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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

question of the day: Why do Hollywood execs suddenly love Lindsay Lohan again?

Lindsay Lohan Saturday Night Live

I may have missed Lindsay Lohan’s appearance on Saturday Night Live last weekend, but I didn’t miss the hail of bile that rained down from viewers afterward on Twitter. Critics hated her, too. I love this, from Ryan McGee at HitFix:

SNL essentially gave Lohan nothing to do in this monologue, which either means they are trying to shield her from being along onstage or they actually don’t trust her as a performer to hold the audience’s attention for that long.

That really seems to touch on the essential matter of Lohan: she has proven she cannot be trusted to work in a professional manner. It may well have been a good business decision on the part of the SNL honchos, though, because the episode got great ratings.

(The Daily Beast has a selection of clips from Lohan’s SNL appearance if you need to check out her performance.)

However, even train wrecks eventually lose their rubbernecking appeal. Or do they? Perez Hilton posted an intriguing scoop about industry reaction to Lohan’s appearance:

[I]t looks like the folks who can actually GIVE Lindsay a job don’t really care what the critics think!

A source said the following about LiLo’s hosting buzz:

She got slammed on Twitter and Facebook and all over social media. But the people who actually can give her jobs — at least the ones I talked to — said she did a fine job and had several truly funny moments.

Hilton goes on to quote a source close to Lohan who references an upcoming Lifetime film project about Elizabeth Taylor that Lohan appears to be in the running for. It may all be mere gossip, but it has the ring of inevitable truth to it.

It remains to be seen whether Lohan makes yet another comeback boosted by SNL. But it doesn’t seem unlikely.

Why do Hollywood execs suddenly love Lindsay Lohan again? Is it just the trainwreck aspect? Do they imagine that audiences will be willing to tune in in case Lohan melts down again? Except… that’s not a possibility unless it’s live television. Hiring Lohan for a film project would appear to involve a lot of risk — in that the project might not even get finished — for potentially very little reward, particularly when the public appears to have turned against Lohan.

It’s cases like this (among many other different examples) that make me question the conventional wisdom that Hollywood only gives audiences what they want. It appears that, the rubbernecking high ratings of this instance aside, the public does not want to see Lindsay Lohan onscreen. Something else must be going on. Why continue to invest in someone who has screwed up so often? Why does Lohan get repeated second chances when so many others do not?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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