Celebrity mania struck Eugene today as over a hundred cold, sopping wet students amassed in front of the EMU Amphitheater with hopes that they would catch a glimpse of Ellen D. Unfortunately for most, she was a no show just like on the Berkeley, CA campus earlier this week. However, she did tempt her loyal fans to do her bidding with the promise of new Samsung phones and an opportunity to be on her show. Aaron Pinkston, who defined his role as “Ellen’s on-air talent” (or announcer for those not versed in TV talk-show lingo) was made into a semi-celebrity today by doing nothing more than standing in front of a camera and documenting the screams of UO students. By the end of the spectacle, the crowd was chanting “Aaron, Aaron!” as he addressed the crowd.
In the relay of information before the climax of free phones, Ellen and her representatives made a valiant effort to keep the rumor of her presence on the hush-hush. Thirty minutes prior, one of the cameramen standing suspiciously under a tent outside the Fishbowl swore that he was an “independent film maker” and had no idea regarding the growing hype. Finally after seeking out someone that looked professional, Mike from UO Tech Support disclosed before boarding an elevator that earlier that day Ellen’s crew had “put in applications for parking permits.” With that, the rumor was substantiated.
In terms of what students thought, there were mixed reactions. A young man that went by the name of Finnius Gage exclaimed that all he knew about Ellen was that “she is a lesbian and she is boring.” An excited girl named Alyssa pleaded that she “just wanted to see her” and that she “loved her very much.” Upon eavesdropping on a random conversation, a student that looked mildly informed proclaimed that “anybody who is expecting to see her is going to be disappointed.” It turned out that this somber undergraduate was right; she didn’t show. However, the Big E was essentially there in spirit, and considering the size of the gathering crowd, it could have been anyone’s guess.
The way people crowded around the TV crew made it seem like they themselves were the celebrities. The tension in the air was so high nearing four o’clock that one could almost expect the crew to pull DeGeneres out of a hat. Shortly after four, her show finally aired and the audio was played over loudspeakers for all to hear. Finally, the contestants received the critical information: find Ellen a bar of soap for whatever reason and they would win free merchandise. So off they ran, temporarily suspending all of the nonsense they had learned in class that day to find a bar of soap. After all, what better way to show that a TV Talking Head cares more than enlisting college students in a scavenger hunt for hygiene products?
Poor college students may have been the real winners today, but Ellen’s show’s ratings more than likely saw some stimulation due to the fiasco. What is the moral of this story you ask? Even with the promise of ratings and appeasing devoted fans, a little Eugene rain will keep most Californian hot shots in California…for better or worse, of course.