The first episode of Lindsay Lohan’s Oprah-produced show, Lindsay, basically just sets the table for what the promos present as a fraught, challenging, and occasionally volatile experience trying to get her life and recovery on camera. This is certainly presented as more of a documentary than a reality soap in the vein of the Kardashians or the Housewives (or even her painfully false-feeling old E! show, Living Lohan), with a verité feel and a sense that the filmmaker doesn’t have much invested in spit-shining the truth; she’ll let Lindsay tell whatever hers is, and show you the footage, and you decide. It still feels produced, but by necessity, and with neither malice nor particular bias. When, for example, all you have for your first act is a trip to Lindsay’s storage unit that yielded nothing interesting, then of course you have to do something with it, and that’s how we end up with stock footage to explain Lindsay’s past travails, and interview bites about clearing out and moving to New York that were clearly obtained in the hope of framing her story with a hopeful voice. Or any voice.

Lindsay definitely comes off like she says what she believes and she believes what she says; the question is whether those things she believes are unconsciously, or even consciously, varnished. She seems at once candid and fragile and even often likable, but occasionally as if what comes out of her mouth is an effort to convince both herself and others. As she appears in this footage, she also unravels at times and starts to cling to technicalities and twist situations so she’s the wronged party — so, a defense mechanism (which is hardly unusual of her) that makes you wonder about a larger pattern of denial, or rationalization, of her past misdeeds. She is also a performer by trade, and not a bad one, so that adds a layer here that at least you don’t get with the Kardashians. Lord knows none of those girls can act.

In an effort to be swift, I went full fug with the pictures and just took them with my phone off the TV, which lends this whole affair a pleasantly cheap veneer that will probably give the filmmaker nightmares. Sorry, milady.

Tags: Lindsay