The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Oprah Watch: Aussie Mania, Our Ugly Side and Celebrities Eating Out of a Box

By Ali Trachta in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 14, 2008 7:00PM

2008_11_14oprahwatch1.JPGDo you think Oprah ever feels “in the middle” of celebrity breakups? On Monday she welcomed Nicole Kidman, ex-wife of famous couch-jumper Tom Cruise, to chat about life with hubby Keith Urban and baby Sunday Rose, and her new movie Australia coming out later this month. Well, if Oprah had and twinges of uneasiness they didn’t show. Oprah’s cup runneth over with enthusiasm for the Nicole Kidman/Hugh Jackman/Baz Luhrman flick, gushing all over the specially-decorated Australia-esque set and calling it the best movie she’s seen in a long time. Nicole seemed well, if not a little stiff, but that may just be the (alleged) Botox. But when Oprah brought out Hugh Jackman, all estrogen-fueled hell broke loose. The ladies giggled and squealed over his shirtless scenes in the movie clips, and as if his rippling abs weren’t enough, Hugh brought the audience cookies. Cookies! Tim Tams from Down Under, which both he and Nicole agreed were the best their country has to offer. (Note to Tim Tams: load up the ship and haul some more boxes over to the States. Oprah likes them. We will now buy them.)

On Tuesday Dr. Oz came back. Yay! Where has he been? This time he tickled our girly side, showing us the science behind beauty and how to find healthy products that will purdy is up. He and his doctor cohorts started by scaring us with way-too-zoomed-in infrared images of sun-baked skin, swearing us off tanning beds for life. But fear not, much of this damage can be undone, and the docs were forthcoming with the secrets. First, a gentle cleaner. Next exfoliate. Finally, pick a moisturizer with antioxidants and vitamins C, E and A. But instead of sending us to Walgreens to scour the aisles, they bestowed their picks then and there: CeraVe or Oil of Olay to cleanse, Alpha Hydrox (Wasn’t that big circa ’95?) for exfoliation and Olay Regenerist, Clinique or Bobbi Brown to moisturize. Sold. Want healthy, shiny hair? Skip the Pantene and install a charcoal filter in your shower head. To prevent bunions, avoid pinchy high heels. (But Oprah already knew that.) For lots more tips, of course, buy Dr. Oz’s new book, YOU Being Beautiful.

2008_11_14oprahwatch2.jpgOprah kept the self-improvement rolling on Wednesday by helping us organize our houses, and of course, in turn, our souls. She had her resident de-clutter expert Peter Walsh actually show up unannounced to strangers houses to see if they were interested in having the Oprah crew clean up their lives. Of course they were. First trick in banishing clutter: if you haven’t touched it (whatever "it" is: clothes, kitchenware, family heirlooms) in 12 months, pitch it. (Or recycle or donate it.) Second, keep like items together so you don’t forget what you own and buy the same things over and over. This show was about more than just keeping things tidy. As Peter put it, “It’s about creating a space that nurtures you, and if that’s not home, where is it?” Peter went on to teach us that if your life is disorganized, unfocused and lacks motivation, so will your surroundings. After this show we reported to the closet immediately to clean it out, but then realized we were out of trash bags and the vacuum didn’t work, so we returned to the couch. For the more motivated among us, pledge to lead a clutter-free life here.

2008_11_14oprahwatch3.JPGOn Thursday Oprah’s good buddy Jennifer Aniston came to visit, and while we’re sure she was hoping to get by on witty banter and shameless promotion of Marley & Me, “poor Jen” was not so lucky. Her Vogue cover began to circle this week and the “what Angelina did was very uncool” remark was all abuzz. Suddenly wishing that quote was not the subtitle of the article, Jen found herself addressing the Brangelina issue for about the millionth time. Still, our favorite “Friend” handled the questioning with grace, reminding us all that her divorce was about 100 years ago. Oprah quickly moved onto more light-hearted, guffaw-filled conversation about Jen’s relationship with John Mayer, her Duncan Hines cake-baking skills and their collective love of dogs. Once girl-next-door time ended, it was time for things to get a little more Sasha Fierce! Beyoncé rolled onto the stage her usual dignified, gorgeous, grateful self and said all the right things to make us even more in awe of her than we thought possible. But then she told us that while she’s not a whiz in the kitchen she’s the “master of Hamburger Helper,” and we found her a little more relatable. For like a second.

On Friday, Oprah will step away from the glory that was Obama’s election to address last Tuesday’s dirty little secret: Prop 8. Props to Oprah.