Oprah: Going, Going…Not Gone?

oprah crying

We’ve watched in awe as grown men have cried and admitted to adultery and other crimes on her show.

Our stomachs have churned with envy as show guests have walked away with cars, houses and million of dollars.

We’ve bought crappy books because she said they were great. We’ve made Dr.Phil and Gayle as much a part of our lives as they are of hers. And now, we have to say goodbye?

Honestly, it doesn’t matter. Oprah’s time to go has come–at least, it’s her show’s time to leave. After two decades, there can’t be much left to see, can there?

Except maybe the finale, where every world-famous celeb–from Tom Hanks to Tom Cruise, Madonna to Maria Shriver–ganged up to bid adieu to Oprah, who moved so many of us to tears. Sometimes out of real and raw emotion, and sometimes out of frustration at the saccharine fakeness of it all!

In a purple dress that accentuates her famously changing silhouette, Oprah steps into the limelight, singing, dancing and joking with her friends.

Broken into a two parts and titled, “Surprise, Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular,” the episodes have fun moments worth watching, like Madonna saying, “The woman’s got balls,” or even better, Jerry Seinfeld quipping that being at the event was like “a dream that a disoriented husband would tell to a Freudian shrink.”

Rural roots to first black billionaire
Oprah might have long since lost touch with the reality of everyday living, the averageness of days filled with worrying about bills and jobs. Surrounded by uber-personalities like herself every waking minute, could she really remember what it was like to be the daughter of a teenage single mother or grow up as a poor Mississippi barber’s child?

It might have taken her years of hard work to be known as the “queen of talk,” but she sure showed signs early on. At the age of 19, co-anchoring a radio show, she shone for her emotional style and was soon deemed perfect for a talk show. Thus, a legend was born. America’s first black billionaire. And a female to boot.

Her story might be one in a billion; her rise might be extra-extraordinary, and with the passage of time she might have turned into a caricature of sorts. But with the end of the talk show that made her so famous, it might bode well for cynics to remember that behind all that glitz and hype is a woman who really strove and rose above her circumstances.

Is it really goodbye?
Despite the big, starry adieu, the question is if we really are bidding goodbye to O.

Having launched her own (no pun intended) 24-hour-channel called OWN, Oprah is doing the best she can to promote it. And that involves a prime time talk show–sound familiar?

Though she won’t be hosting it every night,  the rest of the shows on OWN are not without Oprah’s influence. The network says that their programming vision is all about shows with no malice, mockery or negativity of any sort. Is it all schmaltzy, gooey, feel-good stuff? Most of it is. 

For instance, a filmmaker with cerebral palsy, endlessly capable of witty one-liners, hosts a travel show on the network. But the network’s ratings in the first quarter have been poor. So much so that the CEO had to be fired.

Though most of it is really good-natured and positive, is the new-age audience still interested in “this stuff?”

The launch of her network may mean that the end of Oprah’s eponymous TV show may not be the end of her talk show career. However, changing audience tastes may leave Oprah with a behind-the-camera job, steering a network with somewhat fading ideals in an era that’s beginning to look increasingly different from the time that made her a star.