Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Ellen Show Not-Reviewed, But Marking A Historical Milestone: The Puppy Episode

So as it turns out today (well, roughly today, apologies for being a day late because the RDMAs ended up taking longer than I thought) marks the 20th anniversary of the airing of The Ellen Show episode "The Puppy Episode," where Ellen's character had come out as gay (of course, the actress herself had come out as openly gay very shortly afterwards). It was a different time then than it is now where, frankly, it really does seem that the sexuality of an actor is not earth-shaking at least. But it was back then, and fortunately it seems history has borne out in very positive ways.

Some of you might know Shipping Wars Are Stupid from, and he was terrific enough to do this guest tribute for us, which is presented below (yeah, please nevermind the stupid formatting):

Twenty years ago, the history of television and culture changed forever with two simple words."I'm gay."Ellen was a sitcom on ABC, starring Ellen DeGeneres, David Anthony Higgins, Clea Lewis, Jeremy Piven and Joely Fisher. It aired from 1994-1998.On April 30, 1997, in what's known as "The Puppy Episode," 42 million people tuned in to see Ellen come out. In the episode, Ellen meets a television producer Susan, played by Laura Dern. Ellen is taken to Susan but struggled with why she couldn't feel the same way about her college friend Richard. In the end, Ellen came out to Susan and television changed forever.Sounds good, right?But twenty years ago, it was still very taboo to be gay. What happened?Threats were made against the station and the stars. Sponsors pulled advertising and a couple stations refused to show the episode at all.Ellen was cancelled about a year later-the show's focus shifted into gay issues and that wasn't okay with America.Laura Dern? You might remember her most from Jurassic Park. She didn't work again for a year-and-a-half after this episode aired.Today, Ellen is one of the most popular celebrities in the world. With 67 million followers on Twitter, the voice of one of the most beloved animated characters of all-time, the number one daytime talk show in the country and a Medal of Freedom recipient, everyone knows who Ellen is.We've come a long way in this country. In the past five years, Maine became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage. The courts nationwide started listening. And then they realized love is love.But we're nowhere close to where we should be.You can still be fired in over half of the United States for being gay.Many businesses refuse service to gay patrons and far too many people are mistreated for being gay. It happens all day. Every day.Not to mention how far the rest of the world still needs to come where in many countries in Africa and the Middle East, you can be killed for being gay.Thank you Ellen for your courage and your sacrifices.You've changed so much and this country has come so far because of what people like you have fought for.


  1. Shipping Wars Are StupidMay 2, 2017 at 2:56 PM

    Thanks Unknown.

    I should add that Maine was the first to legalize gay marriage by popular vote-which I am very proud of.

    1. You're welcome, and I thought I added it in there, sorry!

  2. You posted SWAS's tribute twice here, just so you know.


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