The problem with interviewing an addict four days out of rehab is that s— really hasn’t had a chance to hit the fan yet. The problem with entertainment enabler Oprah Winfrey interviewing habitual screw-up Lindsay Lohan four days out of rehab is that the starlet has made a lifestyle out of ensuring that s— will hit the fan. Lohan admitted in her Oprah’s Next Chapter sit-down that she’s addicted to chaos: “There’s something to be said about me learning to be comfortable with things just being okay.”
Without a trace of cynicism or sarcasm, I really would like to see Lohan accept an “okay” life. But — as she’s shown through six rehab stints, one (reduced) jail sentence, and an overarching attitude of self-sabotage during the last six years — being an active member of recovery is a lot more difficult than reciting platitudes from Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions or kumbaya-ing over the Manhattan skyline. Alas, that’s exactly what Lohan did during her interview with Oprah. Why? Because she’s just not there yet. What she is — or claims to be — is “present.” Suffice it to say, this isn’t the first time the star has performed this very song and dance. The question is: Can someone like Lohan truly be “present” but also have perspective? She seems confident she can. Below, I list eight reasons I’m not placing any bets.
1.) “My intention is to just be me.”
From the outset of the interview, Oprah assured Lohan, “[This conversation is about] your truth. And I’m here to help facilitate that.” Isn’t that exactly the problem? People have been facilitating Lindsay Lohan’s “truth” for 27 years now. A truth that’s proven to be ever-changing, riddled with delusion, and devoid of accountability. Lohan later said, “I don’t think in the past I’ve ever surrendered to the fact that I just need to shut up and listen.” And yet here she was. Talking.
2.) “I … kind of wanted to go to jail.”
Lohan’s rocket-fueled ascension to fame and sharp downfall were chronicled in the two minutes at the top of the episode. Her multiple stays in rehab were briskly glossed over in around seven minutes after that, and within a few breaths, she characterized going to jail as both “terrifying” and a place “to find some peace.” Oprah asked, “How desperate is that? That going to jail feels like peace?” This was the hardest-hitting question of the night. No surprise, Lohan didn’t reach for the tissues once. Am I the only one wondering how Barbara Walters can make Oscar nominees at the peak of their careers weep like children, while Oprah interviews fallen idols who are still clawing out of a self-created abyss and gets basically nothing?
3.) “I’m a very spiritual person … “
Lohan on what being spiritual is all about: “I’m so in touch with, you know, whether it’s prayer or meditation, and, you know, there are so many powers greater than me in the world. I’ve been blessed and lucky enough to have been given a gift to share with other people, and I think for so long I’ve kept that so locked down and chained down, just by creating this whirlwind of garbage around myself.” Is this interview part of that whirlwind of garbage?
4.) “I hate what a bad rap people give my parents.”
Kudos to Lohan for taking responsibility for her own mistakes, but it’s really difficult to absolve Dina and Michael Lohan of their sins against Lindsay (and all the Lohan kids) personally — not to mention parenthood generally. All of which has been in the name of “just [being] parents … trying to stand up for their daughter and themselves.” Last time I checked, selling your daughter’s voicemails to the tabloids to screw over your ex-wife definitely counted as toxicity. Moving forward, if Lohan isn’t willing to admit that her parents have been integral to her addictions and lashing-out, the road to recovery is going to be long and uphill
5.) “If people only knew … “
Given the chance to clarify what exactly people aren’t getting about her, Lohan vaguely said they should know “parts of the real sides of things of things.” LIKE WHAT?! After years of therapy and court-ordered introspection, she can’t pin down one thing that might change people’s minds about her? That’s not a desire for privacy, that’s an inability to go off script and complete lack of self-awareness — which, as Oprah declared, is the key to spirituality. See No. 3.
6.) Timing is everything?
Lohan noted of her performance in The Canyons that “people [were] surprised that [I arrived on set] early.” Such was the kind of self-congratulation accorded to a person who has lowered expectations so dramatically that being on time is a major win. Of course there was no mention of January’s damning New York Times article that claimed she’d wasted others’ time by hunkering down in a closet and listening to Ryan Adams’ cover of “Wonderwall” on repeat like a sullen teenager. Instead, when Oprah mentioned that Lohan had realized her flakiness impacted others, Lohan redirected that her catharsis mostly concerned “not appreciating my own time.” At this, Oprah nodded emphatically. Which gets us to the biggest problem inherent to this — or any – Next Chapter interview: You’re fundamentally dealing with some of the world’s greatest egomaniacs in Oprah and [fill in the Kardashian-Armstrong-Lohan here]. Why else would Oprah mention offhandedly to Lohan that “A lot of people were upset with me for wanting to talk to you”? Does Oprah really need anyone’s sympathy, least of all Lindsay Lohan’s? Cry me a river, Winfrey.
Toward the end of the interview (after discussion of Lohan’s new OWN docuseries, it’s worth mentioning), Lohan mentioned she’d booked a trip to Europe for a yoga and meditation retreat. Forgetting that this was almost exactly the plot of The Hills finale, let’s focus on the power dynamics here. Oprah was very much against this plan, telling her interviewee that, for a food addict like Oprah, “That would be like coming out of rehab and going to a potato chip factory.” She commanded (not begged) Lohan to reconsider the trip. Lohan conceded. Seconds after that, a title card smugly confirmed, “Two days later, Lindsay canceled her vacation to Europe.” Change of heart, or contractual ultimatum? You decide.
8.) “I’m different. I feel different.”
So much of the interview took for granted (and even applauded) Lohan’s sudden sensation of “different”-ness — her confidence that she just had to stay in this aspirational place. As anyone who’s gone through the thrill of positive life change (for example, losing a bit of weight and fitting into new clothes) knows, that feeling is distressingly temporary. For example, four-days temporary. And you know what’s good at replicating old thrills? Drugs (whether it’s the cocaine Lohan claims she snorted “10-15 times” or the alcohol and Adderall she admits had a greater hold on her). Lohan’s insistence on “being present” sounds like a ready-made relapse — if nothing else, because dependence on momentary satisfaction offers no room for circumspection, and a reliance of feeling invites extremities. Both of which have characterized the pitfalls dominating Lohan’s life thus far.
About halfway through the interview, Lohan admitted, “I’m my own worst enemy, and I know that.” Hard to say whether this epiphany will have any bearing on her actual Next Chapter, given how focused she insists she is on the present. That’s the problem with interviewing a talented actress four days out of rehab: She knows what we want to hear. And damn, isn’t she good at convincing us she means it?