Sunday, March 4, 2012

Nice to know you, Lindsay

Watching Lindsay Lohan host Saturday Night Live last night was like watching Mike Tyson when he was 37, instead of 24 when he was champ. In other words if an alien landed on Earth in time to take a front-row seat at Studio 8H in time for last night’s broadcast, said alien would wonder why a show as huge as SNL would allow an eighth-rate hack, who looked like a deer in the headlamps of an oncoming tractor trailer, have the hosting duties. The back story on this is easy. Lohan begged and pleaded Lorne Michaels for a return chance at SNL in an effort to put her career back on track. Smelling a chance at ratings, Michaels caved and let Lohan have a crack.

In Lohan’s defense, she was clean, sober, focused on Saturday night, fresh off a whirlwind round of interviews, ready to take the spotlight back, and knock this SNL opportunity out of the ballpark. She understood what was at stake. She wanted this. Hell, she begged for it. Only problem is, despite all that focus, Lohan just doesn’t have any talent. I don’t know if that talent got lost along the way (i.e. my Mike Tyson simile) or if there never was any talent at all. Let’s face it: she wasn’t much more than a child/teen star. I don’t know if she was ever “Good” in a movie. Maybe “Cute” would be the better adjective, like really cute in THE PARENT TRAP, even cuter in MEAN GIRLS, but it’s easy to deliver with Tina Fey pulling the puppet strings. My point: all this talk of a comeback, after the well-chronicled and cartoonish battles with booze, drugs, sex, the legal system, and everything in between, there just might not be anything to quote on quote come back from. The truth may be that Lohan is just not that talented, and never was.

As for the SNL show itself, where do I start when describing the carnage? She looked terrible, she was terrible. It was hard to watch. In fact the car accident I saw near Wolf Road a few hours earlier was easier to watch than this. You can always tell the cast and crew recognize they have a weak host when they decide on a cast-supported monologue. In last night’s monologue, Lohan would’ve had a bigger, more important part if they had knocked her unconscious and passed her around the stage like the conch in LORD OF THE FLIES.

But the fun was only starting. Her lowest moment of the night came at about 11.45 when SNL decided to play Lohan opposite the great Kenan Thompson in the Scared Straight Sketch. In this sketch Thompson plays a goofy get-straight officer to a group of rebellious teens. His trademark: long monologues where he passionately describes the wild times of his own life, but the teens recognize his wild times as the plot of a famous movie. Then it was Lohan’s turn to give the same, long-winded monologue, chronicling her own movies as her “this is real” story. Oh my God in Heaven, the cue cards took a beating as she stumbled and gaffed her way through that. The cue card reading was so bad that the producers did something I had never seen before: halfway through the sketch they switched to a side angle so the TV viewer couldn’t see her laying so heavy on the cue cards. It was cringe worthy for us at home, for those in the studio audience, Thompson himself, and most importantly Lohan. You could see it in her eyes. She knew she blew it. It was all over by 11.50.

Immediately the backstage rewriting started. SNL ran longer commercial breaks, played pre-recorded bits that had aired earlier in this same season, all in an obvious attempt to slash planned sketches and reduce the number of lines Lohan would have to deliver. They had dead weight on their hands, and they knew it. The rest of the night was a carnival of rewritten sketches and a full-cast effort to keep Lohan on the back shelf as much as possible. When she was forced to have lines, the cue cards were practically on the stage with her. Once they got Lohan out of the way, the show itself was funny, and the 11th hour effort by the cast was Herculean.

At the end, as the cast shook hands and hugged on the SNL stage the camera picked up someone mouth the words, “that was really bad.” And it was. It felt to me like the final nail in the Lindsay Lohan saga. She’s done, she has to be. This kid has nothing left. In addition to how bad she was on that stage, the way she looked was even more uncomfortable: The fake blonde hair and obvious enhancements. She looked like she was 45 not 25. And she wore 5 inch heels in every sketch. Weird. It was a pretty sad night in SNL history. And I had the overpowering feeling that Lohan knew she was a butter knife in a gun fight the second they said, "Your host, Lindsay Lohan." She had no business being up there with comedy professionals of that level. Lohan was a cute face who got lucky. Now she’s a brat who’s been tricked into thinking she actually has a career to come back to. It’s over, LL, there’s nothing left, sans the bad reality TV show.

Lohan’s window passed her by in a haze of drugs and late-night parties. And while she was gone, true up-and-coming talents like Jonah Hill, Ellen Page, and Emma Stone took her place. Just like Jimmy Fallon’s monologue joke last night about Lohan starring in THE HELP, to which Lohan replied “That wasn’t me.” Darn right it wasn’t. You blew it, kid, it’s over. We have a new cute redhead in Hollywood, and guess what, LL, this one doesn’t have legal fees and booze addictions that would make Kerouac cringe. It’s Emma’s time now, Jonah’s time. Nice to know you, Lindsay.

SNL Review:

SNL Sketches Recap:

Brian Huba

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