Can I make a return? . . . a review of 'Oprah's Big Give'

Oprahwinfreyshow I don't do a lot of celebrity impressions but I've perfected the moment when a few years ago I was watching an episode of Oprah and she did a segment on the best sweet potatoes and then declared in her familiar sing songy way "And I've got sweet potatoes for everybody in the audience." And the crowd went wild.

That is Oprah's gift. Her endorsement can sell products, push a presidential campaign to the next level, and get people reading again. Whether you love her, dislike her or are indifferent, we have no other celebrity like her. Her impact is undeniable.

Now Oprah is behind ABC's latest feel-good reality program entitled Oprah's Big Give, premiering Sunday at 9 p.m. In the series, ten contestants compete to change the lives of people in need in the most inspired and spectacular way.

So I think there are two ways to look at this show. From one perspective, the series exploits the hardships of people in need and gleans entertainment from people's tragedies. I, for one, get uncomfortable watching the intimate moments when someone is crying over the recent death of her husband. Sure these people agreed to be on the series, but the series is approaching them during weak moments of their lives.

ABC is capitalizing on this by offering tissue packets in this week's TV Guide. But many reality shows and talk shows expose people and their lives for no reason except to take advantage of on our own curiosity. On Oprah's Big Give, at least, it is a means to an end. I would probably feel better if I knew after the show, professionals stepped in to help the people.

But, I guess, you could look at this show a different way. Maybe it will inspire volunteerism and the whole concept that one person makes a difference. That change can, in fact, start with us.

It will be interesting to see if the contestants, who so far are basically playing nice with each other, degenerate into the stereotypical screaming, tearful, belligerent players. The other big drawback is that after kicking off the show, Oprah fades into the background and turns her series over to host Nate Berkus and judges Jamie Oliver, Tony Gonzalez and Malaak Compton-Rock. As Oliver is quick to point out it's strange to criticize people who are trying to do good.

I've giving the show two and a half stars. After you watch the show, let me know what you think.

And for this week's topic, what series would you come up with if you could have a reality show with your name in the title? Talk about it below.

Dirt

Dirt_s2_240 I just don't know what to make of Dirt, which begins its second season Sunday at 10 p.m. I definitely know the show about tabloid editor Lucy Spiller (Courteney Cox) isn't good but I can't deny that it definitely has guilty pleasure potential.

Dirt skewers celebrities with the subtlety of a sledgehammer (hmmm. . . could that be Alec Baldwin and David Hasselholf they are making fun of) and is prone to over-the-top storylines (witness last year's slasher season finale). This season, Dirt has made some potential improvements. Ian Hart's Don Konkey is now on medication that controls his schizophrenia. So gone are his talking cat and hallucinations. Hart's nuanced and sweet performance is the best thing about the show. And his friendship with Lucy gives the show its heart.

The rest of the series I could kind of give or take. Two and a half stars. What do you think of Dirt. Talk about it below.

Women's Murder Club

I know many of you want to see a second season of Women's Murder Club so I wanted to let you about this campaign to save the series. Check out the Kiss-Me-Not campaign over at Save Women's Murder Club.
 

Quotes of the Week

Jonstewart_80thannualacademyawards_ "In case you're wondering what we all do here during the commercial breaks, mostly we just sit around making catty remarks about the outfits you're all wearing at home. That's right. It goes both ways people." Jon Stewart during The Academy Awards.

"A sad truth about my generation is that we were all geniuses in elementary school, but apparently the people who deal with us never got our transcripts because they don't seem to be aware of it." Dylan on quarterlife. Thanks to Kate for the quote as we say goodbye to quarterlife on TV. After a low-rated premiere, NBC has already pulled the show from its schedule.

"George Michael. What are you his come back tour?" Dr. Chen to Eli when Eli tells him he heard a George Michael on Eli Stone.

That's all for today. I'll be back next week to talk about the new FOX series New Amsterdam, Men in Trees, Carpoolers (I've heard you!), Lost (so glad Fisher Stevens finally showed up, American Idol (so tired of Ryan not thanking Simon), familiar faces (Thursday night was a big night for Marc Vann), quotes of the week and more. Have a question? Seen a familiar face? Want to nominate a quote of the week? Write me at amytvgal@zap2it.com. Have a great weekend. Talk to you on Monday.

Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal