Monday, June 23, 2008

The TV Set: "Living Lohan" Proves Lackluster

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This week's "The TV Set" as seen in The Examiner:

There are times when a television writer makes sacrifices for her craft. The afternoon of my life that was lost forever, watching back to back episodes of E!'s latest slice of voyeur pie, "Living Lohan", is one of them.

It's wrong to compare this show to pie. Pie is something palatable ensconced in golden-crusted goodness. "Living Lohan" is something very, very wrong ensconced in Merrick, Long Island. Shudder. It's a reality show aimed at making the rest of us without famous last names privy to what it's like when you've tapped out your already famous daughter and now must return to the well to see what you can eke out of daughter number deuce. Mrs. L is finally getting the spotlight she came for. This is the E! True Hollywood Story of Dina Lohan: Momager on a Mission.

The problem is the show is supposed to be focused on fifteen-year old Ali, who wants to be famous "so baaad", as she keeps reminding us in her thick Lawng Island accent, that she's willing to sell her soul to the Dina. As Ali sings along to the track written for her by "producer" (see wannabe) Jeremy Green, it becomes abundantly clear that a deal with a dark force is indeed in order. The raspy, vaguely musical disturbances that trickle out of her mouth make her second-sister reality predecessor Ashlee Simpson seem like the second coming of Joan Jett.

And speaking of Ashlee, Dina would be wise to take notes. Icky Joe Simpson at least had the decency—now there's a word the world never thought it'd see next to his name. I'm controversial like that—to allow his daughter to have her own show to herself. We got to bond with the plucky, endowed in all the wrong places (remember the old nose?) younger sister of Jessica. You wanted to see this genetic underdog make it, even though "it" was pretty much being handed to her. Despite the fact that Ashlee appears to have married and bred with a glamrechaun, I think she just may have. Chin up, Jess. Tony totally didn't deserve you.

Dina's handling of her younger daughter's career vehicle stands in sharp contrast. Dina Lohan is everywhere. Did she cut class that day in Svengali school when they covered the intricacies of puppet mastery? In the name of Rove, get a hold of yourself, woman! We're only supposed to have a vague sense of your presence, like a dark cloud that blocks out the sun, but never provides life-sustaining rain.

Instead, you're crowbarring your way into every scene. No one wants to watch an aging never-was with excessively blond extensions cruise around her unimpressive suburb in a Range Rover, anxiously hoping to be spotted by anyone interested in gawking at her. I don't want to watch you watch the Internet with a disturbing mix of hunger and satisfaction glinting in your eyes as you mine the tabloid underworld for rumor gold about Lindsay. If I want to be creeped out, I'll watch "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" and marvel at whatever it is Bruce Jenner has done to his face.

Ah, E! Network, you've done it again. I owe you an apology. I underestimated you. I was sure you couldn't possibly produce a celebrity reality show more inane than the ones that came before it, but you prove time and time again there's always more where that came from. Oh, how I wish you'd put it back.