We eluded The Rapture last week, but it may feel like the end of the world to millions of viewers as The Oprah Winfrey Show finally says goodbye to daytime. It's been 25 seasons—a quarter of a century— of tears, laughs, exclusive interviews, how-to's, spirit guides, Gayle King, audience screaming, prize giveaways and "John Travoltaaaaaa!" And it all comes to an end today. What will The Mighty O have in store for her last curtain call? Join us as we live-blog every emotional, legendary, million-dollar minute of it.
We'll be starting just before the show begins, so click after the jump and don't forget to keep refreshing your page for updates!
Oprah in a lovely Gwyneth-pink dress. Predictable standing O and cheering from the audience. Oh lord, people are already crying!
Nice clip of Oprah's first show. Oprah's actually really holding it together considering the magnitude of the moment.
Steadman in the audience! He's real!
Oprah opines on her humble beginnings: "I was just happy to have the job. I didn't want to cause any trouble." The usual clips that always make people laugh at the fashion and the hair from 25 years ago. Heh, Oprah talks about how she had to bribe people with donuts to get them into the audience. My how times have changed! Now she bribes them with cars and vacations.
Oprah: "I always wanted to be a teacher and I ended up in the world's biggest classroom. Today will be our last class." Nice. Although since The Oprah Winfrey Show is retiring, but Oprah isn't, this is less of a graduation and more of a "Have a good summer! See you in September!"
Audience doesn't applaud as Oprah promises there will be no special guests or giveaways. Just her talking. Her love-letter to the audience. You know there are some peeps sitting there all, "Why'd I wait a year for these tickets then?"
More talk about doing what sparks the light in you. I guess for Oprah, it's making billions of dollars.
Oprah tells us not to be distracted by fame which...yeah this is the kind of message she's delivered over the years that always rang hollow to me. The most famous living woman on the planet trying to teach America that we're too fame-hungry? How's that cake, Marie Antoinette?
Commercial break. Just remember as you go to the bathroom or refill your bowl of chips that every 30 seconds during this break cost $1 million!
Oprah finds a loophole. No special guests...except the ones who appear via flashback like Celine Dion, Lady Gaga, Maya Angelou...
More talk about "feeling the energy" from other people. I know what she means. See, I saw Thor two weeks ago and I definitely felt the energy from Chris Hemsworth.
Oprah repeats Newton's laws of motion and she knows Newton saying it may not be enough for Americans so she assures us, "Let me tell you, that is real!" Thanks Oprah. Now please do that for evolution and global warming.
To her credit, Oprah's showing a lot more clips from past shows involving regular people struggling with their body weight, sexual orientation, bigotries etc. It's a good move because this is what always separated her show from being just another celeb-rag. And just as I start to give her a little bit of credit, Oprah returns to messianic self-importance: "One by one, we started to release the shame." Cue self-serious guitar chords.
Oprah: "I learned from the guests on this show not to feel superior to anybody." Tell that to James Frey.
Oprah: "This show has taught me that you are worthy because you are born. You being here is enough. Worthiness is your birthright because you are alive." That's a wonderful message. I hope politicians and war-mongerers are listening.
Oprah pays tribute to the HARPO team and Jesus, and thanks them both for making her a gazillionaire (I added that last part).
Oprah talks about God but neglects to mention that she's pretty sure she's God. And then she basically implies it by saying that God's existence can be proven by her own birth. Well played, O.
Oprah: "What are the whispers in your life? What is speaking to you right now?" Well, you are Oprah. Also my lovely boyfriend who's on the phone with me and enjoying this dog and pony show too.
Oprah talks about child molesters and abusers, and...I have to say this was always one of her strongest themes. Either because she was a victim herself (and spoke about it openly) or she just understood the complicated issues involved, but whenever Oprah took on this issue, it rang true. I'm glad she's paying tribute to this because it's a significant part of her show and I really do believe she had positive efficacy in terms of the audience and this issue. Oprah made it OK for people to talk about their abuse, to give these victims a voice, to realize that it's NOT their fault (something abuse and rape victims still often feel) and for that she deserves unqualified and unironic credit.
Aaaand we're back to vague platitudes: "Connect, embrace, liberate..." I have three words of my own: Chips. Salsa. Soda.
Does anyone really believe that's Oprah's personal email account and not a team (under confidentiality contracts, natch) paid to run it?
Aww, finally the tears. Not mine, hers. Oprah spies the clock running out (less than 5 minutes left!) and her voice chokes and she begins to cry. I'll give her this: I think it's sincere when she says, "You and this show have been the great love of my life." Especially considering how famous and wealthy it made her.
Gratitude is the single greatest treasure she says she will take away from all this. Not you know, her actual treasure. "I thank you all for your support and trust in me. I thank you for sharing this yellow brick road of blessings...I thank you for being as much as a sweet inspiration for me as I tried to be for you. I won't say goodbye, I'll just say, until we meet again. To God be the glory."
Her last walk through the audience. She hugs Steadman. Again I'm impressed with how much she's managing to hold it all together.
Last shot of Oprah: an air embrace.