Oprah on Barbara Walters Special

I don't know a lot about Oprah Winfrey. I don't watch her talk show or follow her life. I'm trying to watch her on Barbara Walters' special and I can't get past the distracting scar/indent/shadow on the side of her left eye. Does ABC just have the worst lighting/camera people or is it Oprah? With her vast fortune, it's hard to believe she couldn't have it fixed. Her lips are chapped, the sides of her nose are shiny, it looks like she has white powder inside her nose (and I highly doubt she took a bump before the show), so what gives?

She seemed really uncomfortable talking about her parents. [More..]

She said her relationship with them is "fine." She made a point of how she "retired" them (enabled them to retire) and that she makes sure they don't want for anything. But she says she's not the kind of daughter who calls home every week. I wonder which her parents would prefer, her presence in their lives, or what she can buy them? Maybe they aren't nice people, but it seems like there's issues there she hasn't resolved. For the queen of "self-help" who seems to delight in getting her talk-show guests to discuss the most personal, painful experiences, it seems kind of odd that it's so difficult for her to discuss her own.

I'm trying to like Oprah. But I don't believe her. Her description of her relationship with Stedman: It's like her discussion of her parents. She chooses her words so carefully -- speaks so slowly compared to when she's discussing other topics. If she doesn't want to talk about her personal life, why go on the show? If it's to plug her new network, why not have the personal topics declared off limits? She's Oprah, she has the power to set whatever terms she wants.

My favorite line: when she mentioned "the thousands of hours of therapy I didn't have and don't need." Is there anyone in Oprah's universe who can't benefit from therapy?

Really one of the most uncomfortable interviews (from a viewer standpoint) I've seen. Which is a shame. She's probably one of the biggest philanthropists ever. I think giving is what she's best at, whether its giving people a platform and exposure or financial help and gifts. I wish the interview had focused more on the good she's done in those areas, and less about her. Her personal life is just not ready for prime time exposure. Of all people, you would think she knows that.

Update: From the comments below, it appears Oprah didn't have the kind of parents growing up one would want to be close to, and ABC's lighting crew is at fault.

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    I used to watch her when I was (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Dec 09, 2010 at 10:28:40 PM EST
    in high school during lunch break.  I went home for lunch and she was on.  I loved her then, I was reading a lot of feminist literature and she fit right in with a transformation for a lot of us.  She is a molestation survivor.  Just because she is the "queen of self help" doesn't mean she should enable perps or parents that have a very poor boundary system.  Self help is not about losing your boundaries, it is about discovering them and taking care of yourself.  If she has set them up to retire well.....wow, that's pretty huge in my book.

    Be kind (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Sweet Sue on Thu Dec 09, 2010 at 11:14:49 PM EST
    Can you imagine what anyone of us would look like on high defintion television?

    The thing with her eye is either poor (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by caseyOR on Thu Dec 09, 2010 at 11:19:40 PM EST
    lighting or poor makeup. And, since it seems a safe bet that Oprah's makeup was done by her regular person, my guess is lighting. i once heard Oprah talk about how different it is to light a black than to light a white person. Most studios are not equipped to properly light a dark-skinned person.

    She had a very hard time coming up. Poor, sexually and emotionally abused, divorced parents. At the age of 13 she was sent back to the South to live with her father who was quite strict. The only thing I have heard her say about that is it put her and kept her on the straight and narrow.

    What I have gathered over decades of hit and miss viewing of Oprah's show is that for many reasons her mother and her step and half siblings are not safe people for her to have in her life. That she provides financially for her mother is all to her good.

    Ok, so she was being gracious (none / 0) (#6)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 12:10:38 AM EST
    That's to her credit. I wish Barbara Walters had made some reference to it before asking her about her parents, so we viewers who  don't know her background could put it in context. If she had even asked if she had forgiven them, I'd have figured it out.

    And shame on ABC for the awful lighting. They ought to fire whatever crew was responsible for it. If I were Oprah, I'd be really angry. And I'd bet it wasn't the same crew that did Jennifer Lopez -- she looked better than I've ever seen her.


    Sounds like ABC (none / 0) (#7)
    by brodie on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:03:39 AM EST
    hired Walter Mondale's lighting person (recall his awful 2d debate of 1984) and Dick Nixon's makeup guy.

    I also wonder if Oprah's legal people might consider a lawsuit against the network based on a broad interpretation of false light?

    Seriously, with all of Oprah's power, experience in front of the cameras and money, you'd think she would have this lighting/makeup angle covered when going on the road by bringing along a special tv assistant, especially if it's true that blacks need different and careful attention in this area.

    If Warren Beatty was smart enough to do it visiting some years back with Larry King, and if Rose Kennedy always knew to strictly control matters in lighting/camera angles for better effect, Oprah with her far longer tv background should have been on top of this herself.


    Lighting (none / 0) (#8)
    by sj on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 10:44:44 AM EST
    She has mentioned several times on her show that the lighting for her show is particularly flattering.  Not only for herself, but also for her audience.  

    Knowing that, I'm surprised she allowed someone else to light her.


    I stopped watching Oprah regularly (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by oldpro on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 12:42:18 PM EST
    when she began the on-air religious proselytizing.

    I suppose it was to be expected but my gag-reflex just wouldn't all me to stand still for it.  Nauseating.

    Still, there is much to admire in Oprah and none of us are perfect human beings.  Her generous contributions and inspiration to others to join in meaningful philanthropy approach the Gates/Buffett/Turner/Clinton levels among her peers.  And her book club was a marvelous shot in the arm for bookstores by introducing (mostly) good literature to a whole new audience of readers.

    Don't think so (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 05:24:25 PM EST
    She's probably one of the biggest philanthropists ever.

    She puts her name on some philanthropic things, but she doesn't put in the time or the dollars herself. That Oprah's Angel Network was all viewer donations with matching gifts from Jeff Bezos. She takes the credit, though. Everything she "gave" away on her show was just her as the deal broker...the manufacturers donated everything because of the great advertising it was for them.

    I gave up on Oprah more than a decade ago and wasn't much fascinated by her before that. Couldn't enjoy any of her shows---if I watched because I wanted to see a guest, I was always disappointed that Oprah would dominate and make it all about herself.

    HDTV does no favors (none / 0) (#4)
    by jeffinalabama on Thu Dec 09, 2010 at 11:24:04 PM EST
    concerning dry skin, blemishes, or pimples. It's "made for makeup" TV.

    Probably doesn't help boogers, either.

    Boogers? (none / 0) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Dec 09, 2010 at 11:34:26 PM EST
    Just tell it like it is Jeff :)