MoT staff members are not habitual daytime/talk show television viewers since, in addition to preferring for other people to hear us talk, we have a day job (and those are two related things). Even so, we feel compelled to recognize the major event looming on the horizon with the end of the Oprah Winfrey show, which has broken all kinds of new ground and records in its quarter-century history (broadcast just a mere forty miles from MoTHQ, BTW–IK!). Indeed, it would be difficult for any conscious person to have missed the cultural impact of this woman and her numerous multi-media projects. So while we do not celebrate the daytime talk circuit, we cannot help but to pay homage to Oprah herself. Not just a talk show host, Oprah is a force of nature. A national treasure. A vibrant thread in the warp and woof of American pop culture. Seriously: it takes an awesomely accomplished person to be known world-wide by just their first name (Elvis, Cher, Madonna, Bono. . . ). When you can go by a single letter, well, then you’ve entered the Oprahsphere (population: 1).
Given her enormous popularity (not to mention wealth), Oprah could conduct herself as a real jerk: a blingier, female version of Trumpian pomposity wrapped around Sheenesque wack. Yet through her years in the public eye, Oprah has proven herself to be a pretty tasty person. The lady carries herself elegantly and knows how to dress a body shape that might challenge even Tim Gunn. She manages to connect on a personal level with her vast audience, even though her social and economic sphere places her light years away from them. Even though the everyday jewelry worn by this woman, whose net worth is the envy of many national economies, would make even Kate Middleton raise a royal brow, Oprah herself pulls them off with a shrug: these old things? I just wear ’em ‘cuz they sparkle! Let’s share a Tab; it’s FAAAAAB-u-LOUUUUUSSSSS!
One of the most noteworthy aspects of Oprah’s handling of her celebrity and wealth is her penchant for gift-giving, highlighted particularly well in her “Favorite Things” giveaways on her show. Granted, this event has been humorously mocked for the enthusiasm that Oprah brings to the event (not to mention the wild behavior of her audience). And critics may be skeptical of just how generous it is to give away merchandise donated to the show. You say “product placement,” we say “re-gifting.” Tomayto, Tomahto. We’re willing to embrace the idea that Oprah is acting–at a grand scale–on the better instinct in all of us, that Hobbit-like part of us, to give stuff away. And that’s tasty behavior: not only is Oprah generous with her resources, but her behavior is the absolute opposite of the tribute she could demand, Achaemenid Empire-style, of her devoted followers. And even when those audience members on the receiving end of Oprah’s largesse have a tendency to lose their junk, they never make the mistake of saying one of the stupidest things that you can say to a person who has just given you a gift: you shouldn’t have. All in all, it is a high-octane, super-sized acting out of the best kind of gift-giving (not because the calendar told you to, just because you wanted to) and -receiving (omigosh, I love it, and you are awesome to treat me like that).
Enthusiastic as gift-givers and gracious as gift-getters, MoT staffers are specially interested in this practice of Oprah’s as she nears her final sendoff finale which is so big, so spectacular, that it cannot be held in little ol’ Harpo Studios. No, Oprah has rented out Chicago’s Soldier Field for the sendoff before 61,000 fans. Especially since, well, you heard it here first: MoT’s Senior Pop Culture Analyst will be in attendance at the Oprahganza as a special media guest of The Oprah (Note: by “special media guest of The Oprah” we mean “Tagging Along With Someone Else Who Was Organized Enough To Enter For Tickets and Lucky Enough To Get Two”) and is braced to graciously receive the blessings of The O. Please note that (1) we are not expecting a gift, since that would be in bad taste, and (2) we are not making suggestions, since that would be even worse. But if indeed Oprah shows up with 61,000 gift bags, we think the following guesses (Oprah doesn’t mind us guessing–that’s part of the fun) represent reasonable goodies commensurate to the scale of Oprah’s Last Show. Then again, we, like you, recognize that it’s the presence of the Oprah which has been the gift that keeps on giving, twenty-five years and counting.
Champagne foot bath
Jet pack, just like the one she will use to enter the stadium
Trip to Australia
Wait: trip to Australia? Try a whole freakin’ island on the Great Barrier Reef!
Miniature Hugh Jackmans
A walk-on role in Star Wars. The original one. Via the magic of time-travel
Onyx bathtub full of labradoodles, pugapoos, schnoodles and yorkipoos
Everlasting tranquility, contentment, and well-conditioned cuticles
iPads. Gold-plated iPads
Black Eyed Peas performing live at the event of your choice
On second thought, scratch Black Eyed Peas: those people will already perform anywhere, anytime
Birkin bag with special pockets to fit cell phone, gold-plated iPad, and miniature Hugh Jackman
“Oprah Winfrey Show Farewell Season” logo-emblazoned travel mug that entitles bearer to free refills at the Fountain of Youth
Citizenship in her space nation