Written by Amelia Diamond
Last night, the much-awaited Lindsay Lohan/Oprah Winfrey interview aired on Oprah Winfrey Network. There I sat with bated breath, back hunched and chin in hand the way a young child may have in a late 1930s living room, waiting for FDR to address the nation.
Is Lindsay going to be super out of it? Will she cry? Will she actually “tell-all,” as promised? Will she have a full come-to-Jesus?
…Will she win a free car?
And what I ended up watching – though a more cynical person could have probably predicted – was an hour long public relations case study in post-post-post-post-post-post-rehab image control.
Lohan seemed poised and calm. Her lower lip trembled when appropriate, eyes wetted on cue. She regurgitated psychoanalytical statements about herself in an attempt at introspection and self-awareness. She made Oprah nod and squint and hum like a therapist close to their client’s breakthrough.
Frankly, I couldn’t sit through the whole thing. I found myself wincing and yelling at the TV, wishing she had worn a more supportive bra and a little less bronzer. I wish she had been able to acknowledge her parents’ toxic role.
But here’s the thing of it – I really, really want Lindsay Lohan to succeed. I want her to beat her addictions, to get her career back, and for people to stop reminiscing. Remember when? I want to see now.
I don’t want her to be a parody of herself, huddling under an umbrella with the Britney Spears of the world as a perpetuation of the tragic young-Hollywood cliché.
I’m rooting for her.
And now here’s the question: Why is that? Why do I care? Is it because I was almost the same age as she was when Lindsay charmed America in The Parent Trap? Part of me instantly suspected that I, too, had a twin sister (also, did that make me the spunky tomboy or British debutante?). To this day I still eat peanut butter with my Oreos and crave cornbread from the housekeeper I didn’t have.
Or maybe it’s because when Mean Girls came out my friends and I went to the movie theater dressed as famous mean girls throughout history, (I was Taylor Vaughn from She’s All That). We had already memorized every quote the trailer was willing to throw away and by the following Wednesday at school, we wore pink.
When I was nine and Kenan & Kel was like, the coolest show ever, I had a hard time watching it because I just knew they were going to get in trouble. I’m like a basset hound for foreshadowing and could see the predicament coming far before Kel could convince Kenan of one of their wackyyy schemes — and what’s worse — I could see the solution.
“DON’T TOUCH THE RED BUTTON,” I’d shout at my television and cover my eyes in dread. There were always five stomach-churning seconds where I’d quickly rewrite the script in my own head so that no one got in trouble and no one got grounded. But I wasn’t a writer for Nickelodeon (I was also only 9) and instead had to sit on my hands in agony, consoled only by the fact that this was sitcom television, and sitcom television always rendered a happy ending.
So is that my problem? Maybe I see Lindsay Lohan’s life as a TV show-with-a-moral, featuring Oprah as her Danny Tanner. And maybe she’s finally learned her lesson this time. At least that’s what I’m hoping. But what about you? Did you watch her micro-comeback? Did you care? Do you want her to see her succeed or are you perfectly fine watching her continue to drown? And, perhaps most important, for the love of Oprah – why???