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Thursday, February 17, 2005


Like all armchair TV critics, I am quick to pontificate in all areas where my ignorance is deepest.

Yesterday afternoon's juxtaposition of Dr Phil and Oprah brought home to me the complications of a program scheduler's life.

2pm - Doc P at his granite-jawed best, mediating between feuding families and doing an heroic job bringing siblings Jay and Carole back from the brink over a money squabble. Jay was being feeble and dithering and Phil would have none of it, *making* him square up to the hard decision.

3pm - Oprah Winfrey talking to - among others - Queen of Mean, Anne Robinson, about a painful weak link in her own life when booze brought her so low she was declared an unfit mother and lost custody of her baby daughter, Emma. The show was reuniting them after 16 years.

Winfrey was pathetic. She had nothing to contribute to any discussion or repartee that didn't reflect back on her own stardom. The guests might have been sharing some minor peeve for all the understanding or sympathy their hostess came across with.

The other guests were also a mother/daughter lineup, this time it was the daughter on the sauce who - in some distress at the memory - recounted being nabbed on a DUI while driving with her young daughter in the back.

"Do you *get* it?" OW kept asking, "I mean, do you get it now? ... I used to be a journalist and people who drive drunk make me .... rrrgghhh!!".

Well, gosh - there's some sage and muscular advice for someone wrestling with demons to build a better life."

The contrast between Phil and Winfrey was so stark and so embarrassing that I simply turned the show off before she could demonstrate any deeper gaucheries.

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