Mr. wOw’s Au Revoir to Oprah

Our beloved columnist may not fully “get” the talk show queen. But he’ll miss her…

Many years ago, a friend of mine sat me down and delivered a long, serious dissertation on the talent (or lack thereof, to be correct) of Mr. wOw’s sentimental favorite iconic movie star, Marilyn Monroe. After pulling Miss M. apart in the most astute manner, my friend put his hand on my shoulder and said, “You are so smart. I just don’t get it. What do you see in her?!”

My reply? “All your points are valid, but she moved me.” My friend pushed me away, threw up his hands and said: “Well, you are just hopeless.”

I was reminded of that conversation as I watched Oprah Winfrey’s final show this week. One hour of the Big O testifying. I thought I was going insane! Blah, blah, blah. (And but of course her final “guest” would be herself. It makes perfect sense no matter how you feel about her.)

I have never indulged in the Oprah Kool Aid. I absolutely do not “get it” when people talk about her amazing powers of sincerity and connection. She has never seemed like a “best friend” to me. Her grandiose sense of entitlement has always amused me, however.

That said, I can’t deny what this woman has accomplished and what she does mean to millions of people. Whether she thinks of herself as God or not (I suspect she does,) she has done good deeds, inspired people to better themselves and forged an unbreakable bond with those who literally worship her. If I live to be 100 I will never be as certain of myself, or as inspiring to others, as Miss Winfrey has been.

I complain a great deal (mostly to myself or to poor B.) about my lot in life. But even I know I bought and paid for that lot, and if I wanted to, I could sell it for a better property. I’m afraid to now, but fear has always ruled my life. Oprah was fearless. Or she appeared that way. Or she used her fear wisely. Oprah moved people; you cannot explain that kind of power and attraction.

And so she is gone. Kind of. We will never (perhaps) hear those fabled five words again: “Did you see Oprah today?”

I’ll never “get” her. I won’t. But I don’t disparage those who do.

After all, I have Marilyn in “The River of No Return” to make me blush, and force me to explain that she got much better later on.

109 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Linda Myers says:

    So long, farewell Oprah.. May the OWN network become all you have visioned it to be.

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Well, I think it will improve, now that she can give it her full attention.

      • avatar Linda Myers says:

        Filling 24 hours of diversified programming opposed to 1 hour of me programming, should be a new awakening to her. Hopefully it will not just become a continuous lineup of her friends having new shows. Her show did contain many moments where the guests touched a cord in others or herself, though her touching a cord in me – did not happen. I could not feel that genuine energy coming through unscripted. I will observe the stages of OWN in the future to see if this changes. Oprah, you now call yourself a master – though to this point I only see a master of other peoples information. When the knowledge shines through the experience the title could be warranted.

  2. avatar Maizie James says:

    Of Oprah’s exit you said, “I’ll never “get” her. I won’t. But I don’t disparage those who do.”

    My, my! Mr. wOw you always amaze me. In this instance, you’ve displayed a gallant side of your personality, which is adorable. In fact, you sound rather noble. Because your farewell to Oprah was touching, thoughtful, and … rather generous. I admire your style, wit, and candor.

    BTW: I can relate to your giddy admiration for MM, because I’ve had similar confounding feelings for Tommy Lee Jones, for reasons which eludes me. TLJ arouses passionate longing in me that continues to leave me dumbfounded.

    Loved your article. Love you!

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Maizie…

      I am old enough to recall Tommy Lee’s beginnings on my favorite (now doomed) soap, “One Life to Live.”    He was hot.  My feelings for him never confounded me. He was hot!  (Remember “The Eyes of Laura Mars”?)

      • avatar Richard Bassett says:

        Yes, around 1970…Tommy was on “One Life to Live”, playing a doctor (Mark) who was married to a frigid sexually young girl (Julie). In his frustration, he turned to another doctor, Dorian (who was a cougar then, but…as in all soaps…stayed the same age for thirty years) There was also a storyline between them that turned into the malpractice suits to end all malpractice suits and both lost their medical licenses. No doubt, Tommy was as handsome as could be (who could ever be frigid with him) but by 1972…he was on his way to Hollywood.

      • avatar Baby Snooks says:

        He’s still hot. At least the Texas Democratic Party thinks so. They hope his next starring role is as the governor of Texas in 2014. And he’s considering it. Of course after his first legislative session with the Democrats he will probably become a Republican. But let’s not tell them that because I think he probably would make a good governor if we need another one and it looks like we might. Rick Perry is considering running for president. And probably will. And probably will win if Barack Obama doesn’t start paying attention to Main Street instead of Wall Street.

    • avatar Lourdes says:

      I wouldn’t say that Tommy Lee Jones is “handsome”, but he has something of a ‘quality’ that I just love! I enjoy each and everyone of his movies, because he’s such a good actor, and so charming, some times even sexy…

      Mr. Wow, I don’t know if “Coal Miner’s Daughter” can be classified as one of his first movies, but it’s my favorite. Superb movie, superb performances!

      • avatar Maizie James says:


        I agree. I also saw Tommy Lee Jones in, A COAL MINERS DAUGHTER. In Mr. wOw’s words, “He was hot! ” And in recent movies [No Country For Old Men], he continues to exude a roughed sexiness that’s arousing.

  3. avatar Jessica Burnette says:

    I agree, Mr. WOW.  I don’t get her, but I admire her for the role model she has set for young women, black or white.  She really showed the world and everyone who didn’t take her seriously, grouping her in with such talk shows as Sally Jessie Raphael, Donahue, and Geraldo when she came on the scene.  She is proof to anyone that no matter your circumstances or the hand you’ve been dealt, challenges can be overcome and success and strength can rise from the ashes of the past.  My last Facebook post asked if there will be Oprah Rehab for all those bawling their eyes out over “the end.”  I certainly won’t be there, but it will be strange to not see the previews for her shows during the morning news.

  4. avatar Jessica Burnette says:

    By the way, Mr. WOW, my movie crush was Devon Sawa (from the Final Destination Movies).  At least you picked one with more talent :O)

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Jessica…speaking of blushing over one’s idol.  Here I am channel-surfing  this a.m.—MSNBC, CNN, FOX and the various movie channels–and what’s on?  “There’s No Business Like Show Business.”  Soon, I’ll be watching my beloved MM over-enunciate her d’s and T’s and bump and grind shockingly through her “Heat Wave” number.

      She really did  get much better later on.

      • avatar Maizie James says:

        After I saw MM debut? in the Bette Davis classic, ALL ABOUT EVE it was difficult for me to take her seriously as an actress. Although, she managed a fair performance in BUS STOP.

        • avatar Mr. Wow says:

          Dear Maizie….

          Not quite her debut.  But she was already playing a parody of what Hollywood already thought of her. 

          “Bus Stop” though it has not aged well, shows the pathos beneath the parody. 

          Try “The Prince and the Showgirl.” 

          Or–her greatest film, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”  Just remember–these are the characters she was given to play.  They are not her.  (MM didn’t own any real jewelry!)

          • avatar Paul Smith says:

            You’ve mentioned “P&SG” twice lately. Why is this one of your favorites? I myself like the kept woman role in Asphalt.

          • avatar Mr. Wow says:

            Dear Paul…

            “Prince…” is a remarkable comic performance.  Not a great film, but she is wonderful.

            I like her small bit in “AJ” as well.  Houston gets a relaxed performance out of her.   And…so slim!  Her calendar girl figure.

            But like I say…I get it when people don’t get her at all. 

          • avatar Maizie James says:

            I’ve not seen it in years! I’ll add it to my Netflix queue.


          • avatar rick gould says:

            Reading all the comments about Marilyn got me to thinking why she and the suits at Fox had such a rancorous relationship…and then it hit me: They tried to treat MM the way they treated Betty Grable. Cast her in the same cartoonish roles, sit back and watch the money roll in. Grable knew her limitations and went with the money. But Marilyn had depth and fought against it. Unfortunately, she didn’t have the tenacity and will of Elizabeth Taylor, who was being cast repeatedly as the girl who had everything over at MGM.

            Marilyn did get better as she went along. I think “Some Like It Hot” was perfection, though the making of the movie was apparently a nightmare.
            And “The Misfits” is touching, but so hard to watch knowing that most of those actors would be dead a few years after its making.

            Oh, and “The Seven Year Itch” is Marilyn at her most charming and a great time capsule of the Big Apple mid-century.

          • avatar Richard Bassett says:

            Except for 1949’s “A Place in the Sun” (with her performance coming from love and awe of Monty Clift) Elizabeth, in her late teens and early twenties, DID make a series of films where she was used as a ‘clothes hanger’…an ultra-beautiful model who spoke dialog. Those are her words. That was fine with her. She just showed up for work. Even the performances in her period pieces, “Ivanhoe” (1952) and “Beau Brummell” (1954), she still played an MGM walking /talking mannequin…though she always had a glimmer in her eye that would start the camera’s love affair with her. At 22, she made (while pregnant) “The Last Time I Saw Paris” in 1954 and saw herself in meatier roles (so she says) and was sick of being the bread winner of her family. So soon the scripts of the epics and mega- major film roles she played for the next 14 years continued to drop in her lap. With the exception of “National Velvet” (1944), when she was 12…she never demanded or fought for a film role. MGM saw her growing potential, and but she made films for money, Mike Todd or Richard Burton. She always just grazed through her film roles magically and didn’t complain about the film roles she was placed in, or signed to do. Unlike other actresses for the past few decades, she did what she wanted and the camera was now in full swing of her acting technique. After 1954, her love affair with the camera was cemented. She did bark at “Butterfield Eight” (1960) but certainly not for film exposure…she wanted to get the hell out of MGM, so made some demands if she had to make it. Her career ALWAYS came second or third to her personal life…which was usually why she never ‘fought for a role’ (at lease fought enough to make it to the press). Her employers wanted her. Most times she consulted with a husband though the decision was hers. A thorn in her side was that damn MGM contract. She made very little money (for her) at MGM or being loaned out and in the end, the contract finally was fulfilled and always stated that he goal was to be a wife and mother; her acting career behind. That never happened. She HAD to work to live the life of luxury that she did in the 1960’s. My point is 90% of the time; she was in control of her career. THAT was unique; never seen in an actress before her.

          • avatar Mr. Wow says:

            Dear Rcik and Richard…

            Richard…spot on about ET and her attiude toward her career.   Whatever her artistic aspirations (if indeed she ever had any!) they were extinguished early on by MGM.  She was always professional and never less than adequate–her early films reveal a surprisingly natural, “normal” young American woman.  Lively and attractive.  “Love is Better Than” even shows off some keen comedy chops.  But essentially it was a job.  She had four children by the age of 30, a mother and father to support and many friends to whom she was generous.  And she enjoyed the high life.  She made her great deals and her money when  the iron was hot. 

            Monroe was a tortured soul who felt powerfully that becoming a “real” actress would “complete” her.  She had no children, no family.  Her career was more than a mere job.  She did not yearn for the luxury items that Elizabeth felt were her due.  Monroe wanted respect.  She didn’t get it till her death.  And even that has been sullied by absurd and demeaning conspiracy theories. 

            But Rick–as to Betty Grable.  She was actually treated far better than Monroe.  She was no trouble ever, had a keen sense of her own worth, a family and extensive experience onstage and working in films before she hit it big in 1940.  Her roles were generally independent women who took no guff.  Sure, she was usually a singer/dancer, but still quite fiesty.  The industy admired her and so did Darryl Zanuck.  Of course that didn’t stop Zanuck from dropping her when she was 36, to further groom Monroe (whom he detested_ but…that’s Hollywood.)     Marilyn, with her childhood molestations, nude calendar and blatant posturing (she invented every pose you still see on red carpets today)  was considered a “case” right from the start–neurotic and troublesome.  She was so disliked by the high-ups at Fox that she was used in “There’s No Business Like Show Business” to literally mock her serious aspirations onscreen and be the butt of every rude and salacious comment in the script.  Grable never would have been so disrespected.

            Monroe capped it by leaving Hollywood, her contract and declaring herself seeking a new rode.   They had to bring her back on her own terms, but she was  never forgiven and (even worse) could not sustain her triumph.  Her personal demons–not the least of which was confusion and reliance on the image she had created–did her in.

            Elizabeth was in control of her career 100% after “Butterfield 8”   And she chose wisely for six years.  After “Taming of the Shrew” however, she began to go enjoyably off the rails.  But as Liza Minnelli said at the 1985 Golden Globes, “she was always the biggest star in the world.”

          • avatar Mr. Wow says:

            ….seeking a new road.  

            It would be nice be able to spell at this point in my life! 

  5. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    And but of course her final “guest” would be herself. It makes perfect sense no matter how you feel about her.


    Oprah was always about Oprah.  From day one.  And will continue to be about Oprah. She’ll be back. On cable. And at the check-out stand at the grocery store. Next to the tabloids. The latter another example of her briliant marketing skills.  Madison Avenue couldn’t have promoted her better than she promoted herself. 

    There is chicken soup for the soul and snake oil for the soul,. And there’s a sucker born every minute.  Most of whom watched Oprah.  All of whom then went out and bought the snake oil.  

    “As seen on Oprah.”  That in itself guaranteed sales of the snake oil. Including Barack Obama.  Hillary didn’t stand a chance at that point.  It was over.  For everyone including John McCain.  Quite a few Republicans voted for him. And I bet they all watched Oprah.

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Baby…you are correct.  Like Old Man River, Miss O will keep rolling along. 

      I predict next weeks’s supermarket tabloids to run screaming front page stories—“Oprah Breaks Down After Final Show!  ‘I Want to Go Back!’ She Cries!” 

      As for dispensing snake oil, I’m afraid that an unfortunate fact of public life, no matter how sincere or altruistic one’s intentions are in the beginning.   I accept it and try to balance to good vs. the bad. 

  6. avatar crystalclear says:

    Goody!  always happy to see a Mr. Wow thread.    I agree that Oprah has always been about Oprah using her guest list as personal therapy for herself.   In the beginning, I believe she, indeed, influenced young women that they could do better and should do better.   However, the endless shows on incest/child molestation went way over the top.  Then she went tabloid. 

    I believe Oprah has insecurity issues and nothing (not money) can make her happy.   She reminded me of a “wounded bird.”   Giving The Oprah Show an hour of my day Mon-Fri was something I was not willing to do.   As I mentioned on another topic watching her gain an enormous amount of weight (an extreme) to then losing an enormous amount of weight (size 5) showed an unstable side to her…an Oprah out of control emotionally.   In other words, losing the weight and instead of stopping at gaining 10 to 20 lbs back she went right back up to the high numbers.   That showed me a person who had to prove to themselves that they were in control.   This  seems to go hand in hand as a symptom to molestation at a young age.    Also, her years of promiscuity is another symptom of her molestation.   Poor soul.   I know she has struggled as many have and I am extremely sympathetic to those who have had to live with that memory.  

    Mr. Wow, I was not a fan of Oprah either.   As some said she became a strong role model to young women and  introduced The Book Club which recognized new writers promoting their writing careers.   She did do some things that made a difference.  Everyone has good qualities and not so good qualities.

    Perhaps I shouldn’t be so hard on her.    She sounds like a regular human being who is struggling in life to find the answers to her own problems.    

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear CrystalC…what made me especially crazy was her insistence over the years that all the tabloids stories about her were untrue.  Then she’d have on some movie star, and ask them questions straight out of  the National Enquirer. 

      I still think she did more good than harm.  But the wholesale adoration is something that just escapes me.  And my opinion means less than nothing as O counts her billions and plans new ways to stun us with her good deeds in a naughty world.  I look to myself and say, “Mr Wow–get over it.  What the hell have you done to improve the human condition?”

      I met a woman in the elevator yesterday, and in two minutes we had an exchange that was so affecting and amusing and life-affirming I felt I’d know her all my life.  She lifted my day. 

      Maybe if I ever run into Oprah in an elevator….

      • avatar Baby Snooks says:

        Sorry but even the philanthropy was about promoting Oprah.  I was told she thanked Jesus on her final show. The “inner “Oprah was thanking PT Barnum.

        • avatar Baby Snooks says:

          And please. You are a mere mortal. Mere mortals are not allowed on the elevator with Oprah.

          • avatar Baby Snooks says:

            And by the way I had the weirdest dream about several of the ladies of wowOwow the other night and one of them introduced me to “you” as “Mr. Wow” and you in turn introduced yourself to me. Is the first initial of your name J?  If so your name rings a bell. Just don’t which church the bell was in.  There have been so many.

          • avatar Mr. Wow says:

            Dear Baby…first of all, when has Mr. Wow ever said he was a mere mortal? 

            But seriously…there is a J in my name, but it is not in my first name. 
            We’d know each other, I’m certain.
            And I’m always up at 4:00 a.m. myself. 

          • avatar Baby Snooks says:

            Oh. Well maybe I should go to New York and have lunch at Michael’s and see if I’m introduced to “J” who maybe is a “wow” although I hope I am not introduced in “real time” as the “biggest bitch on wowOwow.” 

          • avatar Mr. Wow says:

            Dear Baby…

            Really?  You have always impressed me as fearless in your contentious nature, and I had imagined you’d be “Yes, I am a bitch!  Straight out!”  (As La Liz declared in “X Y and Zee”) 

            Now whether you think of yourself like that or not (I doubt you do–nor do I)  I want to feel confident you’d accept the words with a smile and then demolish whoever said it to you.  With a smile.

          • avatar Baby Snooks says:

            Well a famous astrologer did nickname me Atilla the Nun so let’s just say the nun sometimes is a bitch to deal with and leave it at that.  

      • avatar crystalclear says:

        Mr. Wow, you appear to have a very sweet side to your personality as revealed in your post to me above.   If you met Oprah in an elevator you would probably like her, too!  I do feel I was harsh on her because she has very often put her best foot forward.   She is human like the rest of us and had a strong tendency to chase the tabloid breaking news.   I will always believe that she will die an unfulfilled woman never having completely healed the enormous wound she carried around by being molested and going down the promiscuous path.   We  have our own deamons to explore and examine throughout our lives.  Some of us are able to come to terms with them early in life and move on.   Others have difficulty sorting through them and keep the deamons alive and well.   I wish everyone had the ability to put things in prospective  relative to the time of occurrence, write it down on paper, ball that piece of paper up and throw it away never to be thought of again.   My wish is that Oprah can get there one day.

        Thanks for putting up this thread.   It can get a bit slow around here for members who have a lot to say!!!

  7. avatar Daniel Sugar says:

    Today, Shuttle astronauts announced they can see Oprah’s ego from space.

    • avatar Mr. Wow says: