Oprah, pontificating panderer
: Back when I was the TV critic at TV Guide, I shocked our flack when I refused to appear on Oprah.
I had appeared on Oprah once before, to talk about the fall season, and it was an unpleasant experience. But that wasn’t why I refused this time. Instead, this episode of Oprah was supposed to be all about Oprah’s own rebirth and reformation as a responsible broadcaster. And I was supposed to be there as a TV critic to bow down before her. I refused.
Remember that Phil Donahue started this form of talk TV. But it was Oprah who trashed it, bringing on people to confess their sins and fight just so they could be on TV (such is the draw of fame that people will fight to be famous even if that only makes them famous for fighting). Then, many went lower than Oprah and when it got out of hand, Oprah suddenly decided that she would stand above it. Nevermind that she started it.
The truth is that ever since then, Oprah still tittilates and sensationalizes but she has to cloak it in a veil of pompous pontification.
The very day that Howard Stern was fined, Oprah broadcast sexual and excretory material that was even more explicit (I’ve complained and so have many others). But you can bet she won’t be fined.
But she’s still at it. Yesterday, she had another show about teen sex just so she could get sex on the air. From the transcript:
WINFREY: It’s casual.
Ms. WEINER: It’s really casual. Sex in general is casual.
WINFREY: Like–so you can do it–on the back of the school bus and everybody
knows that you’re doing that and that is not a big deal?
Ms. WEINER: Well, you want to know what? Wat–look at what they’re watching.
Ms. WEINER: We are watching people having sex on TV every single day.
WINFREY: Yeah, I say that. I say that. Hello.
Ms. WEINER: I mean, like, that’s it.
Ms. WEINER: That’s it.
Ms. WEINER: If that–if that’s what they’re looking at, that’s what they’re
WINFREY: You know what? I said this–I said to–this to some friends of mine
s–who have teen-agers who were so appalled at what was going on with their
teen-agers’ life. And I go, `We grew up with “Andy Griffith.” We grew up
with “Andy Griffith” and “Mary Tyler Moore.”‘ Just imagine you’re 13, 14
years old; from the time that you have been born, look at how sexually
provocative television and the media has been in the past 15 years, and that’s
all you’ve ever known or seen.
Hypocrite. Oprah: You can’t act as if you don’t bear considerable responsibility for this. You brought sex to afternoon TV. Now I don’t think you should be fined for that and I don’t think you should be taken off the air for that; I just don’t watch you. But you’re doing nothing different from Howard Stern — except getting away with it. So cut your holier-than-thou disapproval of sex on the rest of TV. You are the Queen of Trash.
: By the way, I haven’t yet received so much as the courtesy of an automated reply to my Oprah complaint.