Sunday, January 2, 2011

An open letter to Oprah

Dear Ms. Winfrey,

I would like to preface this letter by disclosing the fact that I have never once in my life watched an episode of your show.  It’s not that I am opposed to the premise of what you have tried to accomplish through the magic of this medium. It’s just that as the exercise-obsessed/clean-freak working mother of two children and three dogs, I have found it nearly impossible to string together sixty minutes in a row to sit in a chair and watch as a retired school teacher from Ohio asks Dr. Oz about the color of her bowel movements or listen to the Celebrity of the Week discuss how tough it is being rich and famous while you nod your head in agreement.  However, I must say that the fact that you have been charitable with your two billion dollar fortune is not lost on me, and you totally rocked it when you held your own against the cattle ranchers out in Texas. (Insert fist pump.) 

I have chugged along through my life outside of the influence of the Harpo Productions Empire.  I buy books not because you suggest them, but because they appeal to some part of me.  I decide on Presidential candidates using my own brain instead of letting your very capable brain do the work for me. Your favorite things are not always my favorite things, and that is why I am writing to you today because on January 1st 2011, you took away one of my favorite things: the Discovery Health Channel.

Ms. Winfrey, I don’t get out much.  And when I say I don’t get out much, I mean I don’t get out at all.  Strangely enough, there are rarely black tie events in my small, Southern town, and even when they do occur, I have somehow not managed to make the guest list.  A big day for me would be going to Target to peruse the clearance rack or maybe hitting the mall to drool over the latest Yankee Candle offerings before grocery shopping.  The closest thing to a vacation home for me is a room with a parking lot view at the Holiday Inn at Myrtle Beach, so you can see how I might like to escape every now and then through the comfort of digital cable.

It’s hard to deny that television these days is a virtual cesspool of B list celebrity reality shows, dance contests featuring floundering stars, and formulaic sitcoms whose only laughs are recorded far away from where the acting is actually being performed.  Despite the slim pickings, I found a haven in Discovery Health.  I adore Dr. G and her no nonsense approach to cutting open the dearly departed and getting to the bottom of what actually did them in, and daily I hear her voice in my head saying, “A blood clot in the lungs is one of the few things where you’re laughing and talking one minute and dead on the floor the next.”  (This might explain my clot phobia to my husband.)

What about “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant”?  As a woman who gave birth twice sans pharmaceutical intervention, this show causes me to suspend belief like no other since “Fantasy Island”.  (“I just thought I had an unusually bad case of gas. Really.”) I love how they always end up on the toilet, but I digress.

I know you are only trying to do what is best for me (and the world, for that matter).  We are just a nation of slackers, and you and your crack team of experts finally have a network dedicated to making something of the whole unworthy lot of us, and I thank you for that.  You failed to take into consideration, however, that there are some folks who can do without Suze Orman badgering them into a healthier fiscal state of being, and would rather sit back with a glass of wine every now and then to watch animal hoarders have the feces cleaned from their kitchen counters.  I understand that Dr. Phil will help me with my anger management issues, but sometimes a good dose of watching innocent victims being saved on “Untold Stories of the ER” does wonders for making a person grateful for what they have been given in this life.  And, quite frankly, I have no desire to witness the behind the scenes goings-on of your talk show or to be a voyeur as Dr. Laura Berman counsels couples with problems in the bedroom.  (Honestly? Is fifteen minutes of pseudo-fame worth spilling the most intimate secrets on air?  Do these people want to go to Chicago that desperately?)

I’m afraid to say that I will not be watching your network, on principle if nothing else.  Don’t get me wrong.  I know that I, like most people, could use some work in the I-Should-Carry-Less-Baggage department, but I would rather not have it crammed down my throat by your hand-picked band of celebrity do-gooders.  Rather, I think I would benefit more by witnessing the compassion of an ER nurse as she comforts a child who has been injured in a car accident.  I know that personally I may feel the need to re-examine my own good fortune when I watch a documentary on a child born with a rare disease and know that I should be thanking my lucky stars for my healthy children.

Lastly, I do have one question for you.  Why, oh, why didn’t you take over Nickelodeon?  This world would be a much better place without “iCarly” and “SpongeBob SquarePants”.




  1. That’s an excellent letter, Lynda.
    Happy New Year.

  2. What if blOprah keeps the Discovery Health Channel but leaves the keys to a Monte Carlo under your seat?

  3. Hmmmm...with heated leather seats? If she'll throw in a set of 1,000 thread count sheets and a tube of her favorite lip balm, and I might consider it... :-)


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