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Review: 'Living Lohan' on E!

Why you should watch: You're on your own, but here's something that may work as a rule of thumb -- if you live/breathe Lindsay Lohan, and must know so much about LiLo that you will happily absorb everything about her kid sister and famous-for-some-wrong-reasons mom, Dina, then this is the show for you. Plus this bonus: It's shot in and around North Merrick. Maybe you'll recognize some of the places.

What it's about: Welcome to North Merrick, where children are at play in a nice house, with expensive cars in the driveway, and ... it all seems so normal, so "Leave It to Beaverish" (circa 2008) until the camera pans by a sign hanging on the wall. The sign reads, "If it has tires or testicles, it's gonna give you trouble." Uh-oh. We in the trade call that a "reveal," and what it reveals here is a mom engaged in a low-level war with the tabloids and other troublemakers. Plus, there's 14-year-old Ali, who's prepping for a big trip to Las Vegas, where she's going to record an album with music industry giant the Maloofs (also co-producers of this series, suggesting that "Living Lohan" may just be a big tease for the sale and marketing of said future album).

On one level, this is a normal household. Kids (Cody, 11, is also here) are squealing, and Mom occasionally is putting 'em in their place. "I'm a single mother and I have sole custody of my kids. They know when enough is enough and see a look in my face not to mess with me. Nothing is more important to me than family." Then she barks, "Next question!" OK, message received: Mom's a tough cookie, and you see her battling with a Maloof lieutenant over song choices for Ali or with the paparazzi.

We also see Ali positioning herself to be a superstar. In a line that's simultaneously affecting and chilling, she says to the camera, "Lindsay's my role model. I want to look like her, dress like her. ... "

The bottom line: Look, you want me to say this is awful, and more evidence of the decline and fall of Western civilization? Or that Mommie Dearest is pushing her own dreams of glory onto her children? Fine. I just said it. But I also will add that "Living Lohan" is a hard and unintentionally cold look at a woman who clearly loves her children (and they her), but who is deeply, resolutely angry. Dina -- as seen here -- is someone to be pitied, not reviled.

Living Lohan. Mondays for eight weeks at 10:30 p.m. on E!

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