in an attempt to offload some clothes, but instead comes back with more stuff.

If Lindsay ever disappears at some point, before checking The Ivy or The Chateau Marmont, someone should probably go to her apartment and see if she’s crying out feebly for life under a stack of Alaia black trench coats.

She Is Surrounded By Terrible, Terrible People

The supporting cast of Lindsay is a conga line of desperate sycophants and hollow-eyed hangers-on. Foremost among them is life coach AJ Johnson, a chestnut mare who is clearly angling for some kind of reality show of her own and using this as some sort of a dry run. At their first meeting, AJ asks Lindsay a series of obvious questions, and acts positively thrilled at her ability to choose between such binary concepts as black or white, top or bottom. At a certain point, it becomes unclear where life coaching ends and canvassing for interest in a Herbie Fully Loaded-themed gay porn parody begins, but the lines between these things start to blur very uncomfortably.

AJ ingratiates herself into every aspect of Lindsay’s life, spouting Oprah-approved aphorisms and affirmations, lighting fragrant candles to cover up (I assume) the smell of her spinach-scented farts and teaching Lindsay to build a life brand. Things come to a head in the fifth episode, when she accuses Lindsay of breaking her sobriety, on camera. Lindsay is seriously pissed, and ices AJ out to the point where she quits the show altogether. “It’s time for me to go,” she says, flicking her lustrous mane and whinnying angrily as she clomps across the street to a taxi cab. I don’t know where she goes but maybe it’s Gary Busey’s house, because god knows, he’d be less of a handful than Lindsay.

Lindsay Assistant Hollie

Hollie’s hat game is strong, but sadly, she’s a shit assistant.

There are other, lesser hangers-on, like the perky British PA who is hired because of her “great energy” and because she’s dating a guy Lindsay’s dad met in a treatment centre and subsequently fired for drinking in front of Miss Lohan. There’s the creepy sober coach, who whispers dark secrets in her ear like a Southern Californian Iago. Worst of all, though, is Lindsay’s own family. In one telling scene, Lindsay is going through some boxes with her toothy abomination of a mum Dina when she pulls out a shirt with the word ‘fetch’ on it, and Dina DOESN’T KNOW THAT ‘FETCH’ COMES FROM MEAN GIRLS.

You can’t pick your family, but you can pick the people you pay to give you career advice and guidance, and unfortunately, in Lindsay’s case, all of these people are horrendous. Their proximity to Lohan is clearly all about their own interests and not hers, and it’s exhausting to watch them in action.

Her Career Prospects Are Pretty Much Non-Existent

Lindsay was meant to be about the next chapter in Lindsay Lohan’s career, but thus far, opportunities to work seem pretty thin on the ground. In episode five, she flies to LA to meet with the one producer who will still take her phone calls, a man named Devon Franklin. Devon Franklin happens to be a close personal friend of Oprah’s — you know, the person who is bankrolling this whole reality TV venture — but I’m sure that has NOTHING to do with it. Lindsay is excited about their meeting, but when the day comes, she sleeps in and blows him off, although she swears that she called him to apologise and now it’s all good, so there’s that?

Lindsay Cards Against Humanity

Lindsay’s entire life is a game of ‘Cards Against Humanity’ at this point.

Her future projects include an episode of 2 Broke Girls and a psychological thriller called Inconceivable. I don’t know who decided that the world was crying out for another Lindsay Lohan-starring psychological thriller after I Know Who Killed Me and the clusterfuck that was The Canyons, but hey, I don’t run Hollywood. Lindsay casually mentions that she was passed over for a part in the upcoming Avengers movie, which she claims went to an “unknown”. I assume she was referring to the current Avengers, in which case, the “unknown” she’s referring to is probably Elizabeth Olsen, in which case, burn.

At the halfway point of Lindsay, I’m a lot less bullish on Lohan’s long-term career prospects. From her frankly piss-poor work ethic to the horrible, opportunistic people who make up her entourage to her insistence on sabotaging every good thing that comes her way, this might actually be it for her. At least we’ll always have Mean Girls.

Alasdair Duncan is an author and freelance writer who has had work published in Crikey, The Drum, The Brag, Beat, Rip It Up, The Music Network, Rave Magazine, AXN Cult and Star Observer.