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Lindsay Lohan and the difference between a movie and music star flame-out.

Lindsay Lohan and the difference between a movie and music star flame-out. (photo)

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Like 3D and the death of criticism, Lindsay Lohan is the column-filling gift that keeps on giving. Yesterday saw two separate articles on La Lohan from The Wrap, and today the AV Club‘s Nathan Rabin examines late-period flops “I Know Who Killed Me” (which is kind of awesome — seriously) and “Chapter 27.”That’s a lot of attention for an actress who hasn’t had a theatrical release in three years.

Much of this coverage is, predictably, a little ghoulish, though what makes it worse is the quasi-paternalistic, first-person direct form of “advice” a few of these columns pride themselves on. “it ist [sic] too late for her to get it together?” asks the sub-hed on the first Wrap column, as if Lohan were the recalcitrant type who’d once turned in her homework on time and was now smoking pot under the bleachers and might not make it into college.

It’s reminiscent of that infamous 2007 letter from producer James G. Robinson chiding Lohan for having “endangered the quality” of “Georgia Rule,” a Garry Marshall movie about an old woman taming a young firebrand’s downward spiral (spare me). At the time, Salon‘s Stephanie Zacharek speculated that Lohan’s behavior might have been “a subliminal, albeit inappropriate, response to this weird, semi-repressive material.”

Lohan’s movies post-2005 have, in fact, repeatedly played off her troubled image. In 2006’s “Just My Luck,” a girl with perfect luck swaps bodies with a guy whose luck is consistently terrible, precipitating a downward spiral through no luck (heh) of her own. In “I Know Who Killed Me” she plays twins that more or less perfectly sum up the Madonna/whore split. So let’s not say that studios didn’t try to take advantage of this for a while.

So what’s the difference between Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan? Certainly not the quality and alarming nature of the freak-outs. The difference is that Spears is still — until she proves otherwise — bankable. Making movies is more complicated (in production, at least) — you have to get insurance, which a particularly wayward star will make impossible.

It’s worth checking out the Lil Wayne doc “The Carter,” which makes it clear that, if it’s in their best financial interests, record companies will stay far away from finding out what their artists are up to in the studio, substance-abuse wise. We expect our music stars to be martyrs to excess for our entertainment — something Salon‘s Brendan O’Neill distastefully but straightforwardedly expressed in an essay five years ago where he scolded British musicians for not taking enough drugs and took Pete Doherty to task for daring to apologize for his drug problems (because apparently that’s not the way to take Tony Blair down?).

Lohan may well be of questionable talent and a trainwreck and so on. But the dogpiling to repeatedly remind us how she’s “blown it” suggests a collective degree of moralizing that has nothing to do with genuine concern — it’s more like everyone in America apparently wants to work for an insurance company. Just imagine what they would have done to Elizabeth Taylor now.

[Photos: “I Know Who Killed Me,” Tristar, 2007. Video: “Georgia Rule,” Universal Pictures, 2007; “The Carter,” Virgil Films & Entertainment, 2009]

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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