Just saw an ad here on the local Chicago affiliate for Oprah’s last season.
Oprah came to Chicago shortly after I moved here. But what a different 25+ years it has been for her than for me.
I raised two girls and am now a grandmother. During those years I also worked but as a social worker and a nursing instructor.
So in very different ways Oprah and I have both helped our fellow human beings.
Oprah, however, has a much bigger bank account than I do since nurses and social workers are not valued monetarily as much as TV celebrities. In many ways that is a sad but a true reality.
That being said, Oprah has done wonderful things with her charity work. She lives here in Chicago for the time being and this is in fact her last season with the Oprah Winfrey Show.
If you want to be in the audience you better start trying to get yourself tickets and maybe you will be lucky enough to be gifted with some of her “favorite things”. But don’t count on it!
Here is the reality of going to Oprah’s Show…at least it was my reality.
My very good friend got tickets for us to attend an “Oprah” taping after I had recovered from open-heart surgery…she wanted to have a special girls’ day out.
The good part of the day was the company of my sweet friend.
Girls go to “Oprah”:
- parked car in lot close to Harpo for $30
- waited outside Harpo in cold till doors are unlocked
- herded into Harpo Studios, through “heavy” security, probably better than airport security. Cell phones were not allowed and were kept by security and returned to you upon your departure from the studio.
- herded again to a large “holding area” where you sit and wait and wait with 200 of your not so closest friends all of whom are there for a dose of OPRAH.
- wait time was at least one hour…staff was professionally cold and did not engage in any small talk…just doing their job.
- herded again into the actual studio and assigned a seat.
- spokesperson warmed up the crowd…why I do not know as there was no interaction at all between the audience, Oprah or the guests.
Oprah finally made her appearance through a long walkway and that was the closest glimpse of her any of us would get…she graciously smiled and sat down on stage.
There are many screens to view the on stage happenings…powdering noses and gossip whispers between Oprah and her guests.
The guests….Dr. Oz and Michael J. Fox.
Dr. Oz examined the brain…I should have examined my own for thinking this would be a worthwhile experience.
Exit Dr. Oz…with no audience interaction.
Enter Michael J. Fox….awesome to see him. Parkinson’s has really done a number on him but he remains upbeat and honest about his difficulties accepting a chronic illness at such a young age. He had no audience interaction but that was almost understandable given his difficulties. It was a forgivable moment under the circumstances
Michael plugged his book….
In between Dr. Oz and Michael there was another segment with yet a different guest who suffered from a rare disorder. It was a show devoted to medical issues.
What was I expecting??? I am not so sure…but a friendlier staff and a little recognition of the hundreds sitting in the audience would have been nice.
I actually heard Oprah speak at a temple in Homewood IL before her show went “national” many years ago. At that time, she was very engaging and “real”…today unfortunately, there was no glimpse of that Oprah.
The audience was essentially ignored and really did not need to be present. We did not even get a copy of Michael’s book. Really…throw us a bone….Oprah, for schlepping to your studio and being treated like a herd of cattle.
Oprah had no interaction at all with the audience and at the end of the taping we were all herded out of the studio into the cold…I realized it had been an equally cold atmosphere inside Harpo (Oprah spelled backwards).
Conveniently located directly across the street is the “Oprah Store” where you can purchase anything and everything Oprah…my friend and I walked around but bought nothing…not in the mood to support Oprah at that point.
After about 3-4 hours in Harpo Studios I personally left with an empty experience and no feeling for Oprah at all… except maybe a “what the hell was that all about”?
Oprah seemed distant and disinterested in the folks that actually have made her a success. All in all a very disappointing experience.
Oprah is a force in and of herself…but it seems that she has had enough time in the limelight and she may even feel that way too. Perhaps she has lost her sparkle or maybe it was just a bad day!
I would not recommend attending a studio taping…Oprah is more real in your family room with your feet up and your cell phone in hand “twittering” about her show if you care to.
Remember the television and movie Oprah…believe me it is better than the Harpo version.
When Oprah says a tearful good by to Chicago, the “City of broad shoulders” as I am sure she will, I would like to be there to say,”it’s been a great 25 years, thanks for all the great shows”