Today, December 6th, 2010: Jonathan Franzen appears on Oprah. And I'm liveblogging it.
3:59 pm: The teaser has a hug! Oprah says they've never met before, but it seems like they have. Nice suit, Franzen!
4pm: Michael Jackson was friends with some unappealing, wan family from New Jersey, which will occupy the first half of the episode.
4:10pm: A nook commercial! Haven't seen one of those before.
4:17pm: The Cascio family are a bunch of nice-seeming Italian-Americans from Jersey. The mom made MJ pasta during their 25-year secret friendship. I wonder if Jonathan Franzen has a suburban family he's secretly friends with. "So you were just a little boy when he came to the house," Oprah would say. "He made me wear his glasses and then he read Peanuts to us," Jr. would say.
4:28pm: Commercial break. No mention of Franzen in tens of minutes! There is yet another guest on to talk about Michael Jackson. I was going to say something sarcastic about our greatest living author being upstaged by a dead popstar, but it turns out I'm genuinely disappointed.
4:35pm: Oprah just did that weird bellow/cheer thing: "We'll be right back with Jonathan Franzen and FreeDOOOOOOOOOM!" Her yelling made me very excited!
4:37pm: My glasses are on!
4:39pm: Oprah says, "Our next guest is someone I've waited a long time to finally meet," and the audience cracks UP.
Before Franzen sits down, they do a little montage that totally glossed over the controversey! There is no mention whatsoever of any of his remarks or the fact that he derailed her bookclub!
Franzen arrives, in jeans and a blazer, looking nervous. Is he wearing tinted glasses? I guess he met Obama?
Oprah asks him about meeting the President, and what it's like to be on the cover of Time. Oooh, she just said, "We have a little history."
"You voiced some concerns at the time," Oprah said, saying she didn't invite him on the show because she didn't want to make him feel uncomfortable. She says she had to reread the press clips ro remember hwat happened.Franzen said, "One could be encouraged to forget." Franzen blames speaking in long sentences and says he now has more respect for the power of television.
Oprah says she didn't cance the book club. Which is not true. Asks Franzen if he's a snob. "I'm a midwestern egalitarian," he says. Blames the accelarated mediascape for misunderstanding of his remarks.
4:49pm: Oprah asks Franzen what his process is. When I saw him at the Boston Public Library, he refused to answer a process question, telling the lady who asked it, "That's a lousy question." Oprah gets a pass -- Franzen says he goes to a cold office to pay attention to things that make him uncomfortable. Writing!
4:52pm: Oprah and Franzen agree that money doesn't buy happiness, just minutes before they wrap up and roll around in piles and piles of money.