From Oprah to Ellen . . . in the blink of an eye

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There apparently has been a seismic shift on the planet . . . well, not exactly my planet, but certainly my wife Janet’s.

Apparently, Oprah really is gone and Ellen Degeneres seems to be the beneficiary.

I happened to walk into the bedroom when all of the kids were down a few nights ago, and Janet was pretty much belly laughing at Ellen, who is routinely DVR’d on our Brighthouse recording service.

As I walked in, Janet said something innocuous like, “she’s too much,” without stopping the gaffawing.  I froze in amazement at the irony of it all.

Just a year ago, I believe that I put it on the line . . . or maybe I didn’t really put it on the line, but I thought about putting it on the line anyway:  it’s Oprah or me, baby doll!  Capiche?  This planet isn’t big enough for the two of us in our marriage!!!

But tonight, it was all so very different. Janet appears to have gotten past her love affair with Oprah.  Now, it was all about Ellen.  When Janet would see Oprah DVR’d through the Brighthouse system, she routinely cried; she was awestruck . . . she was mesmerized.  She gasped in over the top ways.

But when it comes to Ellen, it’s not about that at all.

She was actually laughing hysterically with Hillary Duff as the guest.  Seriously – Hillary Duff!  Our current 16 year old loved her as Lizzie McGuire years ago and I even thought she was adorable myself, at least before she made those painful movies.  But that didn’t stop Janet, who was laughing hysterically as she listened to her, all grown up, married with a child — and, of course, under Ellen’s easy care.

And just the other night, we had no choice but to see these 8 and 5 year old phenoms from England who You Tubed an energetic presentation of  rapper Nicki Minaj with a rhyme, rhythm and reason that marveled grown ups. Clearly, I’m glad we had a chance to see it. We laughed and I cried of course, empathizing with the 8 year old’s father whose mother (his wife) nonchalantly handed him a Kleenex while their daughter was on stage with Ellen.

And so I said to Janet, as I sat in amazement at the transformation in less than one year, “well, I guess Oprah is a goner?”

“Well, maybe not a goner, but probably a little out of sight,” she says;  “besides, she became way too elitist towards the end!”

“Elitist?” I asked, absolutely astounded with, I must say, a tinge of schadenfreude interspersed.

“You know what I mean:  just too full of herself,” she confessed.

Too full of herself?  Too full of herself!  I loved it.  The ironies rushed over me with waves of relief.

Frankly, though, I actually liked Oprah, although I do admit that her sense of self at times overpowered the themes she wanted to spotlight. To me, she was the Frank Sinatra of her genre compared to the lighter hearted and more apparently genuine Dean Martin:  more interested in himself than in his audience. 

Nonetheless, Oprah (like Frank) did some mighty work for which we can all be grateful.

And what abot Ellen?  Yes, Ellen?  She’s done her work too, but of a very different nature. From the painful coming out to the hidden days healing her publicly villified inner soul, to her current regenesis radiating the pure joy of her spirit:  her transformation was an enormous delight to witness, even from afar.

It hadn’t occurred to me to place either of them side by side (anymore than to compare Frank Sinatra with Dean Martin), but for the simple fact of Janet’s joyfulness in watching Ellen navigate with fluid ease in and through the conversations she shared with those two young British starlets in a singing frenzy and with Hillary Duff exciting about young marriage and children and the youthful newness of it all – which each of us, with smiles on our faces, can recall.

P.S.  As I was rereading this post to clean up typos, etc., by the way, I had to stop because, from the other side of the house, I heard this cackling that sounded like it was coming from Janet.  I didn’t believe it, but, upon further investigation, it  turned out to be true.  Apparently, Janet was thoroughly engaged in Ellen, one of Ellen’s employees and her employee’s mother on the Queen Mary Halloween Voyage, or something of that nature.  Apparently, it was scary and the way it was depicted doubled Janet over in bed, yet again!  I any event, you get the picture!

P.P.S.  I’m sorry, Oprah.  It appears to be over.  And Ellen, please . . . please . . . please . . .  don’t learn to take yourself too seriously!  It’s happened before, of course, with others.  And it could happen to you.  But, we’re all out here supporting you and doing our best to make sure it doesn’t happen to you.