Season 1, Episode 3
There was a lot of wonderful reality television this year — Starz's compelling movie-making docuseries The Chair, Bravo's biting Ladies of London, and The Food Network's Chopped all delivered the goods — but, for my money, there was no more compelling real-life story than the one that played out on OWN's Lindsay.
The eight-part docuseries, which followed actress Lindsay Lohan as she attempted to get her life together, was a study in chaos from start to finish. First, Lohan refused to accommodate the filmmakers' schedule, turning director Amy Rice into an unwilling on-screen participant as she had to provide context for all the footage of their crew waiting outside Lohan's New York City apartment. The times when Rice's crew was given access, their subject was scattered, uncooperative, and attempted to control the show's narrative in a way that evoked Valerie Cherish (of The Comeback fame).
After weeks of running into walls, OWN called in the big guns: Oprah Winfrey. In an attempt to get Lohan back in line, the TV icon drove to Long Island, New York — where Lohan's mother, Dina, lives — for a come-to-Jesus talk in Episode 3. Winfrey, who was delightfully candid on her docuseries in 2011 (the incredibly good Season 25: Oprah Behind The Scenes), brought that same unfiltered personality here, telling Lohan, "You need to cut the bullshit."
And Lohan did (as everyone must when Oprah commands them to), but that didn't make Lindsay any less compelling as the subsequent episodes included a rumored relapse, a miscarriage, bizarre "art" footage of Lohan staring directly into camera while smoking a cigarette, and a hypnotic chronicling of just how difficult it was (is?) for the actress to overcome Hollywood's perception of her. —Jarett Wieselman