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Ellen Gray: The 'reality' side of Richards & Lohan

DENISE RICHARDS: IT'S COMPLICATED. 10 p.m. Monday, E! LIVING LOHAN. 10:30 p.m. Monday, E! THE TABLOID rich aren't so different from you and me.


LIVING LOHAN. 10:30 p.m. Monday, E!

THE TABLOID rich aren't so different from you and me.

They go to the DMV and get nowhere.

They try to get out of jury duty and get voicemail.

Their dogs - not to mention their pigs and absent daughters - make messes, and their assistants are left to clean it up.

OK, so maybe you and I don't have assistants with pooper-scoopers. But then we're not as fiercely busy as supermarket weekly darlings Denise Richards and Dina Lohan, whose back-to-back "reality" shows, "Denise Richards: It's Complicated" and "Living Lohan," premiere Monday night on E!

After a half-hour with each, I was thinking the "E" now stands for "excrement," but I know there may be those among you who can't get enough of the doings of Charlie Sheen's ex and Lindsay Lohan's mom.

For you, E! offers a cure that's probably surer than rehab.

Because if you can maintain any interest in these people after watching the contrived set of circumstances they're claiming as their real lives, you probably have what it takes to make it as an assistant to a D-list celebrity.

Starting with a strong stomach.

Taking a cue, perhaps, from Bravo's "Hey Paula," whose premiere featured close-ups of dog poop, "It's Complicated" serves up pig poop on the floor of Richards' kitchen, as well as many shots of the family's pet pigs doing what pigs do even when the cameras aren't running.

Richards also shares her home with so many dogs she has trouble remembering their names, three cats, and her widowed father, who seems normal enough, everything considered.

That's maybe the only good news for Richards' ex, who'd unsuccessfully tried to block the participation of their two young daughters. They're on camera a few times in the premiere but blessedly seem too young to participate in most of their mother's on-camera activities.

No, she doesn't visit a psychic - the Kathy Griffin test for telling if a "reality" show's faked - but she does go to the Department of Motor Vehicles to try to get the name Sheen off her license. (Lest we forget.)

She also spends what seems an inordinate amount of time trying to get her pig, Charlotte, pregnant (she does know the spider was named Charlotte, right?) and trying to fend off her friends and family's attempts to fix her up with a guy who's not a famous actor or rock star.

Or a pig.

Oh, and she gets a spray-on tan! And diapers a pig!

Next to Dina Lohan, Richards looks like the Energizer bunny.

Mom may have pictures aplenty of her famous daughter, Lindsay, but in "Living Lohan," she's sharing the Long Island McMansion with the only two Lohan minors left - and an undetermined number of dogs - while trying to shape 14-year-old Ali in her wayward sister's image, a goal no one seems to question.

Seeing Dina spend her days scouring the tabloids and the Internet for reports of Lindsay's latest exploits - ostensibly so she'll know who to sue next - would be sad if it weren't so excruciatingly dull.

But some of the scenes involving Ali feel like foreshadowing.

Down in Texas, they've taken more than 400 children away from their polygamy-cult parents on the suspicion that some may be being pushed into adult roles at too young an age.

On E!, they have videotape. Maybe someone - not you or me, but someone - should take a look. *

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