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Why Lindsay Lohan's OWN series might not be as terrible as you think

Lindsay Lohan in a preview for her reality

Lindsay Lohan in a preview for her reality series "Lindsay" on Oprah's OWN network. Credit: YouTube

Sure, skepticism is warranted. Sure, derision, too. Sure, you've been down this road before, manipulated by some network to watch because it's all part of the TV game ... or the sordid part of the game, anyway.

But here's a contrarian thought: What if Lindsay Lohan's OWN special isn't half-bad? What if...?

Sight unseen -- and none of us have seen anything except for that commercial that was released Tuesday -- I've come up with a competing theory. Here's the column in Friday's paper: 

"Lindsay," OWN, Sunday, 10 p.m.

What it's about: This eight-part "docuseries" by filmmaker Amy Rice -- a staffwriter for HBO's "The Newsroom" and director of 2009's well-regarded fly-on-the-wall doc, "By the People: The Election of Barack Obama" -- followed Lindsay Lohan around New York after her release from rehab last summer. In the opener, she moves back to New York "to work on her sobriety and to rebuild her career." Reports say the shooting of this was tumultuous. OWN provided no review copy.

My say: "I know" -- says the subject of this series which OWN declined to preview for the press except in a two-minute sizzle reel -- "that this is my last shot at doing what I love to do."

And where have we heard the subject of this series say that before? Just before her last "SNL" appearance to Matt Lauer? Or was it on "GMA," before the "Liz and Dick" debacle? Last shots, in fact, are what Lohan specializes in because an enabling media industry -- motivated by the primal twin urges of greed and self-interest -- continue to serve them up to her.

As a result, us gawkers and other assorted rubberneckers tend to approach any Lohan project these days with a (healthy) brace of skepticism.

But there's reason to approach this particular project another way -- with a measure of cautious hope. That reason is Amy Rice, a thoughtful and obviously intelligent filmmaker who probably has no interest in putting a torpedo in the side of her career just as it's getting underway.

Sure, there is such a thing as take-the-money-and-run. There's also something called professional pride. My hope -- maybe yours, and if Lohan has any measure of self-respect, her's too -- is that pride trumps personal profit here.

Believe it or not, there is something compelling to be done on Lohan: A uniquely American story (or tragedy)? A cautionary tale? A portrait of addiction, or narcissism, or the toll Hollywood takes on the fragile, or the toll the paps take on celebrity? Take your pick, and there is much to pick from.

Rice got unlimited access. We'll all find out together whether she used this access wisely.

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