When my childhood friend Vicky blurted during our weekly call “Oprah ain’t all that” I had to readjust the phone. Clearly, I misheard.
Sharing your distaste for the talk show queen is equivalent to a politician admitting he dodged the Vietnam draft. It’s one of those anti-American acts you ‘fess to when the New York Times is hot on your trail and only then minutes before they go to press.
Oprah is a smorgasbord of issues, offering a little something for everyone’s appetite. Whatever your problem — job woes? broken home? man issues? — she’s been there, done that. Her candor about her weight problems alone won me over. She’s one of the few celebrities who didn’t starve herself to fortune and fame — though certainly tried — but instead embraced the spirit of Mama Cass.
While on maternity leave in the summer of 2005, I became a hard-core Oprah Winfrey addict, finding that during stressful times she could be as comforting as a warm, gooey chocolate chip cookie. Every day promptly at 4:00 p.m. I pour myself a diet Coke and settle in for my daily dose of Oprah.
Consumed with my daughter’s medical problems at the time, I was an emotional wreck. Listening to the sordid tales of cheating husbands, rapists and alcoholics as I rocked my daughter to sleep was comforting.
From my East 4th Street walk-up apartment, I’d cheer when Oprah nail the wife of a pedophile with a “You didn’t think it was odd when your husband suggested your teenage daughter sleep in your marital bed?” question.
The only time the Queen of Daytime TV failed me is when she let Tom Cruise, in faux Katie Holmes-euphoria, jump on her couch. She still owes me a few Scientology questions for that.
“Oh, you could interview people just as well as Oprah!” my friend insisted when I defended my girl.
True, I suspect I was a “60 Minutes” correspondent in a previous life. Still, given her gobs of money, would I buy strangers cars?