In pleasanter anniversary news...
September 12, 2014 6:57 AM   Subscribe

Hey, remember when Oprah gave everyone in her audience a new car (previously)? It was ten years ago tomorrow.
posted by Small Dollar (64 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 


Ach. Was not in before bees.
posted by ursus_comiter at 7:06 AM on September 12, 2014 [9 favorites]


It's weird how the "You get a car!" has become such an ingrained part of syntax in the United States.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:07 AM on September 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


(No pressure, Matt.)
posted by wenestvedt at 7:07 AM on September 12, 2014 [20 favorites]


St. Peepsburg: That GIF was captured from a Conan O'Brien skit (SLYT) :^)
posted by surazal at 7:07 AM on September 12, 2014 [10 favorites]


Yeah I was going to link to the youtube, but for some reason the gif is much more funny (to me at least). Maybe it's the choppy playback?
posted by St. Peepsburg at 7:08 AM on September 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


Hey, that was nothing compared to the time Oprah gave everyone in her audience a man.
posted by orange swan at 7:09 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Famous rich person, cars, TV, people in need, advertising, taxes. It's so America.
posted by R. Mutt at 7:14 AM on September 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


Maybe it's cause I don't drive but going everyone a car seems like "here, have this potentially huge financial burden!" I guess they delivered to thier house? Like hiw exactly does the car giving process work? What's that like on tax day?
posted by The Whelk at 7:14 AM on September 12, 2014


(never mind I should have RTFA)
posted by The Whelk at 7:15 AM on September 12, 2014 [7 favorites]


When I win a really big lottery I''ll give everyone posting on this thread a car.
posted by sammyo at 7:19 AM on September 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


The tax burden thing is something I've also wondered about with The Price is Right. You win a (market value) $4,000 vacation to the Bahamas, and you have to pay gift taxes on that, right? I've always thought that unless I desperately needed whatever I'd won, I would just craigslist it to cover the gift taxes plus a little extra.
posted by codacorolla at 7:21 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Seems more like 20 years ago.
posted by spitbull at 7:21 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


That stunt pretty much typified everything I dislike about Oprah. Self-serving corporate promotion wrapped up in feel-good rich-person beneficence that winds up costing the recipients more than it helps them.
posted by xingcat at 7:22 AM on September 12, 2014 [15 favorites]


The Daily Show did a bit on everyone getting stuck with the tax bill: You get a 1044! You get a 1044!
posted by Flashman at 7:22 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Well, actually, if it typified everything I disliked about Oprah, it would somehow also involve Dr. Oz telling everyone that the cars cured cancer.
posted by xingcat at 7:23 AM on September 12, 2014 [31 favorites]


I won a trip to Vegas once. You have to add the value as miscellaneous income on your income taxes. It wasn't that much more taxes for me, but if you were really broke it might be a problem.
posted by interplanetjanet at 7:26 AM on September 12, 2014


When I win a really big lottery I''ll give everyone posting on this thread a car.

Can I have a really nice road bike instead?
posted by entropicamericana at 7:27 AM on September 12, 2014 [9 favorites]


man, even ten years later there is still so much controversy about this. Every comment I wrote and deleted, from "gift horse" to "it's not like they were forced to accept it", all struck me as something that must have been said 100 times already.
posted by rebent at 7:27 AM on September 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Can I have a really nice road bike instead?

I'd just settle for a nice french press, mine's busted.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:29 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


> Can I have a really nice road bike instead?

It wasn't until I was well into middle age that I owned a car that cost more than my bicycle.

So until he says what cars he's giving away I can control my enthusiasm.
posted by ardgedee at 7:31 AM on September 12, 2014


When I win a really big lottery I''ll give everyone posting on this thread a car.

I just want the monetary equivalent, thanks. Money's the gift no money can buy.
posted by orange swan at 7:31 AM on September 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


It's like being a bicyclist in a talk show world designed for car drivers.
posted by Kabanos at 7:32 AM on September 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


I mean, worst case scenario you can just list the car for like $7,000 dollars and get a buyer for it immediately. In that case Oprah has just given you $1,000 for a little bit of work, a trip to the DMV, and slightly more complicated tax returns. Although, would you also have to pay taxes on the amount that you sold the car for, in addition to the gift? My tax returns aren't ever more complicated than filling in a few boxes and hitting print, so this whole "having possessions that you can sell for more than 15 dollars" business is foreign to me.
posted by codacorolla at 7:36 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


x in anticipation of sammyo's lottery win. i favor toyota tacoma 4x4s
posted by bruce at 7:36 AM on September 12, 2014


Money's the gift no money can buy.

Actually, given that we have a debt based economy, money has a price too (the federal funds rate). But then again, the bank bailouts: the federal gov'ts Oprah moment. (You get to be an oligarch, you get to be an oligarch, very few of you get to be oligarchs!)
posted by dis_integration at 7:37 AM on September 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


The "everyone gets a man" thing actually reminds me of a really sweet thing I saw on one of her earlier shows from the 80's, right after she first went national. She didn't have a guest, she turned the whole show over to the audience - she invited people to come up to the mikes she had set up and just "share some good news." Whatever good thing happened to them, she was giving them a platform. Go nuts!

And one of the first people to get up to the mike was a fresh-faced guy in his early 20's, who just wanted to share that he was just out of college and new to Chicago - he'd just moved there that week, had his first apartment, and was about to go off job hunting - and he was just really, really excited to be jumping in and beginning his life, and wanted to let everyone in his family know "I'm ready to go and I'm happy." It was adorable.

But then about five minutes later someone else at the mike said "I'm not here with good news, I just got up to say - hey, kid, you that's just moved here? I like your gumption. Come talk to me after the show and we'll set up a job interview for you." And the kid was blown away, and everyone was happy. And then five minutes after that, another guy at the mike said "you know what, come talk to me too, I'll give you an interview at my company too."

And then five minutes after that, a young woman at the mike shyly said, "well, this isn't a job interview, but - that guy who's new in town? You're kinda cute, come see me after the show and if you want, we can get coffee or something."

By the end of the show, that kid had a total of three job offers, a girl's number, an invitation to join a dodgeball league, and the biggest grin I'd seen in a long time.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:39 AM on September 12, 2014 [47 favorites]


> The tax burden thing is something I've also wondered about with The Price is Right. You win a (market value) $4,000 vacation to the Bahamas, and you have to pay gift taxes on that, right?

On game shows and certain promotional giveaways the merchandise prizes -- especially the kind-of-pointless prizes like a year's supply of Corn Flakes -- can usually be exchanged for cash equivalents instead.

> I mean, worst case scenario you can just list the car for like $7,000 dollars and get a buyer for it immediately.

That requires a measure of planning and willingness to accept delayed and diminished rewards, which are going to be harder to swallow at the moment you're living on a marginal income and were just given something more valuable than anything you've ever had.
posted by ardgedee at 7:39 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


That stunt pretty much typified everything I dislike about Oprah. Self-serving corporate promotion wrapped up in feel-good rich-person beneficence that winds up costing the recipients more than it helps them.

The fake feel-good thing was why I was never able to stand more than a few minutes of her show. She is personally clearly smart and interesting, but as entertainment it didn't work for me at all.

If you were poor I don't see how you could avoid selling the car, but like the article says otherwise it was a $28k car for $6000. Even for a Pontiac that's a good deal.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:53 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


orange swan: "When I win a really big lottery I''ll give everyone posting on this thread a car.

I just want the monetary equivalent, thanks. Money's the gift no money can buy.
"

Hahaha, wrong. Throw it into some investments and you learn what the rich know mo money = mo mo money.
posted by symbioid at 7:58 AM on September 12, 2014


Let's be clear here, a Pontiac.
posted by Cosine at 7:59 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


You get a turtle! And you get a turtle!
posted by Sys Rq at 7:59 AM on September 12, 2014


Also - Bugatti Veyron, please.
posted by symbioid at 8:00 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


The tax burden thing is something I've also wondered about with The Price is Right. You win a (market value) $4,000 vacation to the Bahamas, and you have to pay gift taxes on that, right?

/PEDANT ALERT

Gift taxes are paid by the giver of the gift, not the recipient. You don't have to worry about the gift tax. (Even there, the lifetime exemption this year is $5,340,000, so for most of us, assuming the law doesn't change, it won't ever be an issue)

That won't help you though, because winnings are treated as income, not as a gift, and therefore taxed at whatever your current marginal income tax rate is (assuming you don't win so much you get kicked up a bracket).
posted by leotrotsky at 8:00 AM on September 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


During one of my shows, I once gave everyone in my audience a free vitamin. Free.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 8:05 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


(assuming you don't win so much you get kicked up a bracket).

Although it's also worth noting here that only income over the current bracket amount would be taxed at the higher rate. So the first $X of the car (so to speak) would be taxed at the lower rate, and the last $Y of the car would be taxed at the more severe rate.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:06 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's weird how the "You get a car!" has become such an ingrained part of syntax in the United States.

Yet, no one remembers the car or the company that put up the money.
posted by i_have_a_computer at 8:10 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


According to Buzzfeed you can't take cash equivalent for Price is Right prizes.

A prize winner did an AV Club interview, and she actually owed money in the end (well, before selling the prizes) due to taxes. Apparently Cal taxes have to be paid right away, and Federal taxes the next tax day.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:20 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yet, no one remembers the car or the company that put up the money.


Weirdly on reading that question but not yet the article, I did remember it was Pontiac.

That makes the sum total of my Pontiac knowledge this, my paternal grandparents owned one, and that boxy Aztek they gave away on an early season of Survivor.


BRANDING!
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:24 AM on September 12, 2014


prompting the best gif of all time

Beanplating a gif here, but that stage seems decorated for Christmas, I think that wasn't the "everyone gets a car!!" day, but the "It's Oprah's favorite things!!" show.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 8:26 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Who cares?!?! BEEEEEEEEEEEES!!!!
posted by blue_beetle at 8:28 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


I wonder how many of those crappy plastic Pontiacs are still running?
posted by octothorpe at 8:30 AM on September 12, 2014


When I win a really big lottery I''ll give everyone posting on this thread a car.

I'm pretty sure this is not going to happen, but just in case.
posted by jeather at 8:31 AM on September 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


By the end of the show, that kid had a total of three job offers, a girl's number, an invitation to join a dodgeball league, and the biggest grin I'd seen in a long time.

Yeah, but you wouldn't BELIEVE the tax burden on that grin.
posted by Itaxpica at 8:41 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Geez, reading the (previously) thread is kind of depressing. Lots of glass is half empty comments in there. I used to watch Oprah almost daily during the last few years of the show, and some days I rolled my eyes at her and some days were fun. Most of the "Oprah's favorite things" shows were really fun just from seeing all the people go batshit crazy at that start, when they realized what was going on. I would watch the show thinking about what I would do with everything if I was on the Favorite Things show myself. I'd give the TV to my uncle. Oooh, those face creams would make my sister happy. I really like that book. And so on.

I went to the Oprah show once when I visited my best friend in Chicago. It was a crappy, boring episode and the audience went home with the celebritie's book and a copy of O Magazine. Lame. The whole experience was fun anyway.

The way I see the everyone-gets-a-car!! thing is: people in need of a car went to the show expecting to maybe see Oprah interview some celebrity or talk about a new diet. Instead they came out with a new car. That's a win in my mind.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 9:05 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Tesla Model S, please.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 9:06 AM on September 12, 2014


>> When I win a really big lottery I''ll give everyone posting on this thread a car.

> I'm pretty sure this is not going to happen, but just in case.


You can't win if you don't comment.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:23 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


#neverforget
posted by raysmj at 9:24 AM on September 12, 2014


When I win a really big lottery I'll be thoughtful enough to not laden you all with tax burdens.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:27 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


While I have no evidence to back this up, my guess is that while the Oprah Winfrey show on an "episode-by-episode" perspective may very well have been hack commercialism, I think Oprah as a woman and as a phenomenon triggered some sort of cultural and social revolution similar to what shows like the Simpsons did for TV or bands like the Beatles did for music.

I see Oprah as not only overcoming adversity, but whipping it down, putting a collar on it and forcing it to show its belly and cry uncle.

A survivor of poverty, racism, and abuse, she let us know that we were not at fault when tragedy and injustice came our way. I mean, before Oprah, did people openly talk about things like this in such a personal way, allowing themselves to be vulnerable to the world?

She Got people to read more, and talk about reading. And before you criticize the quality of the literature or audience, let me say that it doesn't matter - in fact this is how I interpreted Oprah's message compared to all the other daytime and night time talkshow hosts out there - it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from - homemaker from the MidWest, executive from the East Coast, cowboy from the south - whoever you are, you are a good person, deserving of all the opportunities life has to offer you.

While America's commercial, athletic, and (sadly) military successes raised the collective self-esteem of its denizens, I can't think of any other person responsible for having an influence on the individual self esteem of so many people.
posted by bitteroldman at 9:32 AM on September 12, 2014 [20 favorites]



I commented.
posted by Jalliah at 9:52 AM on September 12, 2014


Hey sammyo, thanks for the traffic!
posted by Small Dollar at 9:55 AM on September 12, 2014


When I win a really big lottery I''ll give everyone posting on this thread a car.

Clever use of weasel words there.
posted by ogooglebar at 10:03 AM on September 12, 2014


sammyo: "When I win a really big lottery I''ll give everyone posting on this thread a car."

count me in!
posted by arkham_inmate_0801 at 10:19 AM on September 12, 2014


When I win a really big lottery I''ll give everyone posting on this thread a car.

I'll take Pascal's Wager on this one.
posted by sparklemotion at 10:35 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Can I have a really nice road bike instead?

I'd just settle for a nice french press, mine's busted.


I'd be OK with a hug.

Unless you got swag to give away, then I'll take that.
posted by Panjandrum at 10:39 AM on September 12, 2014


I'd like to win an intimate hug in a car that doesn't end with "we make better friends than lovers"
posted by Annika Cicada at 10:44 AM on September 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


Yeah, this didn't really help GM much. I'm pretty sure it was over a year later before I even heard what model of car was given away, and I don't think that being on a daytime talk show really jived with the "We build excitement" image that Pontiac was trying to cultivate around itself.
posted by ckape at 10:57 AM on September 12, 2014


I hear Matt is taking daily baths in his new olympic sized pool filled with all the cash from our recently ramped up recurring contributions. I think it's only fair that there should be free cars for all of us. Or, at least, free ponies since they do technically qualify as an alternative means of transportation.

Make it happen!
posted by Hairy Lobster at 11:24 AM on September 12, 2014


When I win a really big lottery I''ll give everyone posting on this thread a car.

Make mine electric!
posted by rabbitrabbit at 12:26 PM on September 12, 2014


This is the most realistic scenario where I get a Lamborghini.
posted by Monochrome at 1:32 PM on September 12, 2014


When I win a really big lottery I''ll give everyone posting on this thread a car.

.

(for posterity!)
posted by ramix at 3:24 PM on September 12, 2014


I don't drive. Can I get a lifetime supply of transit passes instead?
posted by NMcCoy at 3:54 PM on September 12, 2014


"i'd like to win an intimate hug in a car that doesn't end with 'we make better friends than lovers'"

that's called "auto-eroticism"
posted by bruce at 4:44 PM on September 12, 2014


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