Oprah: Ratings and Ramblings...it must be May Sweeps

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I love watching TV during sweeps months.  November, February, and May are the months I set aside to catch some real jaw-dropping moments.  I'm sure many are worried about which network to tune in to tonight; ABC offers the most coveted mirror ball trophy--FOX will crown a new American Idol--and NBC will decide which chubster is the Biggest Loser.  But for us mothers at home during the last weeks before the munchkins are sprung for the summer--we find comfort in the offerings when the sun is still up.  During the month of May, daytime TV did not disappoint.

I can almost always count on The View and Oprah to deliver.  This particular month--The View--not so much.  Of course Babs pulled out all the stops when she announced her heart surgery.  I imagine she probably got the bad news back in March or April...and asked the doc for a swight deway in scheduwing.  "Doctow--if I can just howed out to announce duwing the foost week of May...my waitings will skywocket".

Now, my gal pal Oprah, on the other hand, has come through like the true champion she, and most of America for that matter, believe she is.  Nothing like a ratings war to bring out her true self...throw in all of her BFF's that arrive during the month to toot their own horns thanks to their summertime movies...add the Queen of Fraud...and you've got yourself some blockbuster television.

I predicted her blockbuster guest of May had to be Tiger Woods--she'd sit down and knock some sense into this boy.  I was wrong--but I still hope against hope he'll be her first guest of her last season--a girl can dream, can't she?

Rielle Hunter kicked off the month.  Not a BFF, not pushing a movie, just a book, although hopefully movie rights are scored before O leaves for her OWN network--this would be a total score during her farwell tour the 2010-2011 season will no doubt provide.

Normally, I think Oprah is a fraud...but this particular interview was one of her best.  I'm surprised her big head didn't pop off her growing-a-bit-smaller-than-last-spring's-frame during this one-on-one.

I remember the blockbuster interview with Rielle's boyfriend Johnny's wife three or four sweeps ago.  I'm sure you remember it as well.  The wife was an absolute mess, showing off her dream home, trying to sell a book about her run for the White House First Lady job while battling terminal cancer.  Cue Oprah and her concerned looks.

She claimed the she's-not-his-girlfriend's baby was not her husbands...sure that was him holding the kid in the basement of an unnamed hotel after midnight one summer evening...but Rielle was a colleague and the handsome one was just offering congratulations.  Oprah even interviewed the husband in a hallway of photos Elizabeth was pointing out near the end of the show.  He assured Oprah that kid wasn't his...and of course he loved his dying wife...cut to pictures from their vow renewal...see Oprah, we love each other.  Oprah b.s.ed the audience with her fake southern accent--hey she came from the south--after she grew up in the Detroit projects--as with most things--Oprah can relate.

So, I imagined the May interview with the now-confirmed-mother of Johnny's kid and official mistress had to be mindblowing.  Hearing the confirmation of who knew what, when and why the rest of the world waited to find out this information regarding a family that came thisclose to calling a certain house on Pennsylvannia Avenue home during a May sweeps segment on the Oprah Show caused me great pause.

Lady O bought the BS hook, line and sinker...until the trusted assistant and lady love came out of the "we were lying all along" closet...just read my book and you'll agree.  Oprah had to be pissed--if she remembered the interview with the actual wife in this equation the same way I remembered it.  I'm sure there are many things Oprah doesn't like--being duped is probably on the top of the list.  Mrs. Dying McLiarston denied what Ms. Imsuchaskank  Homewrecker was now confessing.

As the interview progressed, I realized I might actually be just like Oprah...she seemed to roll her eyes when I did after hearing of Rielle's ability to connect with Johnny on a different plane...yes indeed, the two of them seemed to be not only from a different plane, but also from a different world, not to mention the two knuckleheads more than deserved each other.  I'm convinced psychics and tea-leaf readers are priorities on the mistress'  telephone speed dial.  Lady O seemed to concur. 

The rest of the month has not disappointed.  I can say many negative things about her highness, but she knows what she's doing.  She brought back Tom Cruise--first time he sat on the couch since jumping on it all those years ago.  She all but turned her back on him as his career spiraled downward thanks to his ... is there a better word to call it than "weirdness" nope, I don't think so either...let's call it weirdness.  Ratings are ratings, though, right??  And having this clown back on her stage during the second to last May sweeps before she turns the lights off at Harpo for good just made sense. 

His comeback movie scheduled to air in the Summer of 2010 co-starring her more-likely-than-not BFF Cameron Diaz, not to mention the show was in line to air an episode before the Smiths came to town--seemed the perfect opportunity for O to name drop and suggest who's elbows she is a rubbin'...over and over and over again...did I mention she mentioned The Family Smith would star the following Monday??...Kooky Cruise seemed like the ideal warm up to the BEST.GUEST.EVVVVER.  

She mentioned SEVERAL times during Tom's interview that she had just finished taping the interview with the first family of Hollywood--The Smiths--aka Tom's current BFF's...seems the Beckhams have figured him and the brainwashed missus out and hightailed it back across the pond.

Oprah asked, with a straight face, how Mr. Cruise keeps his kids grounded.  His answer--we're really just like regular people-- was given with an even straighter face.  He talked oodles about Lady Suri--oh, she seems like a real delight...is it any wonder Katie is falling apart before our very eyes--she gets a life sentence with Tom along with Sweet Suri as a bonus prize...someone is running the Cruise show--sadly, it's not poor Katie...and Tom doesn't seem like he's rebounded into the world of stability...Suri is the conductor on that train to nowhere--she decides what they do and when they do it--oh, do I look forward to seeing how her life unfolds in about fifteen years...

He talked a bit about his adopted children with Nicole Kidman...Connor has caught the acting bug...and taking a page out of big, buddy Will's book, Tom's helping the kid learn the ropes...and all that that entails...and if it means he produces the movie to guarantee casting of kid, that's really none of our business...  Not much mention of the girl--I can't even recall him mentioning her by name--and if he did, it escapes me now.  I'll just call her Big Shadow of Suri.  The only thing I know about BS of Suri is, according to her Daddy, she LOVES being Suri's sister--of course she does.  The only thing more exciting than playing second fiddle to Suri must be spending every other weekend being the Big Shadow of Sunday.  How lucky is the unnamed one to be adopted by such an awesome family...according to O--the children are blessed.

The following Monday brought the First Family of Hollywood--Oprah's BESTEST best friends next to Gayle, of course...they discussed what keeps their marriage real--I'm sure the people on the set of Hawthorne love when Mr. Smith arrives on set to "take a break" with his lady love. Go ahead, get your barf bag--I needed one for the entire interview. 

Mrs. Smith is nauseating...not to mention very, very impressed with herself. She and Oprah seem to have so much in common--they greeted each other like long, lost friends.  Sadly, this episode aired at nine in the morning--so my self-imposed rule of NO cocktails before noon negated my wish to make a game of this freakshow and take a sip of a margarita every time Mrs. Smith uttered the phrase of the day: "at-the-end-of-the-day"...or the word of the day:"facillitate". 

For some strange reason, Mrs. Smith seemed to think saying these words made her sound smart--but, not really.  Even when she tossed her head back and annunciated EVERY SINGLE SYLLABLE super, duper slowly and then blinked her eyes purposefully after phrase/word of the day was uttered.  I didn't think this made her sound so smart--actually every time she opened her mouth it seemed as if twenty pounds of stupid came falling out.

And, much like her BFF Oprah, Jada may have moved out of the neighborhood, but it certainly hasn't left her--one look at her shoes--and a few seconds of hearing her break into the ghetto slang as she and O had a bonding moment made that quite obvious.  Luckily for Jada--she married well.  Although Will sounds like a young Cosby in the making...he was once a Prince, right--fresh from BelAire if I remember right.  If he plays his cards right once he rides out of the Hollywood lot and into the sunset there may be some marketing possiblities with Jello.  With any luck tacky sweaters may be back in fashion.

The Smiths kids followed...and Will and Jada were asked the same question posed to Mr. Cruise the Friday before..."How do you keep these precious children grounded"...The Smiths--much like their friend Mr. Cruise--answered the question with straight faces--Mr. Smith started the answer...we offer our children opportunity without taking away their freedom.  

And, as if on cue, Jada finished his thought in true Jada fashion--actually, Oprah, at the end of the day, this facillitates children to be just like normal children.  P.S. they let the kids make their own decisions...and only over-ride if it might cause them harm...at which point they redirect bad behavior to encourage the good behavior.  Perhaps Jada and Will were taking a break on the Hawthorne set when the little miss to Jada's right shaved all the hair off the left side of her head.

At this point Oprah cut to a home video of the Smith family during their recent FOUR MONTH VACATION TO CHINA!!  Yep, they really are just like us regular minions. 

In all fairness, it was a business trip.  Young Jaden (derived from Jada) and Willow (derived from Will) accompanied their parents, the Karate Kid remake's producers, to China to film what is sure to be this Summer's Blockbuster event (if you're asking Oprah...if you ask me I'd say probably not; seeing that Little Ceasers is marketing it on their five dollar pizza box covers).  I can't wait to hear the reviews of the must see movie of the year come July--hopefully the best part isn't when the master teaches young Jaden to "put coat on--take coat off"...are you kidding me??

The older boy--not sure where his name was derived from--, who belonged to mother in audience sitting next to their pastor and agreed with everything Jada said about their special friendship for the sake of the children, did not go to China.  The acting bug didn't seem to bite him--he plays football--and a fall trip to China wasn't in the cards for him. 

It was at this point I'd wished I hadn't packed the boots away for the winter--for what was about to come out of Oprah's mouth was the biggest pile of crap I'd ever heard.

She made a big, big, Oprah deal out of the fact that the Father of the Year managed to fly home EVERY Friday (from China) to watch his boy play ball.  After she read this off the cards, phony tears welled in her eyes as she did what she always does when saying something that even she knows is complete BS...she claps like a seal and repeats WOW...WOW...WOW. 

Yeah, what a guy--get the certificate ready now for Father's Day Frame--Imagine the frequent flyer miles...I'm sure regular guy Will traveled coach...what a sacrafice--what a guy.  Oprah was impressed...Jada beamed...the boy, like me, rolled his eyes.

After having the First Family of Hollywood grace the Harpo stage--the rest of the month's guests really paled in comparison.  The lady with the disfigured face fit the bill for the freakiest show of the month...the kids from Twighlight showed up--I skipped this one.  I couldn't sit through another show where O fawned over an ensemble cast and pretended she'd been a great fan was getting old.  I caught the episode years ago when she had the cast of Seinfeld on prior to their big series finale.  As she fake laughed through Jerry's jokes, she admitted she'd never really watched the show. 

She's also hopped aboard the American Idol train--she sipped tea with Simon asking what we're all dying to know--after breaking off the eight year relationship with that squeaky Extra correspondent--is he really serious about taking the plunge with the newest gal in his life.  He never really answered the question posed, but O got a chance to showcase her British accent.

I caught yesterday's show on the late night rerun.  Her BFF Julia showed up to talk about her--you guessed it--Summer of 2010 Blockbuster movie--based on a book that is Oprah's FAVORITE--naturally.

My favorite parts before I fell asleep during the love fest were when O deemed Julia an actual movie star--yep, she christened her the real deal.  Really, Oprah, didn't the assorted Golden Globe, People's Choice, Sag, and Oscar for her work in Erin Brockovich solidify her acting place in history?  Oprah was positively green with envy that the entire movie featured the toothy one...she was in every.single.frame.  Oh, well O--something to shoot for when you move on to your next endeavor...if you spin your wheels and call your connections, something is bound to come your way.  Give the Smith's a call--maybe they can produce. 

And of course the other part, when talk turned to Julia's kids...Oprah marveled at young Henry--the two year old...like an expert, Oprah told Julia that this was the best age...the one she enjoys most...Julia wasn't convinced until Oprah told her so again--forcefully--two year olds are the best.  I believed Julia and the crazy-assed face she gave Lady O...anyone who has survived a two year old knows Oprah has no idea what she is talking about...but Julia, like a good soldier finally agreed.  Because--afterall, Oprah can relate--whatever you say Lady O...and I was out.

Today's episode saluting Nate Berkus was okay--yet another person molded into greatness thanks to O.  Is there anything this woman can't do?

But my favorite, favorite May episode had to be last week's Dolly Parton episode.  O pulled out all the stops.  Something about a gal from the south visiting seems to bring out the best worst Oprah.

While I found the tour of Dolly's tour bus priceless--O seemed freaked that someone would choose to travel the country in a "bus".  She talked a good game and made Dolly think this thing was all that, but she walked about as if she might catch something.  Then Dolly arrived at her bus' prayer altar.  Oh yeah.  A hot pink shag carpeted bed with a cross on the wall, and sequins and candles surrounding the perimeter, this is where Dolly talks to Jesus.  I hope he wears his sunglasses, because it is bright.

And just like the O I know and love, she piped right in with the "I can relate" crap.  And, amazingly enough it was more--somehow she clicked right in to the "I'm so going to out do you" mode.  It seems Oprah, too, has a prayer space--but it's a comfortable chair where she sits in a peaceful spot in her home near a window with her favorite bible...funny--the Bible was never featured in the Oprah Book Club nor given away during a Christmastime favorite things episode...in all the excitement she probably forgot to mention the lifesized portrait of herself that no doubt hung in the space--after all she is the most "god-like" person around. 

Cut to the end--Dolly gushed all over O and let her know how much she means to so many people.  Oprah let loose with the "ugly cry" and wiped her phony tears.  Because, really, this is a news flash to Oprah--people really like her???

And then Kenny Rogers comes out to sing his duet with Dolly.  Key word Oprah--DUET...not TRIO...she sang along and pretended to dance.  But who is really going to argue with the gal in charge?  After a quick q and a...and a commercial or two...O was back on stage with a mike this time--there is really no stopping her. 

For the first verse or two of The Gambler O's voice could not be heard...then she gave the look to someone on the production crew...and like clockwork her mike was turned on and her (very bad) voice commanded the rest of the performance. 

Because a show during sweeps month shouldn't be about a Dolly and Kenny reunion--like most shows--it's all about Oprah.  Cue to commercial.

 

 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIDEO

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