reality tv

What Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club Has Taught Me About Lindsay Lohan

Lindsay Lohan. Photo: MTV

Let’s be real: Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club is a badly crafted Vanderpump Rules knockoff that disappoints in every regard besides the gallons of tea that it serves us about Lohan, which could honestly fill one of those huge Champagne guns she (at one point) shoots at her new employees. It has all the elements that make for great reality TV: a villainous sidekick, a bunch of 20-something singles in bikinis, a child star managing them, and a logical reason for all of them to be day drinking on a beach.

If you haven’t spent hours of your life watching this badly edited display of what Instagram-ready contouring looks like in sunlight (spoiler: It looks bad!), let me give you a quick rundown: Lindsay Lohan has reinvented herself as a #girlboss. She owns a “beach club” in Mykonos with her “best friend” Panos. She has imported a bunch of American bottle servers into the famously robust Greek economy to work at her club as “VIP Hosts.” She has left her hard-partying days behind, and instead, she’s decided to sell the party. Because who doesn’t want to party like Lindsay Lohan? Right? Right?!

Much like Lohan’s comeback, the show is not quite working out the way one might have hoped: After a solid debut last month, the show’s ratings have declined by 60 percent, reportedly because viewers started tuning out once their initial curiosity about Lohan had been satisfied. But those who bailed on Beach Club early are missing out on all sorts of fascinating glimpses into the current state of LiLo. Here’s what I learned from watching her show.

She still has the Accent™
Ah, yes, the Accent™. The gift that keeps on giving. In case you aren’t hooked up to a TMZ-branded IV, Linds resurfaced from self-imposed exile a few years ago with the Accent™. Not just any accent: an unplaceable, untraceable accent, accompanied by a handle on the English language akin to my grandma’s handle on her “e-Pad.” True, she’s been living in Dubai. True, she’s been working in Greece. Also true: She was born and raised in LONG ISLAND.

Lindsay’s speech patterns vary throughout the series, presumably because the producers tried to tame the Accent™. But the Accent™ cannot be tamed. Even when it’s dialed down, its cadence is present. A cadence that says, “My first language is not English.” Even though … it is. At one point, she cries, and I swear to GOD it all goes away.

She was abused on this beach. So she bought this beach.
Lohan had a very public, very tumultuous relationship with her ex, Russian millionaire Egor Tarabasov, who physically abused her in a disturbing episode that was caught on camera. In the first episode, she describes being abused by Tarabasov on the exact beach on which she is currently standing, saying, “Instead of crying or getting angry, I decided that I would own this beach one day.” Then … SHE BOUGHT THE BEACH! She opened her beach club on it so that “everyone can have fun here.” Besides being incredibly inspiring, this is a classic Lohan revenge ballad in the making:

“You hurt me by the sea / So I bought the sea
And now I drink rosé / And party by the sea
You can’t hurt me / Or the sea!”

The weirdest thing about this story is how often she retells it. By my count, she tells the full story on the show three times, and alludes to it a bunch of other times. Women should be allowed to tell their stories whenever they want, especially their stories of abuse. But more than once, the retelling seems to be instigated by her business partner Panos. The last time she tells it, Lindsay is struggling to describe the abuse and Panos smacks his hands together to illustrate Lohan getting hit. He then lowers his hands in prayer. It is a truly disturbing moment and brings me to my next point …

She mayyyybe doesn’t surround herself with the best people
Don’t get me wrong, I love Panos, who’s a perfect reality-TV villain. He’s gay. He’s mean. He looks like a Greek Maleficent with more highlighter on his face than an actor’s script in pilot season. At first, I thought he would never take off his sunglasses, and honestly, I was here for it. Yes, he picks up Lindsay’s slack. Yes, he has a talent for terrorizing the VIP Hosts. And, yes, he follows Lindsay everywhere, which seems to prove that he is “loyal.” But the guy described Lindsay as “part of his family … right now.” RIGHT NOW? Right. Now.

He is not to be trusted.

She’s very protective of “the Lohan brand”
In a moment of classic producer-orchestrated tomfoolery, Lohan asks the VIP Hosts to write down their intentions in life. If they aren’t to do with furthering the Lohan brand, then they might as well leave: “I don’t have time for people making their own intention on working with me and branding what my future looks like.” Branding what my future looks like. The future is … scary.

Dutifully, they include her in their life goals. One VIP Host, Sara, says her No. 1 goal in life is to “grow the Lohan brand.” This appeases Lohan (for now), who is constantly talking about her brand. She fires someone because they aren’t “working for the branding.” The VIP Hosts titter about how she’s “serious about her brand.” She says the house the VIP Hosts are staying in is not for partying, it is “for Lohan branding only.” As if the Lohan brand isn’t partying. Maybe the Lohan brand is … branding?

She calls Oprah … a lot
In the aforementioned life goal/branding exercise, Lohan has Panos read out her own intentions. After “Change the World” the next item is: “Always Call Oprah.” Lohan brings up her former reality-TV collaborator a lot. She refers to Oprah as “her 911.” She mentions multiple times that she consulted Oprah on what to do when the VIP Hosts acts up. On the aftershow — a confusing addition that only lasted for one episode and was hosted by Jonathan Bennett of “Aaron Samuels from Mean Girls” fame — she mentions that she texts Oprah so often that “I think I might harass her.” Her other famous confidant? Al Pacino! She texts them both for advice “literally constantly.” In one scene, she’s cooking for her friends, chopping the head off of a fish in an exercise that she calls “shuck[ing] the fish” and screams “If Oprah could see me now!” to camera. If Oprah could see you now she would tell you that you fillet a fish. You don’t shuck it. Oprah out.

The paparazzi has affected her more than you can imagine
In the opening credits of the show, Lohan says, “Mykonos is beautiful, open-minded, and most of all safe.” You get the feeling that she doesn’t just mean physically safe, but rather, safe from prying eyes. In the aftershow, she confirmed that she moved to Dubai because “it’s illegal to take photos of people without their knowledge,” and she finds relief in not having to “edit my life according to the judgment of people snapping cameras in my face.” At one point she says that her “biggest fear is being judged.” She’s constantly talking about her management style like a paranoid schizophrenic in a bad TV movie talks about a walk in the park: “Just like everyone’s watching me, I’m watching them. Camera’s flipped now.” Her attitude is both sad and understandable, and it permeates her everyday conversation. You realize as you’re watching the show that you’re not exactly helping this problem. Oops.

She compares herself to Putin. More than once.
Okay, so we all saw the pictures of her shooting guests at her beach club with a huge rose-gold Champagne gun and exclaiming that she “feels like Putin,” right? Because … that happened. And it was disturbing to say the least. But also, earlier in the series, she says to Panos that the “second you become emotional, I become Putin.” She goes on to say that she “has no emotion when it comes to money and business,” which honestly feels like a wish more than a statement, as she gets pretty emotional about her money and her business throughout the show. I guess if you live in Dubai and almost got married to a young Russian oligarch, Putin seems like a pretty normal reference. To me, it seem like a callous reference a violent authoritarian leader. But hey, we’re all having fun, right?!

She’s pretty bad at being a #girlboss
One way in which the Putin reference may be accurate is that Lohan seems like a horrible boss. Not only does she degrade her employees in the Champagne Gun Incident, she also makes a blue-haired VIP Host dye her hair pink because the club’s DJ already has blue hair, and apparently in Greece it’s illegal to have two hot girls with blue hair working at the same establishment. At one point she privately calls them all “disposable” and says “if they don’t change, we’ll find ten more like them,” only to insist to their faces that they’re all “a family now.”

To make matters worse, Lindsay and Panos’s communication with their employees is extremely bad; after watching six episodes of this show, I have no clue what their job expectations are. One day it’s okay to drink at an event; the next it’s not. One day they’re supposed to be flirting with the guests; the next it’s too much. On the first night of filming, Lohan gets angry with the VIP Hosts for swimming in the pool and drinking, when she gave them a villa to live in with a pool and a fridge full of alcohol.

Lohan attempts to justify this behavior by constantly talking about how it’s “my name on the door,” but in the episodes that I’ve watched, I haven’t seen one single door with her name on it. There are branded short-shorts that say “Lohan” on the butt. There’s a “living wall” filled with dead plants that has “Lohan” emblazoned across it. But as far as the viewer can tell, there is no “Lohan” sign on any door at the Lindsay Lohan Beach Club.

She supports other women — to a point
Lohan came under fire recently for her disparaging comments about the #MeToo movement, so when two of the female VIP Hosts get into a physical altercation, she takes it as a PR opportunity to come out as officially okay with other women. Lindsay spares them both from being fired, saying that “girls shouldn’t be hitting each other over a guy. Especially with what we’re going through in the world these days. They should be doing the opposite. Standing together and saying he’s not worth it.” Yes, Linds! Go off! Write that empowerment anthem and I will play it in my mom’s Ford Explorer when I go home on my next breakup retreat! Keep in mind, though, that earlier in the series she tells Panos that “if [a woman] has more makeup on than me, then she’s fired.” So she’s a card-carrying feminist … in progress?

She’s VERY entertaining
She dances! She dazzles! She speaks in riddles of broken English! And she looks great while doing it. She knows what her audience wants to see, and she provides it all while wearing gaudy earrings that could be from Target or Tiffany’s but nowhere in between. She wears a dress made of tiny pieces of disco ball in a ton of the talking-head commentary, and at one point she wears a floor-length jean dress with a jean miniskirt on top of it. She’s an entertainment genius. At one point she compares herself to Steven Spielberg. Unironically. She also lets a lobster BACK INTO THE OCEAN (after it is definitely dead), calls him her Sebastian, and she his Ariel. She’s honestly so sweet sometimes, and I would love to buy her a piña colada and party in a cabana with her. I just hope I’m invited after this article.

What Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club Has Taught Me About LiLo