Marry: My introduction to The Fosters was probably more unusual than most. A few months ago, after spending roughly an hour browsing Netflix (because isn’t that always how it seems to go?), I stumbled upon Kristen Bell’s recent indie flick, The Lifeguard. I’m not going to tell you it’s a good movie, but it does feature Bell’s 29-year-old character having an affair with a 16-year-old. It’s almost not creepy because the 16-year-old in question A. looks 21 (still super young, I know; it’s a movie) and B. is played by David Lambert, who makes the character feel a lot older and more mature. He’s also pretty easy on the eyes.
Anyway, The Lifeguard, of course, sent me to IMDb to see what else Lambert has done, which is how I found myself binge-watching season one of The Fosters on Netflix the way most people my age would, say, House of Cards. I was initially disappointed by Lambert in The Fosters; he’s essentially been neutered and — for lack of a better word — dorkified to tone down the raw sexuality he exuded so well in The Lifeguard. It is an ABC Family show, after all.
You may have heard about the show because it’s the latest target of those groups that protest the portrayal of gay people and non-traditional marriages on television. While it’s true that the show is about a lesbian couple, that’s not what makes their family non-traditional. What makes the Fosters different is how they came together. Lambert plays Brandon, Stef Foster’s son from her first marriage (her ex-husband was her partner on the police force for awhile). Stef (Teri Polo) and her beautiful-inside-and-out wife, Lena (Sherri Saum), then took in — and later adopted — two foster children, twins Jesus and Mariana.
The series starts when Stef and Lena decide to foster another pair of siblings, Callie and Jude. At the end of the first season, they choose to adopt them. In case five kids weren’t enough for them to handle on a police officer and school administrator’s salary, Sherri Saum’s pregnancy is being written into the show this season as Lena fulfilling her desire to carry a child. Their beautiful Craftsman house is going to be so full…of love, but also kids.
What I love most about The Fosters isn’t just its portrayal of a non-traditional family like it ain’t no thing (because it really isn’t; apologies to any staunch "family values" groups who believe otherwise) and the fact that it casts actors and writes characters from every background and walk of life, it’s how much it reminds me of another “issue of the week” show, Degrassi: The Next Generation. Any potential teen drama that can arise does. Unprotected sex and a possible teen pregnancy? Check. Abusing ADHD medication? Got it. Making and selling fake IDs? Sure. Being a piano prodigy? I didn’t say they were all negative issues, did I?
Also, since David Lambert is apparently incapable of playing someone involved in a regular relationship, his character’s love interest is Callie, his soon-to-be adopted sister. This show, I tell you.
Kill: I’m usually the world’s biggest Lindsay Lohan apologist. After I saw The Parent Trap, I spent two solid weeks asking my mom if she swore I didn’t have a twin sister they put up for adoption when I was born. Point is: I thought the movie was awesome, and Lohan was awesome in it. I also had a close friend growing up who is very, very much like Lindsay — right down to the first name. I’ve seen what my Lindsay has gone through, and I know it’s not easy for her or the people who love her.
Lohan came of age at that brief moment in time before everyone had cameras on their phones, and tabloids relied on paparazzi and insiders to create the narratives for celebrities who transfixed the nation. She was under a microscope from day one, and when you add that to obsequious handlers eager to do her bidding, an addictive personality, and a dysfunctional family, it was a recipe for trips to court, jail, and rehab — all of which the tabloids continued to cover with glee.
It’s obvious that Lindsay needs help, but I don’t think the platform Oprah’s provided her with on her OWN docuseries, Lindsay, is the correct way to provide it. On the show’s premiere this past Sunday, we got a few brief moments of what is probably the real Lindsay, although at this point it seems like she’s a caged animal ready to snap at anyone who breaks her trust — and it’s very easy to betray her. This is a person who’s been let down her whole life, so surrounding her with cameras that automatically send her into professional-actress mode makes the moment when she’s no longer able to hide how she’s really feeling that much more painful to witness.
Also, what drives me insane about The Bachelor happens again, here. Everyone just talks around things in vague, all-encompassing terms. When Oprah asks Lindsay what she wants to get out of the show, there’s a lot of talk of how she just wants to “be me…honest and open.” But, even though she lives with a sober coach with whom she frequently discusses her “path,” and “where she needs to be right now,” Lohan is unable to take any action since the paparazzi essentially render her a prisoner in her hotel.
What she really needs is a regular routine — maybe even a normal, 9-to-5 job outside the film industry — that would give her purpose on a smaller, everyday level, which could translate into a more overarching life plan. Unfortunately, as long as her actions make headlines and provide fodder for a reality show — and as long as she’s “Lindsay Lohan: once-promising actress” — she’ll never be able to do that. So, please, don’t watch Lindsay. I think that’s the only way we, the public, can help the real Lindsay.