Sadly, we have just begun the final season of The Oprah Winfrey Show and I will have to strike this one off of my life's To-Do List, as I did last year with 'Seeing Michael Jackson Live'. However, I feel that the occasion behoves me to share what The Oprah Winfrey Show has meant to me over the last 18 or 19 years.
The highlight is Oprah. Whatever people say about her, I think Ms Oprah Winfrey is an inspiration to me and millions of people all over the world. I truly believe that she is genuine and has dedicated her life to doing some good with the position of influence that she has and with the wealth that God has blessed her with.
Key Moments For Me
1. The fat in the wagon was probably something I saw on the news first, before seeing the show. But it is an iconic television moment.
2. I have NEVER understood what all the fuss was about regarding the Tom Cruise jumping on a couch episode. I have watched it many times (not just the clip, but the whole interview) and I still cannot for the life of me understand what the big deal was. I think it was just Tom Cruise haters, who resent that the guy was happy about his new love. What is so wrong with that? And because Tom and Oprah are friends, he was able to let go of his emotions more with her.
That's another thing I have loved about Oprah. Being a mega celebrity herself and way richer than any of the most famous super star, it made interviews very different from all other shows. I think that we often saw a candidness and an insight that you don't get from many other talk shows. I remember the Michael Jackson interview. From watching her show, you can tell that John Travolta really is one of her best friends. I loved when Hillary Swank went on with her mum and they both cried. You see, I'm not the only one for whom being on the show is a dream come true.
The Texas Amarillo episodes when they sued her for saying she wasn't gonna eat a hamburger again. Whatever! I'm glad she won. I will always remember the white middle aged dude who recited her lines from The Colour Purple. Hilarious!
The Feel Good Factor
I remember reading an interview with Carmen Electra in Glamour magainzine, where she talked about a rough patch in her life and how we all have those moments when we need to get ourselves together and we end up watching lots of Oprah. I loved that. It is so true. Even though i don't follow the show that much these days (since I no longer watch TV), when I stumble upon a show, the feel good factor is always there.
Celebrity or not, Oprah does ordinary people really well too. In fact, that is why she is successful as she is. There are so many people that have appeared on her show who inspired and motivated me, who touched me and from whom I learned something. The indomitable human spirit has been celebrated time and again.
The Causes (good and bad)
1. Child Abuse. Oprah has done SO MUCH to tackle child abuse (especially sexual abuse). From the Oprah Bill that was signed by Bill Clinton; to the campaign to catch child molesters which I really disagreed with. I thought it created potential witch hunts. Being accused of being a child abuser is something you can never shake off if people get it wrong
2. The Gratitude Journal. The discerning reader of my Big Three Oh 30 things I'm Grateful for birthday email picked up that this was a gratitude journal. This is one of the most effective things I have ever learned. It always pays to count your blessings
3. Leadership Academy. If I am ever blessed with a huge amount of money, I will establish a Leadership Academy to teach and inspire young, gifted people. If not, I will do my best to influence the people who can to ensure it is run properly.
4. Books. Oprah's Book Club has done so much to get people reading proper books from which we can learn something about ourselves, other people and the world. My own book club that I started owes a lot to this great lady who has championed the writtten word and brought reading back into fashion for people ALL OVER THE WORLD.
The Give Aways
This entire post is centred around the stuff Oprah gives away. The fact that most of it is donated by corporations is completely besides the point. She gets these companies to do it for deserving people. The Car episode is still the most awesome as was the whole dream thing. I remember families given new homes, women given new looks. The list is endless. "Look Under Your Seat!"
Oprah's weight loss (and gaining) journey is probably one that has resonated the most with people (especially women) everywhere. It is what makes her normal, just like you or me. About three years ago, I learned from Oprah about truly accepting myself for who I am and believing I was beautiful and sexy, just the way I am. This doesn't mean I have never tried to lose weight (it is healthier for you after all), but it is about self-image, worth and esteem. I will never be the same again.
I love you Oprah!