Harry and Meghan raised big issues and reminded us how we watch TV.
It’s been called the interview that changed the world. And it’s made its mark on a few patios as well.
When Harry and Meghan talked to Oprah this week, they covered issues that have caused them pain and raised important concerns welcomed as overdue for airing by many non-white Britons.
But the interview also brought joy to others, like former actor Christopher Knight whose furniture company, Christopher Knight Brands, sells the wicker and acacia outdoor furniture the trio perched on for their chat. The company’s US$555 suite sold out overnight on sites like Overstock and Amazon.
Mr Knight said he was honored to have his chairs chosen for the most “fascinating famous sit down in recent history”.
“It would appear Meghan and Prince Harry got ‘Knighted’ in a way I never anticipated,” he said.
As American viewers hung on Oprah’s exploration of the issues they simultaneously pondered an answer for their patio problem. Given the chairs’ occupants, they might have been surprised at the reasonable price.
This opens new horizons for product placement. But it also reveals a truth about TV. You think people are hanging on your every word when in fact they are querying your choice of home decoration or the colour of your tie.
For the rich and famous it’s a welcome reminder of their relative importance: people might seem engrossed in the lives of celebrities, but they are reliably more caught up in their own.
Writing in the Guardian, columnist Marina Hyde identified another truth about the interview. For all the outpourings it attracts, royal dysfunction is addictive. It is highly entertaining.
Going back to the abdication of a British king in the 1930s, also following a relationship with an American, she quotes writers of the time who dismissed anguished claims of a national trauma. They instead saw the scandal as a delight.
“What the public is feeling is a sense of great drama, not at all unpleasant,” said one.
And if they’d only had television, they would have done a little light shopping at the same time.