Archive for May, 2011

Oprah’s farewell: Long good-bye takes three days

May 26, 2011

HASTA LA VISTA, BABY: Oprah Winfrey waves good-bye. (Photo: (c) 2011 Harpo, Inc./George Burns)

By ADAM BUCKMAN

NEW YORK, May 26, 2011 — The final “Oprah Winfrey Show” Wednesday consisted of little more than Oprah standing on her stage and talking.

For her millions of loyal fans, this must have been heavenly.  For the rest of us, who tuned in to her final show (the 4,561st, as Oprah herself pointed out) expecting a bit more excitement – perhaps some fireworks, a big cake, a brass band – the show was a bit of a letdown.

On the other hand, as Oprah said repeatedly, this particular show wasn’t really for those of us who didn’t regularly ride the Oprah train to inspiration, validation and self-fulfillment over the last 25 years.  This show was for those who did ride along with Oprah on this “journey” (her word) that began back in 1986.

With the Paul Simon song “10 Years” (the one he converted to “25 Years” in her honor earlier this season) playing as a theme in and out of the show’s commercial breaks, Oprah took her stage at Harpo Studios in Chicago for the last time.  Dressed in a simple pink dress, she stood for the whole hour (though a white chair was there in case she needed it) and spoke to the audience.

“This last hour is really about me saying thank you,” she said when she took the stage.  “It is my love letter to you.”

“I wanted to spend this last hour telling you what you’ve meant to me,” she said, one of many times she would thank her viewers in the course of this hour-long speech (some might call it a sermon), in which she shared details from her life story (as she’s done many times before), imparted various life lessons, and even preached about the meaning of God.  “God is love and God is life!” she exclaimed. “And your life is always speaking to you, first in whispers . . .”

And so it went.  There were no celebrity guests, though Tyler Perry was recognized from his seat in the audience because of his participation in a show earlier this season about men who had been sexually abused in boyhood.  Oprah’s fourth-grade teacher was in the audience too – the one who Oprah still calls “Mrs. Duncan” – and who apparently had a profound impact on the young Oprah.

If there was any central theme to this show, it was nothing less than the meaning of life, which is a lot for any one person to take on.  And yet, Oprah doesn’t shy away from such challenges.  She advised her viewers to “use your life to serve the world.”  She talked about the Golden Rule and the importance of “validation.”

“There is a common thread that runs through all our pain and suffering and that is unworthiness,” she preached, advising viewers to “validate” the ones they love.  Tell them: “What you say matters to me!” Oprah beseeched.

Toward the end of the hour, the commercial breaks came more frequently.  After all, television is a business and the breaks near the end of this particular show were valuable indeed.  Finally, after one last break, the end was near and Oprah said her final words.

“I thank you for sharing this yellow brick road of blessings,” she said.  “I thank you for tuning in everyday . . .  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 good-bye.  I’ll just say, Until we meet again.  To God be the glory.”

She then strolled out of the studio, stopping briefly for a few hugs and greetings, then continued walking down a narrow corridor lined with members of her staff.  At the end of this gauntlet, she encountered her small dog Sadie.  Lifting the dog into the air, Oprah declared: “Sadie, we did it! We did it, Sade! We did it!”

And then Oprah, with Sadie under her right arm, disappeared behind a pillar and was gone.  Until we meet again.

Contact Adam Buckman: adambuckman14@gmail.com

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As seen on TV (CNN): TVHowl.com. Watch it here

May 21, 2011

TVHowl was on CNN.

Check it out HERE:

Contact Adam Buckman: adambuckman14@gmail.com

How the Osama rubout was like ‘The Godfather’

May 5, 2011

WHO’S BEING NAIVE NOW? The president channeled his inner ‘Godfather’ to order bin Laden whacked.

By ADAM BUCKMAN

NEW YORK, May 5, 2011 — Osama bin Laden sleeps with the fishes — and that’s not the only way the whacking of the terrorist kingpin felt like it was something out of “The Godfather.”

It felt like that right away, as soon as the president came on TV late Sunday night to make the grim announcement that bin Laden had been taken out.  You could almost hear the voice of Tessio (Abe Vigoda) when he broke similar news to his Corleone family colleagues.  “We hit Bruno Tattalgia at four o’clock this morning,” Tessio said, explaining to Clemenza (Richard Castellano) why there were so many “new faces” — new soldiers — hanging around.

How else was the dramatic bin Laden takeout like “The Godfather”?  Here’s how:

Like Michael Corleone, the president “settled all family business”: The weekend whacking of bin Laden was just one of two pieces of lingering, irksome “family business” the president disposed of within the space of a few days — the other one was the lingering doubt about his birth-origins, which he finally decided to “settle” by releasing his birth certificate once and for all.

The president’s “baptism” scene — the White House Correspondents Dinner: Like Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), who participated in his infant son’s baptism while his button men took care of the heads of the other families, Obama spent Saturday night trading jokes with comedians, journalists and other guests at the White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington.  Meanwhile, his own button men –Team 6 of the Navy SEALs — were carrying out their own hit mission.

Presidents don’t have people killed?  Who’s being naive now?  The president’s decision to carry out a mob-style hit on Public Enemy No. 1 recalled the conversation Michael Corleone had with Kay (Diane Keaton), when they strolled down a suburban street after being estranged for nearly two years.  “My father is no different than any powerful man, any man with power, like a president or senator,” Michael said, to which Kay responded: “Do you know how naive you sound, Michael?  Presidents and senators don’t have men killed.”  Kay was wrong, of course, and Michael told her so: “Oh. Who’s being naive, Kay?”

“Someone put a bullet through his eye”: Hyman Roth (Lee Strasberg) said those words in “The Godfather, Part II” when he told Michael the story of Moe Greene and how he was killed (a story Michael already knew, of course, and Roth knew it).  Well, someone — a Navy SEAL — put a bullet in bin Laden’s eye.  “This is the business we’ve chosen,” Roth said.  And getting a bullet in the eye is one of the risks, apparently.

Contact Adam Buckman: adambuckman14@gmail.com


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