The rapture may have been a bust, but that’s not to say the end didn’t come. Well, the end of the Oprah show which, for many, is quite clearly the same thing.
Oprah Winfrey sang the last note of the longest swan song in history Wednesday afternoon, putting a cap on 25 years of afternoon programming and one year of “goodbye” episodes.
It was a soggy, tissue-laden affair as the modern-day deity stepped down from her pillar of authority on what to wear, what to read and who to vote for. She tossed out endless bon mots, like “we must all live our best life.” She explained how she started the show wanting “to do a good job and do no harm” and how we must all find “our calling.”
It was a suitable self directed homage to the biggest ego in television, but the final point tweaked some internal strife that’s just not fading away.
While I’ve spent decades turning my nose up at the vaguely new-agey workings of the Oprah show, it’s possible my calling is actually debunking Oprah-isms for my mother’s benefit.
It’s feasible that telling her that Dr. Phil’s baseless relationship advice is not only useless; it’s toxic, could be a passion.
It’s even likely that making jokes about Dr. Oz’s obsession with fecal matter could be a favoured conversation starter.
Worst of all, my purpose seems most clear when hashing out the merits of my argument that Oprah is not the second coming of the messiah, and actually the catalyst for the dumbed-down chat show format that drowned the concept of rational dialogue about society’s issues.
Harpo Studios may be 3,298 kilometres away, but the Mighty Opes has been a part of just about everyone’s life for 4,561 days (her math, not mine).
It’s no wonder that Kelowna residents gathered at Orchard Park mall Wednesday to catch her last show, sharing memories of Opes like she was just an every day friend.
It’s not even shocking that some of them reminisced about their favourite episodes, like they were reciting pages from their own diaries.
On some level I want to deride all things ‘O’, but I’ve just had the horrible realization that I understand it all too well.
No matter how hard I’ve pushed her away, I know Opes impacted which foods I eat, books I’ve read, and music I’ve listened to—largely because half the time she was on the air, I was a child and subject to my mothers whims, but that’s neither here nor there.
She’s offered a shared cultural experience in an increasingly fragmented society and no matter where I’ve been I’ve found an audience for Oprah musings.
So, while I was expecting to have a ding-dong-the-witch-is-dead moment following Wednesday’s show, I just had to settle for the possibility I won’t get another copy of the Secret in my stocking this Christmas.
Kathy Michaels is a staff reporter for the Kelowna Capital News.