In the weeks and months following 9/11, I found tremendous solace in TV. Each night after work, I would burrow into my couch and curl up with new episodes of Friends, Gilmore Girls or Felicity.
And no matter what, before going to bed, I’d always play back on my VHS recorder the latest installment of The Oprah Winfrey Show. O’s daily dose of uplift and optimism was the perfect tonic to calm my nerves after a long day of terrorism fears and war jitters and anthrax scares.
I was reminded of Winfrey’s uncanny ability to soothe just yesterday when the sad news of Mary Tyler Moore’s passing broke on Twitter. Within minutes, a clip from a 1997 episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show went viral; in it, Moore surprised super-fan Winfrey live on the air, causing her to erupt in a fit of gloriously authentic joy. And for that two minutes, I felt better. It took the edge off of my sadness and served as the warm hug that I so badly needed.
And, if the first week of Donald Trump’s presidency is any indication, I’m going to need a lot more of those warm hugs. Each day brings with it an even scarier headline that brings into sharper focus Trump’s plans for this country, and Oprah’s not around to help calm the feelings of uncertainty and fear that are curdling my insides by reminding me of how much good remains in the world.
So, Oprah, if you’re reading this, here’s what I’m proposing: Revive The Oprah Winfrey Show on OWN – the time slot can be of your choosing since I’m going to stick to tradition and replay it before bed, anyway — on a five- or four-day-a-week basis. And it doesn’t have to be year-round. I know you’ve got your acting thing going on, not to mention running an entire network and all, so you can take long stretches off. Maybe give us eight straight weeks of shows in the fall and another eight in the winter/spring, for a grand total of, say, 80 original episodes. That should go a long way toward taking the edge off.
Give it some thought. Take your time. But not too much time. The Mexican president just cancelled his meeting with Trump only hours after a mass resignation took place at the State Department. And the day is still young.