I really don't care for Oprah - I shouldn't pick on her because she's such an easy target and because she's going off the air soon anyway, and she's somebody everyone loves. But I don't like her.
I don't watch her but sometimes my wife does and I listen in. The first part of the show wasn't so bad; an interview with Michael Douglas who's recently recovering from cancer. He was there, of course, to promote his new movie, a bio-pic about Liberace, but I didn't mind that because it's interesting to hear an articulate fairly courageous person who's made it to the other side of a life-threatening ordeal.
Then came out the founder of Nike. In addition to talking about his phenomenal self-made success, they showed one of his commercials, which Oprah, gushed over. Then Night, the founder's name, presented Oprah with a custom-made pair of running shoes, which she gushed over. Then she told the audience in that gushing way she has that all of them were going home with a free pair of tennis shoes and the audience gushed. Lots of shots astonished faces - they just couldn't believe their luck! - as attractive young women presented everyone with a shoe box and a special gps watch. The audience was well-mannered enough not to open the boxes or betray disappointment that surely they were empty. The boxes had to be empty, right? Unless each audience member was required to give a shoe size which was then telegraphed to the warehouse, the boxes would have to be empty. The shoes will be mailed to them later. My guess is the process will take at least three weeks. Oprah didn't say "You'll get your shoes in three weeks, but in the meantime, you can have the box," because that would have marred the ecstasy of the moment.
Actually, the audience was extremely gracious about the whole thing. If someone told me I was going home with a free pair of tennis shoes and a gps watch, I'd be pleased, but I think I'd be able to contain my screams of joy. And this audience - no offense meant - as a whole, might have less use for these things than I do. Oprah was giving these people something so they could go home and exercise.
I don't mind that Oprah has found a way to turn the talk-show format into an infomercial, an infomercial with enormous ratings, so what? TV can't exist without commercials, we all know that. What creeps me out, is that when Oprah does this stuff, and she does it all the time, people think she's being generous. I swear to you, I think Oprah's thinks she's being generous. A gigantic ad displaying screaming women thrilled to get whatever merchandise is being dished out to them, after said merchandise is gushed over by the most influential pitchwoman on the planet, and people think this is generosity!
On another show a woman, I know not who, a movie star, I guess, was telling Oprah how "spiritual" she was. She denied having any particular "religion," she was just spiritual and opined this was superior to actually having a set of beliefs that tend to narrow one. I do understand her point, Lord knows what evil has been done by dogma and schism, but in the context of the Oprah show, it just irked me. The implication of the whole smug dialogue was that Oprah and her guest were both deeply spiritual women, spiritual in this undefined way that was neither Frisbee-Worshipper nor Methodist, and that these two women, famous and wealthy, had some great insight to share with the obscure housewife in Little Rock, whose kid just got picked up for dealing meth. Of course their spirituality wasn't a message, it was just spirituality. Somehow, against all odds, Oprah and this movie star and singer, had found contentment with their lives, such as they were. There wasn't anything to it. It was an empty shoebox.
Later in that same show Oprah gave away some free DVDs.