Oprah: What's the big deal?

I remember when Oprah first began her talkshow. I was seven years old and I thought her name was funny, mostly because I thought her name was Opera. Later in life, I played with the idea of writing an Oprah Opera. But after the failure of my second opera, Gutter Punks Eat Corn Smut: The Rise and Fall of Lord Byron, I decided against it.

Over the course of the last few years, I have noticed a growing fanatical devotion to Oprah Winfrey. It baffles and scares me. I?m not saying Oprah is bad, it seems like she wants to help people. I just don?t understand the power she wields. If she recommends a product, it sells like crazy. If she recommends a person, it can launch their career. Remember when Oprah was the boss of Dr. Phil. By the way, Oprah, thanks for giving the world Dr. Phil, I enjoy taking dieting tips from a fat man.

To be honest, I'm scared to even write about Oprah unless I'm going to gush about how great she is. There are a lot of questions running through my head. Will people hate me for not saying she is the greatest person on Earth? Will one of her 'people' read this and send other 'people' to break my thumbs? Does she have supernatural powers she can use against me? See, her status has been elevated to demigod. Bad mouthing Oprah is like bad mouthing Chuck Norris or Doris Roberts or Polycarp of Smyrna.

I know people who record her show everyday so they can watch it when they get home from work. I think the last time I actually recorded a show was in 1994. I figured if someone would bother to tape it, it must be really good. I resolved to watch a few episodes and find out what the fuss was. The following is a log tracking my thoughts about the shows. (The log is not in chronological order, nor were the shows on consecutive days, in fact, no part of this log is organized or accurate.)

Is Oprah Amazing or Annoying: A Log

Day 1: Dr. Oz
Oprah flirts with Dr. Oz and says words like vijayjay. Apparently, she's too shy to say vagina. Oz has some good advice, but has to answer gross questions on TV. Also anal fissures are bad.

Day 2: World Record Holders
A girl zipped herself in a suitcase really fast. I got the idea that this was one of those "Oh Crap We Need a Show" kind of shows.

Day 3: William Shatner
William Shatner comes out, says some funny stuff, intorduces his 14 year old wife, Oprah tells him he's really great. Everyone in the audience gets the first season of Star Trek. I bet people were not happy about that. I can hear them now, "Star Trek ruined my marriage. Stupid Jolene Blalock!"

Day 4: Suze Orman helps a lady whose husband died
Oprah and Suze help a lady get on her feet after her abusive, money wasting husband dies. It was pretty informative and actually helpful. One observation: do not piss off Suze Orman. She will rip your face off.

Days 5 & 6: Uncluttering a ladies house
Some lady has about 46 tons of crap in her house and it's been there forever. Oprah and some other guy she owns* helps her clean it out. The lady cries a lot and is forced to confront her craziness. It changed my life. I'll never put beets on a hamburger again.

The more I watched the show, I realized that I didn?t have that many problems with Oprah herself. I do think it's weird how she does that yelly-thing when she's talking about something exciting. For example, she could say, "Today we have flying marmots and Brad Pitt!" She begins the sentence normally, but ends it like she's an announcer at a Monster Truck rally. It's strangely disturbing. My only other problem with her is something I read in her magazine. Apparently, she gave her 12 year old dog, Sophie, chemotherapy. Is it just me or is it cruel to subject a dog to chemo? Beyond the yelling and animal cruelty, I don't have a problem with her.

Here is my take on Oprah. I don't understand her legions of admirers ready to do her bidding like Aztec priests loaded with payote (or something) while offering a sacrifice to their bloodlusty god. However, there's not anything wrong with her show. But don't read a book just because Oprah says to. Read it because you want to. Don't buy a product unless you need or really want it. Oprah is not the boss of you. She gives suggestions that you should evaluate for yourself. Fanatical devotion is not that useful. Fanatical Pog collecting, on the other hand, is awesome.



*People Owned by Oprah
Name Role
Dr. Phil Not a Doctor
Dr. Oz Actual Doctor
Suze Orman Financial Advice Lady
Eckhart Tolle Spiritual Guy
Bob Greene Fitness Guy
Adam Glassman Style Expertist
Zhen Yang Hou Emperor from the Liang Dynasty
He writes a column about crushing your enemies

May 2008