This post is gonna take on a bit of a personal tone (I’ve had half a glass of Ramona Singer pinot grigio, guys…get ready). See, I kinda love Oprah Winfrey in a major way. I am one of those “children of the 80s” whose mother had O on the TV every afternoon after school starting in 1986 and so Oprah basically raised me, which explains why I shout-talk everything in a very deep voice. I can remember watching her wheel out that wagon full of meat when she lost all that weight on crazy diet #1947201 and thinking to my young self, “I WANT OPRAH TO BE ON MY TV FOREVER!” Today, my childhood dream is shattering…and I’m left with nothing but this Nate Berkus designed bowl in which to pick up the pieces.
The Oprah Winfrey Show
Oprah Winfrey taped her some of her last shows this week (spoiler alert: there were celebrities!) and the one requirement for appearing onstage was that each star had to do their best “Oprah having an orgasmic meltdown” impression. The roster was a who’s who of ultimate Oprah BFFs, including Maya Angelou, Tom Hanks, Will and Jada Smith, Tom Cruise and his wife-bot Katie Holmes, Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell, Halle Berry, Aretha Franklin, Michael Jordan, Maria Shriver, Patti LaBelle, Josh Groban and, randomly, Dakota Fanning.
Our favorite pics from what will surely be the world’s saddest week of TV programming, below.
We’ll admit it. Sometimes when we’re watching Oprah’s Ultimate Favorite Things episode, we get so excited we start speaking in tongues. According to Yale professor Kathryn Lofton, when it comes to Oprah Winfrey, religious figure might not be too far off. According to Lofton, Winfrey is similar to a religious icon in that she employs a sermon-like structure in her show, uses speech patterns similar to preachers, and offers a cohesive message, or gospel, to her followers. Then again, nobody actually thinks Mr. Winfrey can walk on water. Unless she’s been saving it for the show’s finale. In which case, brava for saving the best for last.
All joking aside, there is cultural significance in the fact that millions of viewers find meaning in the talk show host’s message of self-esteem and hope, including those fans begging Oprah to save soap operas from their untimely fate. “Gospel is a word that means ‘good news,’ ” Lofton explained. “Oprah says that the good news is ‘you.'” Think about it: if I described a religious figure who teaches people hope, gives stuff away, and has great hair and sandals, who do you immediately think of? Throw in a best friend named Gayle, and we are looking at Jesus 2.0 here.
[Photo: Getty Images]
Oprah Winfrey‘s talk show will end on May 25th of this year. Given that she is Oprah, the stakes are already pretty high, how do you end a twenty-five-year-long run of iconic television and still thrill your viewers? It’s going to be hard to top “Everybody gets a car!” but she is certainly going to try and outdo herself. Page Six reports that for one of her final episodes, Oprah has reached out to Donald Trump to try and convince the tycoon to get a makeover and cut his famously terrible hair for her audience’s viewing pleasure.
A source from Trump’s office said they received an email from Oprah’s camp asking him to be on her show, saying that “The eyes of the world will be upon these episodes,” and if he chooses to come on, his makeover will be treated with “integrity” and that Oprah will “not let it become a joke or silly…This will become one of those historical television moments that will become iconic.” Of course, they would also allow Trump to do what he does best: self-promote. He would be offered the chance to discuss his 2012 presidential bid (dear God, no) and talk about The Celebrity Apprentice in exchange for the trim. Trump’s hair has been a punchline for so long that we doubt he’d let Oprah touch it, but if he thinks about all the attention it will get him, he may not be able to resist.
[Photos: Getty Images]
In case you were wondering when Courteney Cox‘s husband went completely off the rails, the fact David Arquette started drinking at age four suggests it was before he could wear shoes without Velcro. “I had my first drink of beer, I must have been four years old,” an exhausted-looking Arquette explains in an interview with Oprah Winfrey today. “I was down in the basement with my dad, and beer was there, and I just grabbed it and drank it, and I remember that, it’s one of my earliest memories.” Yikes, at that rate David could have hit rock bottom at 13, gotten separated at 14 and completed rehab in time to get his learner’s permit.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t just booze that distracted David from the important things in life, like learning the alphabet. “I seriously started drinking probably when I was about twelve,” David admitted. “Kids are doing a lot of stuff very early. I stole pot from my dad when I was eight years old.” Despite what his many Howard Stern interviews might suggest, Arquette wants to save his marriage wife Courteney Cox, even in light of the harsh truths she revealed during his intervention at the hands of sister Patricia Arquette and friends. “I’m not attracted to you right now,” Cox reportedly told him. “She said, ‘I don’t want to be your mother anymore.’ I felt really sort of abandoned at that point,” David admitted. We guess when you’re tipsy during Show ‘N’ Tell, you don’t pick up on the finer points of relationship building. Here’s hoping Arquette can get a handle on his hard-partying ways, or else he is never going to get out of the Time Out Chair, i.e. the fold-out couch in Courteney’s guest house.
[Photo: Getty Images]
There has been more speculation about Oprah Winfrey‘s private life than probably any other celebrity. From her close but non-lesbian relationship with Gayle King to her vast fortune to who her father is, the woman has been the target of more rumors than Fleetwood Mac (you’re welcome, the three Fleetwood Mac fans that read this). But one thing that Oprah plans to address today is the deep, dark family secret that’s been floating around recently that she wants to set straight. On her show today, Winfrey plans to acknowledge that she has a half-sister whom she only just met two months ago.
Winfrey says she discovered that she has a half-sister, whose name is Patricia, in November and they met shortly after. Winfrey’s mother gave birth to Patricia and gave her up for adoption in 1963, unbeknownst to Oprah who was living with her father at the time. Oprah explained that learning about her new family member was “was one of the greatest surprises of my life.” And lest you think that Patricia is a con artist, the DNA matches and Oprah’s mother admitted the truth as well. Patricia began a search for her birth mother which led her to discover in 2007 that she was related to one of the richest women in the world. Not a bad thing to find out when you’re searching for your biological family. All the details of the family drama will be revealed on Oprah’s show today, but here’s hoping that there’s no Marcia-Jan Brady rivalry between the new siblings.
[Photo: Getty Images]
When Oprah Winfrey goes to Australia, who else can she hang out with but the most badass Aussie of them all, Russell Crowe? This photo amuses us to no end. We’re not going to make any Orange Oprah comparisons but seeing these too looking all chummy and sailor-like in Sydney makes us go oi? This is Russell Crowe. He’s like that guy who grunts and scowls and throws massive chunks of meat on the barbecue while knocking back a sixpack. And then Oprah totally going to be, “How do you feel about sailing, Russell?” Do you get our drift? In a sane universe, these two could never be besties. But here they are, in all their we’re-so-BFF glory. They’ll have to be for two episodes of her show, and then they’ll head back to their separate corners of the EQ scale. It’s just… bizarre.
She’s also going to be hanging out with other Aussies stars during her visit, namely Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, next. What about Hugh Jackman? He was in a movie called Australia for cryin’ out loud (with Nicole, natch). He’s going to be high-kicking in disappointment.
Note: We’re deliberately not going to mention Mel Gibson for obvious reasons.
[Photo: Splash News Online]
Oprah Winfrey‘s show yesterday featured interviews with Michael Jackson‘s parents, Katherine and Joe, and his children, Prince Michael, Paris, and Blanket. It was pretty fascinating stuff, especially when you compare his well-spoken children who referred lovingly to their father to Joe’s harsh admission that he beat Michael with a belt. Here are some of the more choice quotes we were struck by from the hour long show.
Paris Jackson jumped into the spotlight at her father’s funeral with an impromptu speech eulogizing her father. She was the most vocal and open of Jackson’s children while speaking with Oprah, telling her “I kinda felt like no one understands what a good father he was. I’d say he was the best cook ever. He was just a normal dad, except he was the best dad. He made the best French toast in the world.” She acknowledged the masks that Jackson made the children wear by saying “He tried to raise us without us knowing who he was, but that didn’t really go so well.”
Jackson’s mother Katherine also spoke lovingly of her son, but was more frank about his behavior, such as the addiction to plastic surgery and his skin-lightening. She said her son lightened his skin because he started to lose pigment due to vitiligo and that he “didn’t want to start looking like a spotted cow.” However, she says, “I don’t know what in the world he did to change that, but he did.” We’re guessing the stockpiles of skin-whitening creams had something to do with it. Katherine also says she thought his nose got “too small, like a toothpick” and spoke to him about his addiction to surgery, going so far as to ask Michael’s plastic surgeon to perform dummy operations on Michael’s nose so he would be tricked into thinking he had work done when he hadn’t. It’s sort of heartbreaking to listen to a mother discuss her son’s issues like this, but it explains so much in retrospect.
Even more issues were explained when Joe Jackson spoke and tried to explain how he disciplined his kids. Joe said he disciplined his kids because “It kept them out of jail and kept them right,” and that “I never beat him. That never happened.” Katherine later clarified “You might as well admit it, that’s the way black people raised their children. He used a strap.” Oh, see, it wasn’t Joe administering the beatings, it was the strap that beat his children.
So many questions were answered but so many more remain. And while we cringe thinking about everything in Jackson’s past and all the issues he had with his looks and his addictions and his family history, it’s reassuring to see his children turning out so well.
Six years ago, Oprah Winfrey told her studio audience “Everybody gets a car!” and created a meme and a mantra all in one, her generosity only overshadowed by the insanity of three hundred people screaming and crying as they were notified of their new rides. Well, now that it’s Oprah’s farewell season she clearly has to one-up herself. On today’s show, Oprah tells her studio audience she has a surprise trip in store for them, and she ends up sending them on a trip halfway around the world to Australia. Oh, and John Travolta was there too, stepping out of a mock Quantas plane in Oprah’s studio to share in the joy (no word on whether he’ll actually pilot the screaming hordes there himself).
That’s pretty insane, even by Oprah’s standards. An 8-day trip overseas, fully paid for, is a dream come true for pretty much anyone. Sure beats a dumb old car that requires gas and washing! And this is just the first day of the season, too – we can’t imagine how things will escalate from here. Birkin bags? Private islands? HAVING GAYLE KING LEAVE THE OUTGOING MESSAGE ON EVERYONE’S VOICEMAIL?? God, can you imagine? We’re insanely jealous of the “loyal viewers” tapped to attend this taping and anyone else who plans to go this season.
[Photo: Getty Images]
Oprah Winfrey is trying to ease out of her twenty-five-years as talk show host by lining up her own replacement, but it’s not going to be Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz or Rachael Ray. Instead, Oprah plans to team up with reality television producer Mark Burnett to create a show that will give an unknown person the chance to live their best life in front of the cameras called Your Own Show: Oprah’s Search for the Next TV Star.
The show will air on OWN (the Oprah Winfrey Network, of course) starting in January 2011. Burnett explained “Much in the way American Idol finds unknown people (to be recording stars) there’s no reason we can’t find someone who deserves their own show.” Except that, you know, regular people don’t have Oprah’s cred and won’t be able to stuff Julia Roberts, the cast of Twilight and a mini-seeing-eye horse who wears Converse high tops and can do backflips into one hour of programming the way Oprah is able to.
Casting calls are going on now and submissions are being accepted on Oprah’s website, so if anyone out there has the strength to endure a reality show that will lead to a short-lived talk show, now is the time to get on it.
[Photo: Getty Images]