Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Oprah Show Finale - "A Yellow Brick Road of Blessings"

(And the return of TellyPhile)

I've started and stopped this post five times already. Part of the problem is I haven't done this in a while (hello Reader, stay a while, your old chair is waiting.) but even more than that I'm completely overwhelmed by how to write about the last episode of the show that raised me.

No matter how hard I try, I can't make it real. All week there's been this feeling. It's made of a vague sense of dread but mostly dreamlike disbelief. It's related to the feeling you have when you graduate or what a wedding day must feel like, a birth and the ultimate inevitability--death. Everyone's agreed that this day is the day. You know it's coming because that damned calendar keeps shedding its pages, but you don't really believe that after the date passes it will mean the end of one of the seasons of your life and that an irrevocable change has come.

Read On

I hate merely summarizing episodes so I'm not going to offer a recap of our last hour of O, just the things that I was struck by, the things that are still bouncing around inside of me an hour after the credits have rolled. If you're reading this you've most likely seen it at least once and wasn't it extraordinary? It was a sermon on the mount from television's teacher. Did you note too how many times during these last three shows we've heard The Oprah Show referred to as the world's biggest classroom?

In case you are Miss Winfrey's slowest student, she held one last master class, breaking down the show's themes. It was ballsy and a palate cleanser after the orgy of stars we were treated to the last two days. In this universe of 140 character blips and bites, she stood alone in a salmon dress and a gorgeous pair of diamond earrings (I love when O rocks the diamonds cause you know they're real) and just talked to us for this final hour. She didn't once use the crutch of a montage, there were no guests, just a handful of choice clips sprinkled intermittently to drive her point home. She gave us a good talking to, sometimes urgently, like a mother hen sending her brood out into the world, stressing the most important lessons that we mustn't forget to carry with us.

My keepers:

  • Live from the heart of yourself. Don't waste anymore time. Start embracing the life that is calling you and use that life to serve the world. (Cue the fucking Kleenex, and at this point we were only nine minutes in.)

  • "Everything you done to me, already done to you." (That's right, Celie made the finale, ya'll) aka Newton's Third Law of Motion: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction aka do unto others yada yada yada.

  • Connect. Embrace. Liberate. Love somebody.

  • Nobody but you is responsible for your life. It's not about what your mom did or what your daddy didn't do. Don't look to somebody else to save you, to fix you or complete you.

  • Life is energy. Take responsibility for the energy you bring into every space.
  • Remember, especially when dealing with a child, that what we all are longing to know is "Do you see me? Do you hear me? Does anything I say mean anything to you?" (Why did I even bother with mascara today?)
  • You, alone, are enough.
  • Listen to your life when it's speaking to you. 
You'll hear cynical people, depending on the day I'm having I'm one of them, talking about that O ego. It's there in that look she gives sometimes as she takes in an adoring crowd, that of a deity surveying her faithful from on high. Yes, if you approached this hour cynically, eager for reasons to gripe and accuse of her of being full of platitudes (see above) I have no doubt you thought the finale failed, that it was boring and indulgent. But she wasn't talking to that side of you, she was talking to your earnest self, that one you're left with in the dark.

It was the love letter to all of us, her viewers, that she said it was:
"From you whose names I will never know, I learned what love is. You and this show have been the great love of my life."

You've been one of mine too, Oprah, and I know even though it won't be at our usual spot, I'll see you again real soon.



  1. Buh. I hate you.

    "Remember, especially when dealing with a child, that what we all are longing to know is "Do you see me? Do you hear me? Does anything I say mean anything to you?" "