I watched the kick off of Oprah’s Big Give show on Sunday night.  If you missed it, you still can check it out at www.abc.com/fullepisodes.  I must say the notion of a “charity game show” by Oprah intrigued me.  While I don’t regularly watch Oprah’s show, I do believe Oprah does a lot of good generally – she addresses many important issues on her show, is a great philanthropist herself, and has really helped make personal development (especially for women) a much more mainstream endeavor.  However, I must say I was disappointed.  The show had pre-selected beneficiaries for the show’s giving activities.  Most of the beneficiaries had experienced true heartache due to their traumatic life experiences – however, the story of young doctor that owed over $200K in student loans from medical school who wants to do good work with kids, however worthy, seemed a little out of place compared to some of the other stories to me – widow of a murdered husband, homeless woman and her two children, a disabled veteran, and a mother working with the developmentally disabled because her own son had been born with Down’s Syndrome.

The contestants were a varied group of “regular” folks and were clearly thrilled to be participating.  However, the whole team competition thing seemed contrived to me – watching team members squabble with each other over the best way to do things as part of their giving challenge seemed a little unnecessary.  I guess it was meant to add interest and hype…?  Didn’t work that way for me.  And what really qualified these three people to be judges?  I am left wondering.

I understand this show is really entertainment – that also does good.  However, some subtle education woven in about effective giving to really change lives for the long term, perhaps through the judges’ comments, would have been great.  Maybe in later episodes on another challenge?  We’ll see.  And why not highlight some of the business philanthropy that was also included in support of various teams’ efforts?  Oprah herself could have done some little 1 minute pitch about supporting local nonprofits or people in need at the very end of the show.  I was left wanting just a little something more!

The show went for tears and a heart connection with us, the audience.  But did we learn anything?  Will it inspire each of us to show up differently and give back?  Seems like a huge missed opportunity to me!