I was cruising around itunes the other day and came across Kathy Griffin’s best selling comedy album, For Your Consideration. I listened to a short clip about Oprah. Kathy says she loves Oprah, watches her everyday, but basically thinks she is full of it. I don’t feel as strongly as she does. I watch Oprah on occasion when the subject matter of the show interests me and, I think she does some good things in the world. She and I share a few struggles. But, one show that she does regularly makes me cringe. (Well the show on surrogate mothers in India made me cringe too, as did Oprah’s remark that it was a show about “Women helping women.” but that is another topic for another day.)
The show that always makes me cringe is Oprah’s Favorite Things. Judging by the audiece reaction when they find out they are at the favorite things show, I may be in the minority here. They go nuts. Their eyes light up. They shout and scream. They oooh and awe as each new piece of merchandise is brought out onto the stage. It is this display that really bothers me. I find it – to resort to a very old fashioned word – unseemly. It smells of greed. It smells of a culture based on who can acquire the most stuff. A shallow culture, some might say. A manifestation of the problem right there on your screen, some might say.
Ask Suze Ormand. When she is on Oprah, she says “Americans are going broke buying things they don’t need to impress people they don’t know.” This show feeds right into that. No doubt the companies who provided the merchandise are happy. Getting mentioned on Oprah has got to generate more than a few sales as any publisher will tell you. And you know if I were in the audience, I not sure I wouldn’t just pile the stuff up under my seat along with everyone else and take it home but boy when I watch that Oprah’s favorite things show it makes me feel uneasy, uncomfortable and I have to turn it off. It is not a very attractive display.
I picture those who are not too happy with America right now pointing to this show and saying, “You see, we are right. Look at these people.”
I think I heard Oprah say recently that she wanted to stop doing that kind of show but her staff talked her into it again. Oprah, as a wise woman once said “Listen to your gut.”