For today’s premiere of her 25th and final season of The Oprah Winfrey Show, Oprah filled the studio with 300 special people she called “the ultimates” — viewers so loyal they’ve written her letters (on paper!), organized regular restaurant meet-ups just to talk about her, and forced their children to re-watch her birthday episode from 2004 (also featuring today’s “favorite guest,” John Travolta) over and over again. Would they get a car? No! Hilariously, one group of women who’d driven cross-country to attend what they thought would be the season’s second show ended up on today’s show because Oprah’s team transformed a loading dock into a make-believe parking garage so that the women would think they’d arrived at their hotel (Harpo Resort and Casino, West Loop branch?) when really they were just rollin’ right on into the studio! (Obviously they were freaking out and it was adorable, but the best part was that the first thing one of them said was that it would have been nice to “shower and get dressed.”) No free cars for them! Oprah also surprised super-fan Crystal Brooks with a video message in her elementary school classroom, announcing “A car is waiting for you outside…” Her face lit up knowingly, but then Opes continued, “…to bring you to the airport and come to our season premiere.” No car for her either! BUT THEN…
Everyone! In! The audience! Got something BETTER than a car! They got an eight-day, seven-night trip with Oprah to Australia! “WE’RE GOING TO AUSTRALIA! YOU AND YOU AND YOU ARE GOING TO AUSTRALIA! WE ARE GOING TO AUSTRALIA! CUE THE PILOT!” And then get this: John Travolta popped out. He’s the pilot! And then the floor startlingly snapped in half to reveal Jon Hamm’s private swimming pool underneath and then that flooded into the ether to reveal a giant tarmac, and the entire group lifted off from Earth in a special television-studio plane courtesy of the all-new airline Oprah Air! No, not really. But the part about Australia is true. G’day mate!
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