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'Lindsay' recap: Michael Lohan is just one of many supporting players

Lindsay Lohan in her reality show

Lindsay Lohan in her reality show "Lindsay," on Oprah Winfrey's OWN network. Credit: OWN

When documentary filmmakers conduct interviews surrounding a central subject, these talking heads are meant to be illuminating. When Lindsay Lohan is the focus, however, it's more likely that she's simply unavailable and there's time to fill.

In episode two of "Lindsay," viewers are told that "Lindsay has not agreed to a regular shooting schedule," and so she doesn't always feel like appearing on camera. Enter some of the supporting players in Lohan's life.

Of course those in her orbit do help paint a portrait of the actress. Following some of them is very much like watching the paint on that portrait dry, but they do offer insights.

Matt Herrell, Lohan's personal assistant, is the tightly wound yang to the calm yin his employer is trying to be. He finds many things "annoying," including trying to procure the keys to Lohan's much-desired apartment and moving the star from room to room in a Manhattan hotel until that actually happens. He paces and makes angry phone calls, the stuff reality TV dreams are made of.

Herrell also helps navigate the ever-present paparazzi, who follow Lohan's black Suburban via foot, scooter and car. One gray-haired paparazzo camped outside her hotel recalls the young, sweet Lindsay, then ruminates on the chicken-and-egg nature of it all, that "they are their own worst enemies. They keep making stories for us to follow. The reality is they just keep failing."

Ostensibly chasing success, Lohan brings a newbie into her coterie, A.J. Johnson, a "celebrity health and wellness coach" who rapid-fires questions like "Light or dark? Love or be loved? Yes or no?" (Lohan: Light, love, no.) Johnson also carries a deck of word-of-the-day cards with her for inspiration. (Her client's first pick: purity.) After their initial session, Lohan confides to the camera that "her willingness to listen was a really helpful thing for me." This lack of understanding about the employee-employer hierarchy isn't a complete surprise.

Relationships are complicated throughout "Lindsay," and a lunch with father Michael Lohan certainly underscores that. As dad and daughter share a vodka pizza, the meal reads much like the tempestuous meeting of a divorced couple as they discuss financing brother Cody Lohan's first car and Lindsay refers to her half-siblings as "your other two random [expletive] kids." The lunch ends with I love yous exchanged.

Mom Dina Lohan makes her presence known with a tabloid-ready drunken driving arrest that occurs during the filming of the episode.

Also clamoring from off-screen, and busting through any sense of "Lindsay" providing an unadulterated, fly-on-the-wall look at Lohan, is the production company's owner Craig Piligian. The Pilgrim Studios head joins the apartment fray, discussing the drama with Lohan on the phone.

Our protagonist does finally get the nest she desires, clomping around on the hardwood floors in black stilettos trailed by her driver, Herrell and Johnson. It's a clean space, devoid of the clutter and chaos Lohan says she wants to shed. The real narrative tension of "Lindsay," then, is how anyone -- including Lohan herself -- can survive without the chaos that's kept her relevant in recent years.

The premiere of the show drew fewer than 700,000 viewers, and these were likely people who associate the star with dark rather than light. As one young paparazzo says after nabbing his Lohan shot, "There's plenty of celebrities in New York. She's just one. So we're going to go and find the rest."

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