Author Michael Arceneaux watched the premiere episode of MTV’s Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club. Here are his thoughts.
The last time I thought about Lindsay Lohan, I wondered if she was okay after video surfaced of her being knocked on her ass by a parent. Lohan, it seems, thought she was saving a child from a predator when, in actuality, she was harassing a parent who ultimately punched her in the face for it. Like many other stories surrounding the actress over the past several years, it made me feel sorry for her.
As a result of Lohan’s personal and professional woes—issues so often intertwined—she has become a routine subject of ridicule and pity. At the beginning of her latest venture, the MTV series Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club, she immediately tackles the obvious by acknowledging in the first few moments, “People judge me every second.” Lohan says that, as a result of this, she “disappeared”—but this show and the business venture behind it are dedicated to a new purpose. “Now, I want to do things differently,” she explains. “I want to be my own boss.”
Thanks to her business partner and co-star, the no-nonsense Panos, that’s what she is doing with her beach club. When I first heard of Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club, I thought, “Oh, that must be based on that place where she was dancing in a way not at all similar to the very lit video for her 2004 single ‘Rumors.’”
Indeed, the clip that soon went viral and inspired the #DoTheLilo dance challenge was totally unintentional, as Lohan recently explained. “It wasn’t planned… we were just having fun and it became something,” she said to Entertainment Weekly in response to the widely circulated clip. She is, however, intentional with her aim for her new MTV series.
“This is a time for me to just show people that the past is the past and we’re only moving forward,” she added in that interview. And Lohan’s sincerity in that mission is conveyed throughout Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club’s debut episode, which aired on January 8th.
Business partner Panos is the one who more assertively reels in the cast members now working at the Mykonos-based beach club. By contrast, Lohan is quite maternal in a way that I never imagined her to be. With this show, she theoretically may be the younger version of Lisa Vanderpump, but she’s actually kind of more like Mrs. Garrett from The Facts of Life.
She is a sweetheart—a sentiment echoed by other cast members, though Lohan’s sweetness doesn’t require much declaration from them to make it believable. It’s on full display—particularly when she comforts an anxious employee crying on the first day of the job. She really, really wants to move forward with her life. She truly does not want to keep rehashing her dark past. She wants to be a “boss.”
Alas, a television show must be made all the same.
There are too many people introduced in one episode to recall, but to many of their credits, they each try to make an impact. One of them is a bisexual bartender who likes to brag about the celebrity beds he’s found himself in. There is another who dubs himself the “waitress slayer.” The man is attractive, but yikes, tuck it in, young thotty. Note: He also claims to be a bit of a “romantic,” no matter how hot he is.
Then there is the woman who says, “I grew up watching Lindsay. I grew up wanting to be like her and now I work for her. I feel like this is a dream.”
Of course, meeting Lindsay Lohan—boss and inspiration—while only wearing your bra on the first day of your new job isn’t exactly the best way to introduce yourself to your new boss, but if there’s anyone who understands the importance of second chances, it’s Lohan. Still, she has a habit of clarifying that she is tired of people taking advantage of her and exploiting their associations with her. And at one point, she even says to an employee, “I think you want your own show, so you should focus on that.”
Lohan also makes other interesting quips like, “I want to build an empire…this is not Girls Gone Wild,” after assuming one of her new employees is Buddhist based on their, uh, appearance and aura. Lohan then goes on to note that she now meditates.
But don’t take Lohan as too much of a softie. “I have no emotion when it comes to money and business,” she explains to Panos. I don’t doubt that Lohan cares about her money, but as Panos explains, Lohan was abused by an ex on the very beach where she would come to launch a club. That, coupled with her history, is why you root for Lohan, and by extension, you root for her club and hope that the show supporting it will work.
The “VIP hosts” who serve as “ambassadors of the Lohan brand” will provide entertainment in the form of guests hiding microphones in their asses, cast members bitching at each other back and forth, brooding sexual tension between attractive people, and just about every other reality show cliche one can think of—but this series is really about Lohan once again trying to shift the narrative around her. And honestly, at this stage in her career, Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club may be her best bet. For someone so talented who had so much promise—and maybe still does—that makes me sadder than I thought it would.
And yet, again, this remains probably the smartest thing she’s done in a long while. So for her sake, I hope she makes the most of it.
Michael Arceneaux is the New York Times bestselling author of the recently released book I Can’t Date Jesus from Atria Books/Simon & Schuster. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Rolling Stone, Essence, The Guardian, Mic, and more. Follow him on Twitter.