Posted on | March 24, 2014 | 25 Comments
Lots of people are enduring the car-crash fascination with the Lindsay Lohan rehab documentary series on the Oprah Winfrey Network. For some reason, my 11-year-old daughter Reagan has become a fan of the show, so that I end up watching it, too, despite the fact that I hate — absolutely hate — reality TV shows, except for programs like C*O*P*S or The First 48 where the “reality” isn’t a bunch of phony made-for-TV personal drama. In this respect, Lindsay is a strange hybrid.
On the one hand, the director is trying to make a legitimate documentary about the process by which a notorious celebrity trainwreck recovers from her latest toxic meltdown. On the other hand, there’s endless personal drama generated by the narcissistic nutjob at the center of it all.
So it was nice to watch Episode 3 where, after Lindsay had hamstrung production by refusing to allow the camera crew its scheduled access, Oprah showed up in person to chew her out:
“When you change a schedule, you know what happens. You’re a professional woman. . . . And it’s not just for you. You’ve got a whole team of people who are relying on you right now for this particular experience, for creating this documentary.”
Regular readers know I’m a huge fan of Christopher Lasch’s 1979 book, The Culture of Narcissism, which foreshadowed the entitlement mentality typical of the Millennial generation (see, for example, “Narcissism vs. Objectivity,” Feb. 15). A key trait of narcissists is their tendency toward blame-shifting, avoiding responsibility by blaming scapegoats for their problems. You see this over and over watching Lindsay. She has long since demonstrated that she is incapable of managing her own life. Yet when her remarkably patient personal assistant and others around her try to provide guidance, she erupts in tantrums, accusing these well-meaning people of being the source of her unhappiness, as though she hadn’t looked in the mirror recently.
Narcissism involves a concern with superficial image instead of fundamental reality, an obsession with seeming instead of being, and it is never pleasant to watch someone deal with the problems that invariably result. Only a sadist could enjoy seeing Lindsay Lohan spin wildly out of control, and these “starlet meltdown” tabloid dramas are mainly interesting to me as morality tales, e.g.: “And then the promiscuous celebrity coke addict lived unhappily ever after.”
But why bring up Charlie Sheen, eh?
Lindsay Lohan has been blessed with beauty, wealth and fame. It’s no fun to watch her throwing away happiness with both hands. And yet this is the car-crash-by-the-highway that Lindsay presents. Viewers are just rubber-neckers gawking at the carnage.
It’s wrong to say that Lindsay Lohan ever had a drug and alcohol problem. No, Lindsay Lohan had a Lindsay Lohan problem.
Even if she’s sober now, she hasn’t solved that problem yet.