So…this week it hits me as we move into really having to deal with the Oprah Show finally being over because we are running out of Behind the Scenes footage… I just want this show to go on and on…but, all good things…right? This week, we get Gayle and the SNL crew…so watch out and get ready to laugh!
We start out on Friday afternoon in Oprah’s office…in a pre-show meeting that takes a little bit of a reminiscent turn. “I am filled with a sense of joy and relief that this chapter is coming to an end,” Oprah tells us. “My perspective is very different than the producers prospective. Every single decision ultimately comes to me on every level…it’s just a lot,” Oprah says. ”And i know that other people have different feelings…they’ve grown up here…it means something different to them…and I’ve been restrained about it…wanting to do the hula every time we hit a different number.” But she reminds us as she puts it into perspective by just telling us, “I have loved every minute of it…”
Dana Brooks and Katy Davis get the fun job of producing and reliving the best of Oprah and Gayle’s from the Oprah Winfrey Show. Gayle surpasses every guest…and has been on the show 140 times. THIS must be why we love the relationship so much, because they have shared it with all of us over the years. “What Gayle has represented for me is not a friend. Gayle has been my therapy. I talk to Gayle every night of my life,” Oprah shares. “That is how I come down at the end of my day is discussing what has happened at the end of the day with Gayle in a way in which you can’t talk about it with anyone else.” This is what makes Oprah so real to us…and why Gayle is just another name for the kind of best friend that everyone wants in their lives.
As part of the Behind the Scenes access that we have, every day during this last season has probably been filled with all kinds of special moments for so many people. On today’s episode, Oprah gets a Chicago street named after her. Oprah Winfrey Way is dedicated to her from Mayor Daley. “To me what the street naming was that your entire body of work…everything that you have done in this town…bringing your studio to the west side of town when nothing but prostitutes and litterally rats lived over here,” Oprah shares. “Now, look at this thriving neighborhood…look at this community… look at the businesses that have been spurred by this one little operation called Harpo. It was an honor.” Afterwards, Oprah proclaims “I am a street!” Then she says, “I am going to insist that my dog only be walked on Oprah Winfrey Way!”
As we move through the show, Dana and Scott Rondeau get Gayle on the phone. “The core of who Oprah is still right there,” Gayle tells them…then offers them some direction on some of the priceless moments that they don’t want to miss for this show.
In our SNL pre-show meeting, we get to meet Page Hurwitz,the newly hired Executive Producer of the Rosie O’Donnell Show. I wonder if there will be Behind the Scenes shows for us once Rosie starts. I’m thinking it’s a given. I remember her last days on The View…and how she was her own BTS show on the web. Loved it then…I’m pretty sure…I’ll be loving it again! (fingers crossed) . Terry Goulder and Jill Van Lockeren are producing the SNL Reunion show…and juggling all of the pieces in the air all at once. Chevy Chase, Jane Curtain, Dana Carvey, Tina Fey and Tracy Morgan. Oprah says about Tina Fey, “She does everything well. I really like her because she’s one of those people who stays in her lane but her lane is really broad.” So as they are discussing the show, they share some exciting news. Tina is 5 months pregnant and wants the big reveal to be on Oprah. “I should know…because I’m not going to ask somebody if their pregnant,” Oprah tells them. “I’m never asking anybody if their pregnant unless they are about to drop that baby and I can see it’s head…really, that is the truth.” Organic or not…Oprah’s reaction is so right for so many reasons.
As the best friends special is being prepped, Katy, Dana and Scott all sit down to call Stedman and try to get him on tape to “see what he thinks about this incredible friendship.” Sheri tells us that she’s been keeping this surprise in her back pocket all season. “Oprah doesn’t remember…it was months ago. I pulled her aside and said, “you know are you ok if shoot something with Stedman before the end of the season?” This is the perfect show too…because Sheri reminds us that “nobody has had a front row seat to thier friendship like Stedman.” Stedman’s response to the request, “Love to do it….if you ask me to do something that is in support of my girl then I’d love to do it…” Gayle is “a part of the family.” Stedman is the best ever…seriously…the best.
Laughter and SNL Alum start arriving and bringing their sunshine to the show. “Just to be on Oprah period, that’s awesome,” Tracy Morgan tells us. “But to be part of her last couple of shows…this is a cherishable moment.” Oprah tells us that “Tina Fey is one of my favorites because she’s brillaint…she really is brilliant. I just really like and appreciate people who really are 100% authentically themselves. Even when she is on TV and making funny, that’s still 100% herself.” Like I couldn’t like Tina anymore…but I do. This is what Oprah does – brings people to us and helps us see them for who they are. The love just follows. As the show rolls on, we get the laughter, the banter, and the fun of what the great comedians from SNL have brought to the world. Perfect.
Finally, Gayle arrives for her final “Best of Oprah and Gayle” show and Gayle’s excited. “I get to walk on? I never get to walk on. Only the big people get to walk on,” Gayle says. Last minute drama as Dana and Scott talk to Novova Cruz, Oprah’s Executive Assistant and wonder woman (I speak from my own EA experience) into helping them look for the missing photo that they need for the show. In the end…it’s found. Thank you Novova…I’m sure you had a hand in making this happen….as well as probably the EA from Gayle’s world too. As Oprah and Gayle get ready, Oprah pops in to tell her that Ralph Lauren has invited her to spend the night when she comes out for the interview at his ranch. Gayle smiles and says, “I’ll check my calendar…let me see if I’m available…I’m sure they have room.” Spoken like a true best friend…
As they get ready, Gayle asks Oprah’s stylist, “What’s she wearing today, Kelly?” Gayle is excited…this is a special moment. It’s her last appearance on the show…but Oprah tells Gayle, “I think you look fantastic…” but insists that it doesn’t make a difference if she wears jeans and Gayle wears her dress. But…Gayle wants Oprah to look similar. “We should look similar, right?” Gayle asks everyone who go TOTALLY SILENT then later reminds O, ”This isn’t the camping show mommy.” “Is the purple sweater OK with you?” Oprah asks her new stylist, Gayle…who quickly without a beat responds, “May I see it?” Priceless. You can’t WRITE this stuff! “I changed because it’s not worth arguing about,” Oprah tells us because she understands…and so do we. This is what friends do.
As Gayle walks on in her favorite yellow shoes, Oprah tells us, “I just love that girl. You know why? Because she comes upstairs into my makeup room and says, “Guess what? I’m going to get a walk on.” I just love that girl.” And Gayle tells us, “She is still the same girl and I get a kick out of that….and I want people to see it.” Stedman tells us the 3 words to describe their friendship…”Consistency. Loyalty. Trust.” and Gayle ends with “all I want to do is cheer you on…” And the rest of the world wants the same…for you too Gayle…and for Oprah because you both have changed our lives by sharing your own.