Open Thread: Oprah Says Goodbye

By Arturo R. García

Every single day I came down from my makeup room on our elevator, I would offer a prayer of gratitude for the delight and the privilege of doing this show. Gratitude is the single greatest treasure I will take with me from this experience. Opportunity to have done this work. To be embraced by all of you who watched is one of the greatest honors any human being could have. I’ve been asked many times during this farewell season, “Is leaving the show bittersweet?” Well I say, all sweet, no bitter, and here’s why: Many of us have been together for 25 years.

We have hooted and hollered together; had our “a-ha!” moments; we ugly-cried together; and we did our gratitude journals. So I thank you all for your support and your trust in me. i thank you for sharing this yellow brick road of blessings. I thank you for tuning in every day along with your mothers and your sisters and your daughters, your partners – gay and otherwise – your friends, and all the husbands who got coaxed into watching Oprah.

I thank you for being as much of a sweet inspiration for me as I’ve tried to be for you. I won’t say goodbye; I’ll just say, until we meet again. To God be the glory.

- Transcript of Oprah Winfrey’s closing monologue, aired on May 25

Like her or not, Oprah Winfrey’s three-day farewell tour was, at times, as larger-than-life as the financial empire she built over the past quarter-century, out of a morning talk show on WLS-TV in Chicago. The roster of guests for the first two episodes, taped at the United Center, included the usual cavalcade of stars. But Winfrey signed off in front of a more traditional studio audience. Of course, with the arrival of her own network, Winfrey might have been a bit on the nose in going with an open-ended departure.

But for now, we’re curious, dear readers, about your thoughts regarding this “final” Oprahpalooza. Where do you think she’ll go from here, and what does that mean for you as viewers?

  • Perpetual Explosion

    I am completely apathetic. Her show was nothing more than a bread and circus: cynical, senationalist, sentimentalist emotion-porn, aimed at bourgeois individuals to alleviate their existential boredom by reveling in others’ misfortune. She turned people’s traumas and dysfunctions into a kind of reality soap opera. That always struck me as craven and icky. And don’t get me started on her book club: nothing of any insight that didn’t have a easily digestible, sentimentalist cookie-cutter “inspirational” theme. The fanatical love and devotion I’ve seen some direct at her show has always puzzled me.

    • Anonymous

      Really? One Hundred Years of Solitude, Anna Karenina, As I Lay Dying are easily digestible and sentimentalist?

      • Anonymous

        Definitely not.  But I sincerely doubt that Oprah actually reads any of the books she recommends.   And her show is maudlin emotional pornography.  

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OSOQPNOMYRVISULDFJIWOOA2L4 Rachel

    Wherever Oprah goes next, I know she’ll make a huge impact.

    I was never a regular viewer of her show, but my mom immigrated to America right as her show had begun to air (back in 1986), and she told me she was fascinated by the presence of a black woman on TV–”At the time,” she said, “You never saw black people on TV in England.” She’s been a regular viewer since then, and  I love knowing that bit of history!

  • http://www.cherylhead.com Cahead

    As I wrote to Oprah at the email she graciously shared on her last show, I hope Oprah in phase 2 of her phenomenal media influence will help bring television to a new “golden age” where original and adapted literary works could be a regular showcase for all the amazing creative talent (writers, directors, playwrights, actors, musicians, visual artists, costume designers) in this country.   As Broadway devolves into pop culture mediocrity and the book business focuses more on celebrity memoirs,  the little screen could become the place where literature thrives again; and I don’t mean literature in a snobby, elitist way.    There are great, new (and not so new) writers whose subject matter and voices deserve a wider platform.   Oprah is a very talented actress in her own right and I’d like to see more of her in that space.   A show where she presents (and sometimes stars in) good drama would be a wonderful gift to new generations of television viewers who enjoy good storytelling.    Start with the Barbara Neely “Blanche White” series; or invite writer/director Ted Wichter to repeat the majic he created in Love Jones;commission an original teleplay by talented Chimamanda Adichie; present the unique work of  Asian American filmmakers, Gre Pak or Arthur Dong.   There are amazing Hispanic, Iranian-American and Native-American writers and poets and actors.   Oprah can continue her mission to broaden the consciousness of America by sharing the authentic stories of America’s multi-cultural creative community.