The Friendly Skies of…Oprah?

Originally posted November 5, 2010

The fact that people watch Oprah continues to baffle me. Her appeal is just one of those things I cannot wrap my head around, but all kinds of people actually watch that show. No, for real—they watch it in droves, and they buy in to her egofest and lowest-common-denominator tastes.

As will happen, an Oprah watcher will say the words, “I saw it on Oprah the other day,” without the slightest hint of embarrassment. And I’m such a bully—I get all incredulous and blurt out, “Wait! You watch Oprah?” completely derailed by my intense befuddlement at the appeal of the O. Super judge-y, I know. But I can’t help it. I just don’t get her.

Maybe those who do are the same people who continue to push Two and a Half Men forward in its inexplicable ratings dominance. And yet her popularity, bewildering as that of the Tea Party to me, is not confined to the middle of the country. Smug coasters cannot blame this on those who live in places those from the outsides of the country are only familiar with from a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet.

The cruising-altitude part of that thought (which I seriously almost strained my brain trying to shoehorn in there) brings me to this week’s ridiculous Oprah Winfrey media-seeking stunt. United Airlines has overhauled a Boeing 757 in Oprah’s image in commemoration of her much heralded final months (before she kicks into complete world comination with her OWN Network).

They have repainted a 757 with the Oprah show logo and the words “The Farewell Season.” La Winfrey will greet passengers in a special video when they board, and then they will snuggle under fleece blankets monogrammed with “Oprah 25.”

Time-lapse footage sent to journalists shows workers painting and then repainting the vessel. I would have thought they would have an approved design and then just done the job once, but no. In my mind, Oprah is standing there watching the guys up on the scissor lifts, and she’s yelling at them because it isn’t right—and that’s why they end up with not one but two giant signatures on the side of the plane.

The press release says the interior will be redone per Ms. Winfrey’s instructions. I’m picturing a full-cabin mural of her face (thin version, of course) and seats reupholstered in a fabric with the Oprah-show signature logo as a repeating graphic—in the manner of a Louis Vuitton handbag.

Flight attendants would wear scarves with the logo print, and in first class, there would be logo’d footy pajamas and eye masks. (Hey, Oprah, I should probably mention here that I can totally be bought…my poor opinion of you can shift very, very quickly if you want to take any of these suggestions to heart and compensate me for them.)

But what I really wish is that Oprah would put aside her ego for just a second and request an interior that looked more like this bad boy. Because this is the kind of awesomeness I would like to see John Travolta flying when he hauls all those audience winners to Australia.



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