And now we know why every single preview of Oprah’s Next Chapter with Lindsay Lohan was simply a montage reel of Oprah firing off questions: because Lohan had very little to say in the interview—which was taped just four days after Lohan concluded a court-ordered rehab stay and aired last night on Oprah’s OWN cable network. (The only new information gleaned from 60 minutes’ worth of conversation, Cliffside Malibu ads, and OWN promos for a Fabio edition of Where Are They Now, which seemed gripping compared with what was unraveling before us: Lindsay now admits to being an alcohol addict and to have snorted cocaine between 10 and 15 times.)
The interview was so devoid of anything sensational that we spent much of it studying the cubby storage units in the background of Oprah’s beachfront-asylum-decorated set. And so weak compared with Oprah’s past interviews with troubled stars that we wondered whether she had simply entered the unconcerned-about-driving-regulations-sp
1) Oprah—possibly so desperate for Lohan-related ratings—lets slide myriad cliché statements masquerading as answers to her urgent questions. A few that answered so little that we will not even bother transcribing the questions that preceded them:
“I came into it really willing, really craving more spirituality.”
“I’ve lived so many lives in one lifetime at this point . . . and it’s not interesting anymore.”
“I feel whole again.”
2) Oprah does not ask a single question about the sensational New York Times article about Lohan’s questionable behavior on the set of The Canyons. Thus she does not ask a single question about Lohan’s reported on-set tantrums, disrespect for authority, commands for the film crew to remove their pants during a four-way sex scene with three porn stars, etc. Oprah does, however, ask one blanket question about the movie, and Lindsay allows that it was great to work with director Paul Schrader before they both move on. Later in the hour, when Oprah addresses Lohan’s notorious tardiness to film sets, she again lets Lohan slide on a vague answer: “I think I was so distracted in the past that I wasn’t on point with that.”
3) Next Chapter relies heavily on stock footage of Lohan as a child star and Lohan in court for the show’s emotional pull, since in person, Lohan provides only the occasional teary eye alongside her nonsensically general answers. For instance, when Oprah asks her to complete the sentence: “If people even knew _____,” Lohan, who at the beginning of the interview claims she wants to show the world the true Lindsay Lohan, responds, “parts of the real sides of things.” Rather than press about what these “real sides” are or ask Lohan point blank whether she could have thought of a worse answer, Oprah moves on.
4) Lindsay Lohan absolves her parents of all wrongdoing. While it is commendable that Lohan tried to clear her parents’ tabloid-besmirched names, it seemed a little much. Particularly this line: “I hate what a bad rap people give my parents because they’re just parents at the end of the day.” Viewers studying Lohan’s face for any signs of life may have noticed that she turned red once, when asked about an allegation she made during a hysterical phone call to her father—a phone call that he secretly taped and later leaked—that her mother had used cocaine. Lohan, uncomfortable with Oprah’s single moderately probing question, said that she had lied during the phone call because she knew it was the one allegation that would most hurt her mother.
5) Despite the fact that Lohan claims to be cured/healed/absolved of all former addictions and evils, the hour ends with Lohan revealing she has plans to go to Europe, which Oprah analogizes as the equivalent of a potato-chip factory for a food addict. The program closes with a title card announcing that two days after the interview, Oprah convinced Lohan to cancel her ill-advised trip—as if it were a career triumph instead of a logical life decision or a plotline on The Hills.