Oprah’s Book Club
Oprah Winfrey.....Tim Meadows
Sheila Harcourt.....Pamela Lee
[FADE in on a slide showing the front of a book called, “Ruth Is Alright” by Sheila Harcourt and the caption “BOOK CLUB” next to it. FADE to Oprah sitting in a studio in front of a huge projection of the book cover.]
Oprah: Hi there, and welcome to another chapter of Oprah’s Book Club! I am so excited about this month’s book: [holds up book] “Ruth Is Alright,” by Sheila Harcourt. Now, let me tell you something, girl: I love this book. It’s the story of a woman named Ruth, who is black. She grows up in the South, moves to Chicago, gets her own talk show, loses weight, gains it back, loses again... and then she gets really, really rich. It is such a universal story, girl. Okay, now, we’re gonna show you all some highlights from last night’s Book Club dinner, where three lucky viewers joined the author and myself for a fish feast, honey. [giggles]
[ZOOM in on the front of a huge mansion with pillars.]
Oprah: [off camera] Because the main character in Sheila’s book made such a success of her life, we decided to celebrate her by having dinner at a place befitting the stature of someone wealthy and dynamic. So we dined at my house.
[FADE to a slide of a green leaf and a caption, “the dinner,” then FADE to Oprah’s elegant dining room, where she sits at a round table with Sheila Harcourt and three other women. Everyone giggles and sips from fancy flutes of wine.]
Oprah: All right, all right. Now, first of all, I want to thank you all for coming to my home. And I want to introduce the author of “Ruth Is Alright,” Sheila Harcourt. [claps]
[The three “regular” women all moan in awe and fawn over her.]
Oprah: Honey, I loved your book, girl. YOU are all right.
[The guests giggle and moan.]
Sheila: Girl, YOU are all right.
Sheila: Thanks to you, Oprah, I no longer have to read palms to supplement my writing career.
Oprah: Amen, girl.
[Ladies giggle and coo for a long moment.]
Estelle: [in a Sally O’Malley voice] I just thought that your little book was terrific, honey. And I just want to say to THIS lady-- [pats Oprah’s shoulder] --that you are one terrific lady. You’re a superstar and you know it. You know it!
Oprah: Thank YOU, girl!
Guest: I, I, I just loved the book, Sheila. And Oprah, I just think you’re such an inspiration.
Guest: It’s because of you that I own a roadside fruit stand, where I sell fruits, and also my famous “Oprahcot” pie!
Ana: I think you’re so great, Oprah!
Oprah: [sweetly] Thank you so much, girlfriend!
Carol: [nervously] Well, um, I can’t believe I’m in your house, Oprah.
[Ladies giggle as Carol fidgets with her collar.]
Carol: You have a really nice house, Oprah. [glances around in awe]
[The ladies continue to laugh, then FADE to the leaf and the caption, “inspiration.” FADE back to the women at dinner.]
Oprah: [eating] Mmm-mmm! Honey, this fish is so good. [with mouth full] And the peas are, mmmm, wonderful! [turns to side] Honey, bring it on, here. Give me some more of those peas, baby.
[A white-shirted butler steps in and dishes more peas onto Oprah’s plate.]
Oprah: He’s a cutie! Thank you so much, honey.
[As the butler turns to leave, Oprah pinches him on the butt.]
[He whirls around and glares angrily at her before walking away. The other ladies burst out laughing.]
Oprah: All right now, Sheila, now you tell me, what inspired you to write this book, girlfriend?
Sheila: Well, YOU did, Oprah. Whenever I’d hit a writing block, I’d just think about the main character, and then I’d switch her head with yours, and the block would disappear!
Guest: Oh, I know what you mean. Sometimes when I’m feeling down, I pretend my fruit is an audience, and I say, [shrilly] “Get with the proo-graam!”
Oprah: That is really sweet, honey. [to Sheila] Are you gonna finish those potatoes, girl?
[Oprah starts dishing them onto her plate. FADE to leaf and the caption, “courage,” then FADE back to Oprah, who has a large glob of potatoes smeared above the corner of her mouth.]
Oprah: Now... My friend...
[The glob slides off, and Oprah tries to catch it with her tongue, but she misses.]
Oprah: ...Maya Angelou, she’s a poet, hangs out with the President. Anywhoski, she says that courage is fear that has said its prayers, girl.
Ladies: Oh! Oooooooooooo!
Oprah: Yeah. Now, what is the most courageous thing you have ever done?
Shiela: Oh, I, I stripped at my own brother’s bachelor party.
Guest: Wow. You know, after my mother died, I got my ears pierced.
Ladies: [after a blank pause] Oooooooooo.
Carol: Well, you know, um, I ate this whole meal, and I’m allergic to fish!
[Ladies coo and giggle while Carol grins uncertainly.]
Estelle: I, uh, I shot my husband’s secretary in the foot.
Oprah: [laughing] Girl, that is awful, Estelle!
Estelle: Yes. But thanks to you, Oprah, I got through it: ‘cause you’re one terrific lady. And that’s a fact. That’s a fact.
Oprah: [whispering, almost choked up] Thank YOU, girl...
[FADE to leaf and the caption, “crossroads,” then FADE to Oprah chasing the butler in circles around the table and holding out her plate.]
Butler: Get away from me!
[The other ladies hoot and cheer as Oprah keeps chasing him and his dish of food. FADE to leaf and the caption, “favorite parts,” then FADE to the women laughing at the dinner table. Potatoes are still smeared above Oprah’s mouth.]
Oprah: Now, MY favorite part of the book was when she got her own cook, honey. Mm-hm.
Estelle: Yeah. I wanna say that you have a heck of a lot of style, lady!
Oprah: Thank you, Estelle. Thank you so much. Now, Carol, what was your favorite part of the book, girl?
Carol: [looking clueless] Oh, the, the book! Uh... well, uh, I guess, it was when the lady, uh, when she, when she, uh, when she got the thing, and, um...
Oprah: [evenly] Honey, honey, did you even READ the book?
Carol: Yes, of course I read the book.
Oprah: Well, then tell us what was your favorite part, girl!
Carol: Oooooh! Ooh, could I have some more fish?
[Other ladies burst out laughing. FADE to leaf and the caption, “friendship,” then FADE to a closeup of Oprah’s face as she relaxes in a bubble bath.]
Oprah: What a fabulous dinner. It had all the right elements: great food, stimulating conversation, and great food.
[PAN back to show the other ladies in the jacuzzi with her as they all giggle.]
Guest: Thank you for giving courage a voice, Sheila. And thank you for giving it a forum, Oprah.
Oprah: [modestly] Ohhh... Well, here’s to good books, guardian angels, and personal trainers!
[Oprah flexes an arm while the ladies giggle one last time. FADE to the opening “Book Club” slide, then FADE to black over applause.]
Thanks to Joe for this transcript!