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By Joe Franco
Picture this: Oprah is in her throne room, bejeweled and comfy. She’s making phone calls to the biggest bunch of counterfeit humans that the world has seen in an age. These people represent a cross section of America that is both unrealistic and inspired by ratings.
On “Oprah’s Big Give,” airing at 9 a.m. Sundays on ABC, these folks compete for something – but they don’t know what. They are merely told that their task is to “give” as much as possible. The first task involves teams of two working together to get the biggest tug at your heart coupled with the most money raised. Each team has a person who needs something. Then they are off! Raise money! Make things dramatic!
The best part of the show? The ending. The contestants are judged on how well they gave (the panel is headed by out Oprah friend Nate Berkus). Someone is actually eliminated for not giving enough or not giving “properly.” What load of hooey is that? Judge Jamie Oliver (aka “The Naked Chef”) was admirable until he had the nerve to say to someone during the show’s premiere, “Ask yourself, ‘How you could have given more?'” Seriously, Jamie? Blow it out your patootie! I want to ask Oprah, how exactly you are able to judge people’s ability to “give”? This show should not be called “The Big Give” but “Top Fundraiser” or “The Non-Profit Apprentice” or “Look What I Can Do!”
If you watch this waste of an hour – and are “moved” – ask yourself if somehow that is the only point. Do you honestly believe that any one of the participants actually care about the person that they are “giving” to? This is a television show. Television shows have one purpose: to make money while distracting you. Think of the good you could have done as a family in that lost hour of time. Try giving yourself as opposed to watching some idiot with an ego do it for profit.
In spite of her silk gowns and her diamonds, and even in spite of the “good” she does now, Oprah is no match for many local heroes who give everything they have every single day. Oprah is no Buddha. Oprah is no Jesus. Oprah is no Gandhi.
She is a superfluous phony. And she should be ashamed of this show. Its premise is the exact opposite of what people should be doing. (Remember … give big – from your own heart, rather than watching someone else do it for ratings and for a “big reveal.”) A judged competition on the ability of someone to give? What rubbish.