As previously reported, Oprah’s new OWN network has the stated goals of being “fun and entertaining” in service of Oprah’s lifetime dream of having her name on a lunchbox, or something, and also it won’t call anyone a “bitch.” It sounds like a truly enlightened place, an oasis from all the other “celebreality” channels where fading stars turn their mundane bickering into voyeuristic pleasures, except for the fact that it’s not: Oprah’s first announced shows—The Judds and Ryan And Tatum: The O’Neals—are essentially Harry Loves Lisa and Keeping Up With The Kardashians, except with an Oprahfied obligatory nod toward “helping” them solve their “complex relationships” the only way Oprah knows how: by dragging them in front of a camera and asking them to air out stuff that is probably best considered in a private room with an actual professional, one who doesn’t pause for interruption by cartoon Charmin bears with toilet paper ass-nubs. Sort of like when reunited mother-daughter duo Naomi and Wynonna Judd, who recently appeared on Oprah’s talk show to discuss in exhausting detail Wynonna’s husband and his arrest for sexual battery against a child, which got everyone pumped for their upcoming tour.
Of course, there’s an actual, tangible investment involved in reuniting The Judds, including T-shirt sales. But as anyone in my family could tell you, no good will come from getting The O’Neals together again—specifically when it’s Ryan and Tatum O’Neal, whose last public reunion, you’ll remember, occurred when Ryan accidentally hit on his estranged daughter at Farrah Fawcett’s funeral. On Ryan And Tatum, they’ll “attempt to rebuild their relationship”—a “complex and dynamic” history that also includes catching Ryan having sex with her teenaged best friend, Melanie Griffith, assaulting her half-brother Redmond in a meth craze, and giving shirtless interviews to Vanity Fair where Ryan essentially wished aloud that he could somehow cram his kids back into the vesicles that spawned them—“by moving in together and attending therapy,” which is a premise so crazy it just might make them some quick cash in exchange for cheapening the whole idea of reconciliation. Actually, this whole thing just makes us glad John Phillips isn’t alive, otherwise Oprah would be booking him and Mackenzie into a Brentwood bungalow right this second.
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