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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Saint Oprah

Oprah is done. The final episode of her twenty-five year-long talk show was aired yesterday. For months, the entire world of media speculated who would be on the final episode and how Oprah would end it, and in the end, it was classic Oprah: uplifting, a little preachy and most definitely all about Oprah.

Listen, as we said the other day, we give mountains of props to the daytime queen. She made the decision years ago to raise her show above the "trash" genre on which so many other daytime talk shows of the day were overdosing, she made reading books popular again, she genuinely inspired millions to live better lives, she raised millions for charity, and at times she could be hilariously entertaining. And when it mattered most, she was always a great friend to and defender of the gay community.

But Oprah over the years could also be a little preachy with the "living your best life" message, and sometimes she could get swallowed up in her own self-importance. Yes, she has done great things, but when calling attention to one's greatness, it's best left for others to do that for you, not to do it yourself. In the end, when it mattered most, a little modesty on her final show would have gone a lot farther for Oprah. Oprah held the stage all by herself for the entire hour, droning on and on about how grateful she was that she could help so many lives; by the end it was just a little too much. The tone in which she dispensed the wise life lessons she's learned, one got the feeling she'd been to Mt. Sinai where the gospel of Oprah had been etched in stone for her, and now it was her holy mission to dispense that wisdom to all those dancing around the golden calf.

Of course, there's a big elephant in the room. Oprah, over the past few years, has grown fat again. It's a little hard to accept "taking control of one's life" advice from someone who can't even control her own food portions.

But that's okay, as we said, we love Oprah, and she most certainly deserves many accolades for her positive contribution to society. But how much more would we have loved her if, for her final episode, instead of devolving into a "I'm letting you worship the goddess one last time" session, Oprah would have simply run a show of the funniest and most heart-warming moments from her twenty-five years on t.v. Not long from now, no one will remember Oprah's "best life" advice, instead Oprah's real legacy are all those classic t.v. moments, the funny ones, the sad ones, the life-affirming ones. Because despite what many think of her, including one Jada Pinkett-Smith who should really get some help, Oprah is not Ghandi, she's not Winston Churchill, she's not even Mother Teresa, but she was a kick-ass t.v. talk show host who hosted a hell of a talk show and who managed to help a few people along the way. That's not Jesus-level stuff, but it's a damn-great accomplishment.

So now, Oprah, gather up your dogs, rent them another $1,000 dollar a night hotel room of their own, eat some more pie with Gail, and have a party, girl. You deserve it. Oh, and don't forget to swing by Disney World; if it's closed, it's okay, you can buy it. Now that's a "great life"!

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