A new season of Oprah premiered on Monday, and the week kicked off at a magnitude only the Big O herself could accomplish. She assembled an audience of thousands in Millennium Park for a huge Welcome Home celebration that honored basically the entire flippin' U.S. Olympic Team. (Hell yeah we were there.) After a tear-jerker highlights reel and a procession of the athletes, our Olympic heroes spent the show answering questions. We learned: Jason Lezak trained himself, Nastia Liukin invoked the powers of “The Secret” to help her achieve Olympic gold, Misty May-Treanor is headed to Dancing With the Stars and Michael Phelps misses his bulldog.
No surprise that the program included a commercial advertising Chicago2016.org and a direct endorsement from Oprah for Chicago’s Olympic bid. Considering Oprah may have the power to pick the next president, why should the location for largest global athletic symposium be any different?
Oprah continued Premiere Week on Tuesday by doing what she does best: making dreams come true. She brought back pint-sized vocal powerhouse Charice Pempengo not only to perform, but to discuss the journey from her turbulent childhood in the Philippines to her thrust into singing stardom, where she now rubs elbows with the likes of Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion. Our favorite part was when Charice sang an impromptu duet with Josh Groban, because you KNOW Gayle was jealous.
Wednesday’s show featured updates on three victimized children who have all made headlines. Joining Oprah first was Elizabeth Smart, now 20 years old and a harp performance major at Brigham Young University, who seemed unscathed by her kidnapping ordeal. She doesn’t even claim post-traumatic stress. Hey, more power to her. John Ramsey, father of JonBenet, was up next in his first national TV interview since being exonerated of his daughter’s murder. He too was surprisingly at ease, and forgiving of the public which has persecuted him for the last decade. Last up was an update on Shawn Hornbeck, a Missouri kid held captive for 4 and a half years, whose life seems to have gone mostly back to normal. All in all, a show we thought would be a downer instead honored human resilience and healing. Nice. Plus it featured lots of viewer interjections via Oprah’s new favorite thing, Skype.
On yesterday’s show, Oprah explored the reasons why men cheat alongside resident marriage counselor M. Gary Neuman. The number one reason? Per Gary, “Emotional disconnection, specifically a sense of feeling underappreciated. A lack of thoughtful gestures.” Gary went on to explain that men like to win, so women have to be conscious of making their husbands feel like winners in the relationship. Even...if they’re losers? O and M were surrounded by couples both in the audience and via Skype who shared their stories of cheating and deception. Maybe that’s the number one reason NOT to cheat: your wife may someday drag you onto Oprah and make you hold her hand while she publicly shames you.
As a side, Oprah used the words “skanky” and “sperm toilet” during this show. Awesome.
Today’s show (which you can catch at 11 tonight) is Tatum O’Neal’s first in-depth interview since her arrest for buying crack, which we’re guessing will be full of tearful introspection. Step into O’s office, Tatum.