Apr 26, 2012

My visit to the Oprah show

When I wrote about my appearance on the Today show many years ago, I mentioned that I'd also been to the Oprah show. You guys wanted to hear about it, so although I have very little proof I was there, I thought I'd share what I do have.

(Again, these are pictures of pictures, because this was waaaay pre-digital and I had to take pictures of my scrapbooked photos.)

I traveled to Chicago on business in 1998, and on a whim I asked the concierge at my hotel (The Fairmont) if she could wrangle me a single ticket to an Oprah show taping. Much to my surprise, she had one waiting for me the following morning!

I had to miss part of a session in the conference I was attending to go, but I decided that it was TOTALLY WORTH IT.

Also, I decided to wear a denim vest and black jeans.

Who knows why we make the choices we make? Ask the '90s. They were responsible for the majority of my poor ones.

I took a cab over to the HARPO Studios really early on the morning of my taping, because it was just general admission and I wanted to be sure to be there in plenty of time. We waited outside for about two hours, but luckily it was May and the weather was beautiful.

Once we were let inside, they took all of our personal belongings, including purses, phones, wallets, cameras, asthma inhalers and what-have-you. They would not let us take a single, solitary item in the studio with us. If you were allergic and got stung by a bee during the taping, you would have just died right there in your seat.

There was a very brief "warm up" by an audience coordinator, during which he announced that the show topic of the day would be (FINGERS CROSSED HELEN HUNT, JULIA ROBERTS, GEORGE CLOONEY, BRAD PITT, JENNIFER ANISTON, I'D EVEN TAKE TIM ALLEN) ....

s e x   a d d i c t i o n .


Yeah. The audience laughed a little bit, because we thought they were kidding. I mean, it was like the lamest show topic she'd done all year. And we were getting saddled with it.

Oh, there was some doctor who was the featured guest, not even some famous sex-addicted celebrity like David Duchovny or Bill Clinton.

Oprah took it all very seriously, and she was kind of a downer anyway. This was at the height of The Cattlemen Trial Drama, and she was in a funk for like three years over that. Plus, she had the bad spiral curl hairdo, and I personally think she was in a funk about that, too.

The taping took about three hours, and I had a pretty decent seat for, you know, all the talking about sex addiction by no one famous or interesting. Here I am in my denim vest, behind the blond woman in the glasses.

Here I am again, sort of at center right.

I'd hoped and expected Oprah would interact with the audience during commercial breaks, but she didn't. She was very low-key, not interactive, not witty and charming. As a long-time fan, that was REALLY disappointing. Add to that the fact that I couldn't take pictures and couldn't afford a $59 sweatshirt from the gift shop that only had two or three items in it, and I was totally underwhelmed by the experience.

(All of these pictures are screen captures I took from the episode when it aired.)

I'm not saying I wish I hadn't gone, but I definitely wish I could have attended during a better period in her life. And absolutely on a day with a better topic for a 20-something young woman. I've read in recent years that she calls that time period and the year that Beloved failed as a feature film (at least commercially) some of the worst times of her life. I believe it.

But it was educational as far as seeing how a TV show is taped ... it was exactly what I thought it would be, but fun to see in person. If I ever had the chance to see a taping again, I'd absolutely do it. But I'd have my fingers crossed once again that at least one C-List celebrity would be making an appearance.


Rachel said...

Now I'm kinda bummed. At least you have pictures! :)

ginmommy said...

Oh my. I've followed Oprah since 1984, I was a chubby little kid, and I would watch her show right after school with my mom. I've always loved her show, but by far the time period of the beef stuff and Beloved, not a good Oprah time. I could have handled the topic, but I would have been so upset that she didn't interact. BLAH! But it's still neat that you sat in a room with her! And kuddos on the denim vest, I used to wear denim head to toe. ROCK IT OUT.

Tracey said...

{Yes, I am delayed...catching up on my reading...} Wow, I am underwhelmed too. I liked Oprah early on, but she started to bug me later in her career. I figured she would have interacted big time with the crowd. Humph. Um, I had the EXACT same outfit and thought I was pretty smokin' in it! :)

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