With the recent premiere of True Tori on Lifetime and the recent wrap of Lindsay on OWN we have entered a new era of reality television where the celebrity docuseries serves as a catharsis or insta image rehab for the subject matter being documented. In these series, what matters not is whether or not the drama that happens on screen is being amped up for the cameras either helping or hurting theses actresses’ psyches not to mention their careers. But it is the fact they are doing these so called “serious series” in which they claim to be giving a window into their true lives showcasing their true problems which documents reality in a whole new light.
Lindsay Lohan agreed to do an eight episode docuseries for the Oprah Winfrey led OWN network. With its run of Tyler Perry sitcoms with recorded laugh tracks and dramas with questionable writing, not to mention inspirational shows grouped together as “Super Soul Sunday” the OWN clearly remains looking for a singular voice where it is known as a television destination for something other than unmemorable self help reality shows and creatively lackluster productions. No doubt Ms. Winfrey was hoping for “Lindsay” so be that new force where her network is positioned to be a destination for quality documentaries that appeal to the masses by focusing on a well-known entity like a Hollywood celebrity in the midst of an attempted comeback. And who better to be the face of said comeback than that of Hollywood troubled poster child Lindsay Lohan? Lindsay was fronted by documentarian Amy Rice who gets Lindsay to agree to film her a mere days from being released from her sixth stay in rehab.
So what have we learned so far? Lindsay is a hoarder, in the most serious sense possible. The series is supposed to showcase making her big move from Los Angeles back to New York, and she has to move all of her possessions. So for the first three episodes or so we see Lindsay getting her life together by unpacking her accessories and trying to sell her used clothes. Lindsay also has time management issues as she is late for everything whether it be for work or something inconsequential. Clearly whether inebriated or sober some things never change for Lindsay. Lindsay also has issues with what the truth especially when it comes to her sobriety and what that exactly means to her. Cameras haven’t been allowed to shoot all of Lindsay questionable behavior, which makes me wonder how much all-access documentarian Rice and OWN executives we expecting to get versus what they were supposed to get. We only get a little of Lindsay interacting with her equally troubled family from her father to her mother, both of whom have issues, to her more supportive siblings and friends we actually get very little into what makes Lindsay personally tick and she’s supposed to be kept sane amongst all of the madness in her life right now.
We also see Lindsay deal with the aspects of getting her life back on track. If it doesn’t completely throw her off. Everyone around her seems to be questioning her sobriety from the director, to her sober coach, to her assistant, to her life coach, everyone is keeping tabs on her. And this notion is explained by the producers (for reality television at least) with the usage of Full Screen computer graphics to explain some of the action that isn’t happening on screen that the producers feel that need to be explained. Such as “Lindsay has been upstairs for the past two hours and refuses to let cameras into her apartment.” Followed by a moment of silence meant for viewers left to ponder.
That’s a similar take the producers of Tori Spelling’s new reality series True Tori is employing on the Lifetime Network. Here the issues are focuses around actress Tori Spelling dealing with the cheating allegations with her husband Dean McDermott and how she’s handling her brood of four young children on her own. Here the drama lies in the fact that McDermott is still in live-in therapy for his sexual addiction and he and Tori record their therapy sessions on camera for the world to see. (But we aren’t allowed to see their therapist on camera, oookay…) We also get Tori giving her own very long emotional confessional in multiple one on one interviews to the camera where she gets to tell her side of the story with regards to her husband, as well as her getting the chance to explain how haggard her life has now become now that she’s on her own. In terms of action, we see Tori running around her house with her young children acting up, driving them in the car as her young children act up again, and then talking with friends on how Dean betrayed her and how she’s handling all of the drama. And that’s the gist of the story behind True Tori she rants she cries we suffer as we watch.
And that is the biggest problems between these new docuseries that claim to be true documentaries and not true reality series. There’s too much emotion on display and all of the emotion focuses on crying and whining and the “woe is me” approach. Lindsay cries because people don’t believe she is sober. Tori is crying because her husband cheated on her and has now left her on her own. These women need to get their emotion in check and not display all of their feelings on camera. It’s self serving and makes me personally not root for them, as if I had any reason to root for Lindsay and Tori. But then again I wouldn’t be watching their respective shows if I didn’t have some rooting interest for these poor pathetic women. I’m just not sure if these women need to lay everything on the table for viewers to digest. Sure this supposed to be a real “documentary” where the viewer gets an inside view of what makes these women tick during troubled times, but I just don’t want it to feel forced. And sadly as is the case with Lindsay and Tori, I’m feeling too forced fed right now. Give me a vapid self involved reality show focused on rich people and their petty problems anything and I’d hang around to watch anytime!