Today I Learned: Oprah Winfrey's Infamous Car Giveaway Actually Ended Poorly For The Winners

Maybe don't accept any gifts from Oprah any more, just in case.

Oprah Winfrey has has been the source of many iconic television moments over the last decade (ahem, Tom Cruise). But arguably the all-time unforgettable moment she has given us is the infamous “you get a car!” bit.

It was back in 2004 and Oprah wanted to kick off the 19th season of her show with a bang, and what better way to do that than to give a bunch of cars away to her audience?

According to the Making Oprah: The Inside Story of a TV Revolution podcast, Oprah’s BFF Gayle King sat next to an executive from the Pontiac car company, After much discussion, Pontiac ultimately struck up a deal to gift a brand new car to the 267 studio audience members attending Oprah’s show.

After much behind-the-scenes work – which included subtly finding audience members who genuinely needed new cars via cheeky survey questions -, the “you get a car!” moment was born and the internet was gifted one of the all-time great memes.

But as it turns out, Oprah’s free gift wasn’t exactly, uh, “free.”

The show paid the sales tax and registration for each of the 267 cars but not the “gift tax,” which is a “complicated” but legit “thing” according to producer Lisa Erspamer.

This meant everyone who received a car from Oprah had to pay tax on it and it wasn’t cheap either as it cost audience members up to $7,000USD (about $10,400AUD) depending on their tax bracket. Unsurprisingly, people weren’t too happy that their “free” car was going to set them back several thousand dollars.

The show’s producers tried to smooth things over by offering audience members to choice of taking cash for the car if they didn’t want to pay the gift tax, but that didn’t stop some ungrateful people from having a whinge to the press about it.

Not only did Oprah and her team had to deal with disgrunted (and greedy) audience members after her little car giveaway, Erspamers says producing shows after that episode was tough because everyone wanted cars after that.

So next time you happen to be a studio audience member for a TV show and you get gifted a free car, it’s almost certainly too good to be true. And if you get the option to take the cash if you don’t want to pay sales tax, just take it and be grateful, unlike Oprah’s audience members.

Captain Planet Wasn't Just About The Environment, It Also Taught Kids About AIDS

Captain Planet was more than just an environmental hero.

When you think of Captain Planet and the Planeteers, the images that come up usually revolve around saving the environment, some weird pollution-based villains, a bunch of diverse teenagers with rings, and an overly optimistic superhero who looks like he’s been polished with far too much wax.

What you don’t think of is “man, that TV show really taught me a lot about AIDS, huh?”

Well here’s the thing, Captain Planet actually eschewed the usual environmental angle for one episode and instead focused it entirely on raising awareness about AIDS.

Gonna bring the spreading of false AIDS info down to zero!

Titled ‘A Formula For Hate,’ the Captain Planet episode aired back in 1992 and revolves around a student, Todd Andrews (voiced by Neil Patrick Harris!) who has been diagnosed as being HIV-positive. After the baddies get into the town’s medical records (for some reason) and discover his illness, they get the entire town turn on Todd by spreading false information about AIDS.

After the main characters combined their ring powers and summoned Captain Planet to beat up the baddies (again), he steps in on Todd’s behalf and delivers a straight up PSA about AIDS/HIV to the town. Everyone learns about the disease, Todd is accepted by everyone again and all is well once more.

It was one of the very first episodes of children’s television to deal with a topic like AIDS/HIV – in fact, Captain Planet was one of the first TV shows period – and was groundbreaking stuff back in the day. Pretty unexpected from a show that usually focuses on the environment.

Back in 1992, AIDS was still painted by society as some mystery illness that’s associated with homosexuality. Nuanced, thoughtful conversations about AIDS were a no go since people were uninformed, not to mention the fact that no one wanted to be in the same room with someone who had the illness.

It was a terrible time for people with the disease and no one had thought to educate the public until the people behind Captain Planet decided to combat all the negative stigma associated with AIDS by doing an educational episode on it.

Sure Captain Planet was campy but ‘A Formula For Hate’ was an important step in educating children (and adults) about AIDS and it remains one of the most groundbreaking moments in television.

Lizzo Knocking Back Frankie Muniz's Thirsty Shot Proves She's 100% That Bitch

Well at least he shot his shot.

It’s no secret that the GOAT team love Lizzo, her music and everything she does (well, mostly). But there’s such thing as liking someone too much and Frankie Muniz proved what happens when you combine that with Twitter and an unhealthy amount of thirst.

It began when Agent Cody Banks got himself worked up and decided in his infinite wisdom to send Lizzo a full-on thirst tweet that could cause a flood.

Look, it’s one thing to slide into someone’s DMs but it’s another to go unfiltered horny on main. And that’s not even taking into account the whole wanting Lizzo to make him her purse bit.

Graciously requesting to be someone’s purse is arguably one of the more unique ways of expressing your not-so-secret thirst but doesn’t seem like it’s one of those “former child star” meltdowns.

Okay, he’s had a few health issues that include concussion-related memory issues but when you take into account his lifestyle of race car driving, being a drummer in a rock band and, uh, being a Dancing on the Stars contestant, unashamedly frothing over Lizzo by offering to house her stuff in the form of a subservient inanimate object doesn’t seem that farfetched on the “Frankie Muniz shenanigans” scale.

After catching wind of Frankie’s horny on main moment, she responded in the only way that’s appropriate for a situation like this:

Looks like her twerk skills aren’t the only thing that’s up on legendary.

It’s hard to discern what Frankie Muniz was trying achieve by publicly declaring how horny he is for Lizzo but massive props to the guy for shooting his shot and seeing what happens.

Having said that, we’re pretty certain Lizzo’s been inundated with offers from people offering to be her purse or accessorary so best of luck to Frankie on his endeavour to be a personal handbag.

Pop-up Channel

Follow Us