Oprah's Ten Best Shows

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  • Oprah's Ten Best Shows As Oprah Winfrey’s landmark talk fest ends its 25th and last season this week, here’s a look back at the superstar’s ten most memorable shows.

    Falling Off The Fat Wagon

    It wasn’t her most socially significant show, but it’s arguably her most memorable. In 1988, a slimmed-down Winfrey pulled a wagon containing 67 lbs. of animal fat – exactly the amount she’d just lost on a liquid diet. Unfortunately, the weight loss didn’t last. Since then, Oprah’s finally come to accept that like most women, she’ll never be a size 2. And that’s OK.
  • Facing Down AIDS Panic In 1987, Winfrey held a meeting in the town of Williamson, West Virginia . The town closed its public swimming pool after Mike Sisco, a gay man with AIDS, dove into it. In a hostile environment, Winfrey explained the facts and myths about AIDS. She returned in September 2010 for another meeting, where some residents said they had changed their minds about AIDS. Others had not. Sisco died in 1994.
  • Reading For Millions In 1996, Winfrey started a book club with a little known novel called The Deep End Of The Ocean. Her viewers snapped the book up. With the 60-plus books she’s endorsed since, she’s changed the reading habits of million. And not incidentally, her recommendations have meant skyrocketing sales for publishing companies.
  • Tom Cruise's Sofa Stomp Winfrey’s poise and credulity were tested when Tom Cruise came on her show in 2005 and expressed his love for his future wife, Katie Holmes. He did this by repeatedly jumping on and off the guest sofa, saying “I love her!” as Oprah looked on, laughing in a kind of mystified way. We just wish we could have heard what she said to him after the show.
  • The Trip To Neverland In 1993, Winfrey did a live interview with Michael Jackson, probably the world’s most reclusive superstar. She and Jackson toured Neverland, the singer’s lavish California ranch. During the interview, Jackson told Winfrey that he was suffering from the disease vitiligo, which caused his skin color to change.
  • Confronting Racism Winfrey went to the white people of Forsyth County, Georgia, and asked them to say in a town meeting why they didn’t want any blacks in their area. Many respondents were hostile, but attention focused on one man, Dennis, who used the n-word repeatedly and insisted that black people had ruined the Atlanta neighborhood where he’d lived. When Dennis appeared on the show in 2006, he insisted that he was not a racist and said he no longer used the n-word.
  • You Get A Car! And You Get A Car! Winfrey’s biggest giveaway came in 2004, when she surprised every member of her audience with the keys to a new Pontiac G6. Winfrey’s on-stage chant- “You get a car! And you get a car! And you get a car!” – inspired countless satirical videos on YouTube. As for the audience’s unbalanced reaction, that was memorialized in a Saturday Night Live sketch that showed one woman’s head exploding and another woman unexpectedly giving birth.
  • Family Hour Earlier this year, Winfrey broadcast a meeting with her half-sister, Patricia, whom she discovered only recently. Winfrey’s mother, Vernita, became pregnant with Patricia when Winfrey was living with her father in Nashville. “I thought nothing could surprise me anymore,” Winfrey told the audience during the reunion show. “But I was wrong.”
  • How Could You Do This To Me? In 2006, Winfrey chose James Frey’s “memoir,” A Million Little Pieces, for her book club – only to find out that the book was a fake. In a cringe-inducing interview with Frey, Winfrey pummeled him about why he had done it in general, and why he had done it to her. To make it better (or worse), Winfrey invited Frey back in the final season, apologizing to him for her self-righteousness.
  • A Lot Of Her Favorite Things In December 2010, Winfrey gave a lot of her favorite things to audiences in a two-part program. Among the goodies: a seven-day cruise, an iPad, Judith Ripka earrings and a Ralph Lauren cashmere blanket—not to mention brownies, popcorn, mac’n’cheese and chicken pot pie. Plus a book on how to lose weight.