Usually, I am on the treadmill at the Y around the four o'clock hour, at which time I have a serious choice to make.
First off, let me include a disclaimer: I am very naive and impressionable when it comes to daytime TV talk shows. After all, for the first time in my life, I have distraction-free access to this type of TV programming! Egads! I am a bit like a child at the circus - I am unsure what to look at first: the comically dancing white lady or the more-serious-yet-not-less-compelling black lady?
So - what better way to make a serious decision such as this? Make a list!
+ Her mannerisms make me laugh. I loved her "Ellen" show way back in the day.
+ The camera always pans to the keyboardist who does her music, and he's always laughing at something she's saying.
+ The audience is always smiling and laughing.
+ She includes little mini-segments, like the one today called "Ellen's Quest for World Domination". She telephoned some guy at that tower in Dubai and asked if she could put a flag of herself on top of their tower. How audacious is that? I love it. I was drawn to that like I...I mean, one might be drawn to a show like "Jackass".
- Sometimes she has side guests...like the five-year-old piano prodigy who can play Chopin perfectly. That I'm not really interested in - it only serves to remind me that my children are not prodigies of any kind.
- There's a lot of audience participation-type stuff. Not that I'm totally against that...but one of the main reasons I tune in is to see the celebrities, or even Ellen herself. I'm not too keen on watching my next-door neighbor, who can play the recorder through her nose. But, that's just me.
+ She discusses very compelling issues. One episode was a spin-off of Hoarders...people who keep everything they ever get. Trashed houses, filthy, clutter everywhere...I couldn't stop watching it; I was enthralled. My kids and I rushed home from the Y to finish watching it - which we NEVER do. But it was that fascinating. Part of another episode (today's, actually) was about a 41-year-old woman who was lamenting the fact that she couldn't get a boyfriend. So Oprah sends out Nate Somebody, her "go-to" guy to solve this problem. Turns out the woman has Harvard-like expectations: dealbreakers include the guy having a Facebook page or using a drinking straw. Psycho!
+ It's Oprah. I loved her in "The Color Purple".
- For every episode like the two I described above, she also has episodes where she brings Robin Givens on to talk about Mike Tyson or Whitney Houston on to talk about Bobby Brown. Eh. Just not my bag.
- No laughing keyboardist sidekick.
- Prepare your rotten tomatoes and hate emails, but sometimes she gets too philanthropic for me. It's cool that she supports a lot of good causes, but hell, she's got the money to do so. Frankly, at four in the afternoon, I want to workout, get sweaty, and be physically fit...I don't want to be made to feel like a heartless ass.
So yeah, wow. Looking at this list - it's definitely a tough call. I'm going to need to know more, which means watch some more episodes. I don't know, for now, it will have to be a day-by-day judgment.