I have never been a fan of Lindsay Lohan. I have never not been a fan either. I have maintained the average amount of interest in her according to my generation: I loved her in The Parent Trap as a child, I watched Freaky Friday with glee in high school at the height of Chad Michael Murray mania, and I quoted Mean Girls regularly throughout college. Girlfriend is dramatically talented, and has great comedic timing. I even liked the little-known Georgia Rule, starring Lohan as Felicity Huffman's daughter and Jane Fonda's granddaughter, which deals with two sets of mother-daughter relationships and a bout of pretty serious accusations. The point is, I'm not one of those fanatics who is like, "Oh my god, Lindsay is so fetch! She's major. She's the best. I just love her soooooo much." I've never been like that. While witnessing her "downward spiral" (as the media named it) over the past several years, I have felt a neutrality to the whole thing that can be summed up in the phrase, "Wow, that's really sad."
Maybe this is why I like "Lindsay," the docuseries on Oprah's OWN Network showing Lohan's most recent release from (her sixth stint in) rehab and her subsequent recovery, so much. It doesn't show her as a mess, or pathetic, or unraveling. It shows her as strong, and fighting to get her life back, and struggling to find herself in a crazy world that is her reality, even as unbelievable as it seems to the rest of us. Sometimes it is shocking to remember she's my age, she's of my generation. The struggles I feel in trying to find my identity, and my sense of purpose, and my career path, have not been exacerbated by an addiction like hers have. She's dealing with a whole other host of pressures and temptations - while I might have to talk myself out of buying an extra pair of shoes, she's trying to stay sober in an industry full of events and open bar parties. While I am asking myself if I'll be able to afford my own apartment someday, she's dealing with co-ops and landlords who don't even want her living in the building because of her past.
Don't get me wrong, the show doesn't glamorize her. It doesn't say "oh look at Saint Lindsay, torn apart by the media, they've got her all wrong." I like the way the show is set up because it doesn't demonize or victimize her - it truly does show her for better and worse. You can identify with her, and then see where she sabotages herself.
The first three episodes that have aired so far all introduce Lohan and set the scene for her current situation: recently out of rehab, moving to New York to re-stabilize her life, and having problems doing so as she can't even find an apartment to call her own. You see how deeply this lack of a home affects her and you realize how tenuous her sobriety can be at points. It is her sincerity and her vulnerability that make you want to keep watching and see her overcome what has happened before. She still has some spoiled moments, and she still comes off like a bit of a diva in some parts, but who wouldn't? She grew up in the limelight, and her fame and the entertainment industry are normal to her.
At the end of the day, though, each episode of "Lindsay" ends with you rooting for her. And despite what I just said about her being strong, I think we all need someone to root for us. Even someone as famous as Lindsay Lohan.