Lindsay Lohan and Kristen Wiig on "Saturday Night Live."

Lindsay Lohan and Kristen Wiig on "Saturday Night Live." Credit: NBC

What's that the doctors say? First do no harm? Congrats, Lindsay Lohan -- no great harm done Saturday night, to your still-battered image, court-mandated parole conditions or the career you say you want back so badly.

But not much good either: An accessory player/host, as opposed to one deeply or at least memorably involved in show, she was just there for the most part. What viewers mostly saw was someone who looked a bit nervous, tenuous, rusty and in no mood to usurp the pros -- like Kenan Thompson or Andy Samberg -- who were there to hold her hand.

How many lines she actually learned, too, may be a matter of debate; you could see her eyes wandering, or fixated on cue cards, in skits like "Scared Straight" -- the weakest lot of the lot and designed to poke direct fun at her troubled history -- which tended to make her wooden and flat.

After the amusing "Real Housewives of Disney," her best skit came at the end of the show: "Butt Call," with Kristen Wiig, who is always brilliant and nails everything she's in. But Linds? She was there just to hand Wiig the lines, like soft fat pitches across a fat plate for the master to send over the fence. That's fine, by the way. You don't want to screw up your straight-man job, either, and she did not.

Clearly this booking had a couple of goals -- different ones depending on whom you asked. Lorne Michaels wanted the notoriety of having Hollywood's most famous ex-con on the show. But you were also left to wonder whether he knew what he was getting himself into. Lohan couldn't or wouldn't do sketches that made too much light of her legal problems, and she said as much in interviews last week. She wasn't a host after all like Melissa McCarthy or Zooey Deschanel -- recent successes who have hit shows on the air, not fulfilling the conditions of a recent sentence by working in a morgue.

Lohan, meanwhile, wanted to prove that she could do this: Be responsible, show up for rehearsals and be a functioning adult. In a sense it was her own personal casting call for her own "new" life.

Did she pass? Because the bar was set so low, yes. If this is the beginning of her comeback, it's good to remember that it is only the beginning. She still should be thrilled, even if most "SNL" fans likely weren't.

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