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Oprah: America's Life Coach

By Ali Trachta in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 20, 2009 10:13PM

Ever since Oprah told us circa 1998 that we had the power to change our lives by the year 2000, she's come up with various programs over the past decade to help us do so, culminating with this year's Best Life Series. Today the Sun-Times took a look back at some of Oprah's self-improvement workshops that have sought to pull us out of our collective doldrums. Recaps the S-T, she gave us:

• • Get Real Challenge (2001) -- Forty-two people locked in a room for five days with Dr. Phil McGraw resulted in Oprah's 10-show "Get Real Challenge."

McGraw used tough talk to suss out participants like Julie, who claimed she didn't know her husband was a child molester.

"How the hell do you live in a house and not know that somebody is preying upon your children? Answer me," Dr. Phil demanded.

• • Your Wildest Dreams (2004) -- Oprah played dream-maker for everyman and celebrity alike with a little help from a dazzling "Wildest Dreams" bus that roamed America.

"Desperate Housewives" star Felicity Huffman lived her dream of singing backup for Tina Turner. ("It felt like a race car. It was like great sex!") And every member of her studio audience one lucky day drove away in a new car.

• • America's Debt Diet (2006) -- Oprah might have more than enough cash to cover her credit-card bills, but that's not the case with many of her fans. So she put us on a debt diet, helping us track spending, pay down high-interest charges and get out of debt.

• • Clean Up Your Messy House Tour (2008) -- After years of helping us clear our emotional clutter, Oprah and "Clutter Crew" leader Peter Walsh clean out piles of clothes, toys and tchotkes from some of America's nastiest-looking living areas.

If we followed closely enough, by now we should be conscientious, debt-free, spiritual souls living out our wildest dreams in uncluttered houses. Hmm. Clearly we need a tutor.