With Lindsay Lohan starting a 90-day stint in rehab on Thursday, we're hoping that once she gets out in August, she can keep herself busy and gainfully employed with a return to TV.
Lohan's last TV appearance on pal Charlie Sheen's Anger Management in April was a modest success. She played a caricature of her public persona -- named Lindsay, of course -- who consults Charlie (Sheen) for anger counseling, complete with shtick references to her notorious personal life, including drugs (donut powder mistaken for cocaine) and court dates. Despite receiving a mixed chorus of jeers, the Anger Management gig got this endorsement from Newsday: "There was an ember of something that seemed totally lost in all the coverage, headlines and nonsense of the last few years: Lohan actually has some talent."
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On the heels of that praise, it makes sense that TV's broad range of programming and flexible production schedules could provide Lohan with the safest, most lucrative and yes, most forgiving haven right now. Her rather uneven small-screen track record includes playing the love interest on That '70s Show to then-boyfriend Wilmer Valderrama's character Fez, a four-episode arc in 2008 on Ugly Betty, guest spots on Glee and Project Runway, and an infamous turn in Lifetime's biopic Liz & Dick as Elizabeth Taylor. Going forward, we can see Lohan playing quick characters — coming and going as part of an ensemble —probably most successfully in comedies, though cable's edgier dramas also may be a natural fit for the 26-year-old. Here are seven ideas of how Lohan could flex her TV muscles:
1. Two and a Half Men No-brainer here. She should play a recurring love interest for Walden (Ashton Kutcher) and far better than Hilary Duff would, who was just announced for the part, since broad comedy is where Lohan tends to excel. Controversy is built into the role, with Lohan's buddy Sheen having been bounced from the CBS show. And this would also be a '70s Show reunion of sorts with Kutcher sinceLohan was originally supposed to play his character's girlfriend on that sitcom. Also, in the same way thatAnger Management toasted her public persona — it's what everyone expects by now — Two and a Half Men works best when it's playing meat and potatoes down the middle, bucking stylish subtlety.
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2. The dirty FX dramas, including Sons of Anarchy and Justified The long-suffering Lohan is primed to play a dirt-scrubbed, destroyed woman. If Katey Sagal can play the matriarch of an outlaw motorcycle club, Lohan would be perfect smoking a cigarette, leaned up against a car, complaining at Jax (Charlie Hunnam) to do something. Over on Justified, she could play Boyd's ex-girlfriend who reappears in his life with incriminating information on him that she'll leak unless he can outwit her.
3. One Life to Live or any of the big soap operas The recently revamped online soap is all about stunt-casting right now. After all, they just booked Jenni "JWOWW" Farley for a guest role. That's right, JWOWW from Jersey Shore. Besides, big-screen star James Franco received rave reviews for his smoldering yet cheeky guest arc on General Hospital in 2009, so why can't Lohan try her hand at melodrama also? She could expand her potential with a bigger audience, and reclaim some goodwill capital with an older audience in a multi-episode arc playing someone's unbalanced sister or an ex-lover with a troubled backstory.
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4. Showtime's Shameless Lohan could play one of Frank's (William H. Macy) friends that he hasn't told his family about. She could be a drinking friend — but more interestingly, she could play a level-headed confidante Frank could trust. Theme-wise, it's right up her alley — a show about real, flawed people. And of course, Frank is a drunk. She can plumb emotional truth as an alcoholic in real life. This might be a difficult gig to land though. Macy is not a big Lohan fan — he publicly criticized her in 2006 after working with her on 2006's biopic Bobby — but maybe playing Frank has given him insight and tolerance for such troubled souls.
5. Saturday Night Live Did you know Lohan is only one hosting gig away from making Saturday Night Live's prestigious Five-Timers Club? This is the terrain of showbiz luminaries — Tom Hanks, Paul Simon, Alec Baldwin and even Justin Timberlake. In 2004, Lohan splashed onto the late-night sketch-comedy show courtesy of her Mean Girls screenwriter and SNL alum Tina Fey, and kept up a string of appearances until 2006 when her personal life began to implode. At long last, she returned to emcee in 2012 to mixed reviews. Lohan is good at poking fun at herself as well as others, a trait essential to good comedy. We don't feel that she's quite proven herself yet, but we'd be willing to let the fifth time be the charm.
6. Shark Tank Lohan has to pull together some sort of business plan for career advice. Because her personal stock has gone up and down over the years, she could use a panel of business-minded folks to judge her on market-worthiness. Fame-loving Mark Cuban would be inclined to take a risk on anything Lohan had going because of course he needs to get even more involved in Hollywood than he already is.
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7. MSNBC's Lockup. We're kidding. Sort of. If Lohan's not headed back to jail any time soon, she could make a guest appearance talking to prisoners about personal responsibility — not drinking and driving, chemical dependence, lying to police, and theft. It would be a public service and could help people at home. Win-win!
Does Lindsay Lohan have a future in TV? Will this be a way to right her ship? What roles would you like to see her play?