IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Oprah's New Happiness

How to endure James Frey? Put your joy-making machine into overdrive. By Dave White
/ Source: contributor

Oprah has announced on a few occasions that her talk show is lit for African-American skin, to make it look its cocoa-glowy best. She also says that this particular combination of lights makes everyone look incredible.

I love that about her lights. I love that everyone gets to be beautiful on her show. Even that dumb former child star from “Family Matters” who wound up in porn (“I thought it was just going to be a calendar! I had low self-esteem! I was intoxicated!”) looked attractive. Hell, even the good sense- (and perhaps GED-) impaired couple who rented a stripper to give their 16-year-old son a birthday lap dance got to be cute. Ish.

The only unbeautiful guest she’s had recently was James Frey. They lit him differently. I like to believe that on the day of his show trial, a special one-of-a-kind Truth Spot was installed and aimed solely at him. I like to think that the Truth Spot was a special extra-hot light that burned sweaty shame into his crack-and-booze-starved pores while simultaneously completely blanching his already pale face so that he appeared to be near death.

He deserved it, after all. Who did he think he was, anyway, toying with the woman who makes my afternoon ritual of bill paying, Swiffering and laundry folding more bearable? Why did he think he could get away with it? Why did he make her don what looked like a special Attack Weave on her head for one day only just to make him understand she was serious? Especially when everyone would rather see her with what looks to be a giant curly Wig of Joy?

Frey deserved every moment of heat-lamping he received. The only thing that could have made that a more entertaining hour of television would have been if they’d brought on that surly French Hermés employee — the one who dared not know who Oprah was — for his or her own personal spanking. Oprah could have killed two insolent birds with one righteous stone.

No frowns allowedI dig Oprah. A lot. And after watching the Frey show three times — my favorite part was when he looked like he might cry, all stammery and “buh-buh-buh”-ing — I was spiritually cleansed, ready to move on and I hoped that she’d be ready too. And thank goodness, she was. She knew it was time to return to her Hair of Joy look (however she accomplishes it, with real hair, full wig, partial, weave, combo or whatever; it looks awesome and she should totally keep it). So she did.

In the weeks that have followed Black Frey-Day, Oprah seems like a woman with a mission, like in the movie “Heathers” when they have the pep rally to usher in “The New Happiness.” Save for the odd moment of heart-wrenching sadness with Susan St. James as she discussed her deceased teenage son, it’s been a nonstop hootenanny of home giveaways, fake celebrity friendship bonding and awkward dancing with Matthew McConaughey, free food and — my personal favorite thing — lots of O-singing. I don’t care whether it’s all phony. I need it.

Remember when Oprah sang her own theme song? Remember how cute and awful that was? She realized after the fact that it was a bad idea, yet she never lost her desire to belt it out. But now she’s found success even here: She simply sings the final words of sentences. Are you a Katrina victim getting a new home from the Angel Network and Habitat for Humanity? Well then welcome to your new home on Angel LAAAAYYYYNNNE!!!!! (It was just more musical-sounding than “Gayle Avenue.”)

Are you Eva Longoria, about to surprise your parents and freshly-pulled-from-the-shadows sister with Down’s Syndrome with a home newly decorated by the adorable Nate? Then you will be introduced as Eva LongGORIAHHHHHHH!!!! Are you the boss of Mattel about to give Oprah her own only-one-in-existence Oprah-Barbie doll? You will be serenaded with a grateful “AH-AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!”

In her renewed excitement for life, Oprah has decided that she is not only the founder of the Angel Network, she is also the head angel and it’s her duty to vocally herald her every move. Behold ,she brings you glad tidings of great joy and her favorite WILLIAMS-SONOMA CROISSAHHHNTS!!!!

She took a break from O-singing on Sex Addicts day and you could tell she was feeling a little pent up. Also, it was a show about sex. At one point Oprah actually said, “Ew, all those strange penises.” I felt bad for her, having to deal with anything that wasn’t swaddled in cashmere and butter. I knew she’d rather be trumpeting her weekend jet ride to Montecito with John TraVOLTAHHHHH!!! and I resented the Sex Addict ladies for bumming her out.

But it was her “Breakfast With Oprah” episode that really turned the tide, washing away the memories of crack-addict writers and brand instability past, a head-exploding day of unparalleled joy.

Cupcake jamboree!It was 60 minutes of what I hope is a template for all future episodes. First up? A random moment of reminiscing about when she turned 40 (“I ran a marathon! I was 40!”) followed by thunderous applause. Then a personal phone call to a lucky viewer to bestow her with super-difficult-to-get tickets to the show. Then the angelic trumpeting of, “It’s a breakfast PARTAYYYYY!!!!” and the surprise announcement to a Chicago office full of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms employees that they were going to be rounded up and limo’d over to Harpo Studios.

More applause, bouncing, hand-waving and shrieking. Then come the CROISSAHHHNNNTS!! The hot, flaky bread makes Oprah do a little combo jog/dance move that culminates in kooky leg side-kicks. Steadman ate five of these things on Christmas morning! Gayle spreads the Sarabeth preserves!

Next is a surprise for a woman named Tiffany, who’s called up on stage to read the teleprompter. She tries to hug Oprah and sort of succeeds, even though it looks like Oprah doesn’t dig human contact that much. And by that, I mean she looks like she might be looking for her Hermés tazer in case Tiffany gets unruly when MARY J. BLIIIIIIIIGE!!! comes out to sing “Be Without You.” Tiffany bear-hugs Mary J. and bursts into tears. Mary J. bear-hugs her right back and cries too, momentarily showing up Oprah. Oprah drags Tiffany offstage and Mary J. sings. Oprah dances and opens her mouth to sing along. It’s mind-blowing when Oprah does this because she never seems to know the words to the songs. She just goes “lalalala” and looks around to see if anyone notices.

But wait, there’s more. Here come the ATF office ladies, practically busting down the studio doors. They bounce, they scream, they wave their hands in the air like Lotto winners. And then Mary J. sings Oprah’s favorite song, “Family Affair” — in which Mary J. invents the words “hateration” and “holleration” and demands that they cease.

“It gets me crunked!” exults Oprah. I hit the eight-second repeat button on my TiVo many times over to hear her say this.

And finally, more food. Barbra Streisand, clearly miffed that Oprah outed her on a past show as having demanded a white microphone to match her outfit, has sent Oprah a box of passive-aggressive cupcakes from chichi Beverly Hills bakery Sprinkles. Everybody gets CUPCAAYYYYKES!!!!

It's Oprah's Greatest Hits, served up just the way I like them.

Then it’s over, the gloomy haze of fake memoirists banished. It’s a beautifully-lit day, the New Happiness slam-dunked into existence. And I hope it stays that way until the day comes when she’s living in the White House and painting it the color purple.

Dave White is the author of the 99% nonfiction memoir “Exile In Guyville,” and blogs at .