'Lindsay' recap: Sobriety, Oprah Winfrey and parking tickets

Lindsay Lohan at a news conference at the

Lindsay Lohan at a news conference at the Sundance Film Festival, Monday, Jan. 20, 2014, in Park City, Utah. Photo Credit: AP / Chris Pizzello

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Toward the end of Sunday's "Lindsay," the actress has a cocktail of Valium, Fentanyl and Propofol. At her dentist's office.

The show is so slow, though, there's a sense a producer might have sneaked into Lohan's bedroom at night to chip the veneer that resulted in an early morning appointment (and the anesthesia Lohan says she needs because of her fear of dental work). The sequence was certainly pumped for all it could be, with both Lohan and the anesthesiologist questioned about the drugs' potential impact on the star's sobriety. The drama surrounding the out-of-work actress is fairly minimal, it seems, filled with the mundane -- going to the grocery store, exercising, getting parking tickets on the Porsche Panamera -- and so a trip to the dentist is painted with primary colors.

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Smartly, the episode begins where the last left off, with Oprah Winfrey at mama Dina Lohan's house. Winfrey had just gotten Lindsay to recommit herself to the show, to promise to start shoots on time and not abruptly cancel scheduled production days. Week four proffers the Dina portion of the Q-AND-A, with Oprah lobbing tearjerker questions such as "Did you think that there were days when she wouldn't make it?"

Lohan's making it -- or not -- is the predication upon which "Lindsay" is largely built, with the producers asking some form of the "is she sober?" question whenever they can. This isn't exactly fly-on-the-wall documentary protocol, but, then, the Frederick Wisemans of the world don't have to worry about OWN's balance sheets. Keeping the sobriety elephant trailing Lohan is its own cottage industry, with the star employing both a wellness and a sobriety coach in addition to a therapist (who's never on camera) and a personal assistant who fires another personal assistant for drinking wine around her.

Michael Cormier, the sobriety coach, highlights that economic need for Lohan to exist dangerously close to a relapse with his halting response to the "is she sober?" query. Instead of simply saying it's a private issue, as any decent professional should, he offers up some "you knows," "hmms," plenty of pauses and one knee slap. Final answer? "I have no hard evidence that she's not."

Lohan insists she wants to get back to work -- "that's my therapy .?.?. that feeds my soul," she says -- and in between a pole dancing class and court-ordered community service she visits "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" to do a skit with the host. Wellness coach A.J. Johnson talks with the actress about getting her career back, but Johnson's preference for redirects -- "so what is it that you want?" -- rather than actual advice make it clear that her function on "Lindsay" is just to fill time.

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That seems to be the role of most of the supporting players on the show, people in Lohan's world who get far more screen time than they should. They really just roadblock any potential "Lindsay" might have of presenting an actual three-dimensional portrayal of the troubled actress. Each week, the show looks more and more like a paycheck. That's fine -- car payments don't make themselves -- but it's not good TV and certainly not a useful documentary.


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