The first time I saw this, I was dumbfounded. Is this a spoof? Was it a Funny or Die parody? Could Oprah Winfrey be so desperate as to don her costume, wig, and revive her hurried Sophia strut—the one that we remember from her star turn in Steven Spielberg's adaptation of The Color Purple—for a base act of advertising for her troubled network OWN.
Yes. Yes, she could. It is real. It is not a spoof. And as far as I can tell, it was created in all earnestness. Not a joke. With Tyler Perry now programming on OWN with original scripted series, he got in on the game and here we have one of the most bizarre marketing ploys that I've ever seen. Madea vs. Sophia.
Here are the paraphrased lines from the movie in service to Oprah's ego:
"All my life I had to fight...I had to fight the press folks. I had to fight the ratings. I had to fight dem haters. Girl, child ain't safe in the world for a cable channel...I loves OWN. God knows I do. But I ain't gonna let nobody beat me. You want a great cable channel? You find OWN like everybody else been doin'."
And Madea is the "straight man" in the dialogue, the character in "Search of OWN."
The only thing that could be worse is if Whoopi Goldberg suddenly decided she needed to boost her profile on The View and reprised her role as Celie. To equate her "struggle" to create her own cable network with that of post-slavery black women in the South seems base and wrong. Plain and simple.
To paraphrase another problematic masterpiece: As god as my witness, I'll never trust Oprah's instincts again."