Ellen (TV series)

Ellen (TV series)

Infobox Television
show_name = Ellen

caption = "Ellen" season 3 DVD cover
format = Sitcom
camera = Multi-camera
runtime = Approximately 22 minutes
starring = Ellen DeGeneres Joely Fisher Jeremy Piven David Anthony Higgins Clea Lewis Arye Gross Holly Fulger Maggie Wheeler
opentheme = "So Called Friend"
country = USA
network = ABC
first_aired = March 29, 1994
last_aired = July 22, 1998
num_seasons = 5
num_episodes = 109
imdb_id = 0108761
tv_com_id = 490

"Ellen" (originally titled "These Friends of Mine" for season one) is a U.S. television sitcom which ran on the ABC network from March 29, 1994 to July 22, 1998, producing 109 episodes.

The theme song, "So-Called Friend" is by Scottish band Texas. An ongoing gag was that each episode had a distinct opening credits sequence, resulting from Ellen's ongoing search for the perfect opening credits.

The title role of Ellen Morgan, played by stand-up comedian Ellen DeGeneres, was a neurotic bookstore owner in her thirties. The series centered around Ellen dealing with her quirky friends, her family and the problems of daily life.

The show was not connected to "The Ellen Show", which was Ellen DeGeneres' second sitcom which ran in 2001-2002.


*List of Ellen episodes


Reruns of the show first started airing on Lifetime in the fall of 1999, and stopped in 2001. Starting October 4, 2003, during DeGeneres' surge in popularity through her role in "Finding Nemo" and her new daytime talk show, Lifetime began airing reruns again, on 1AM-2AM ET Sunday mornings, starting with the second season. Before long, it went into the 1:30AM-2AM ET time slot Monday-Friday. The reruns stopped two episodes into the controversial final season. Oxygen then picked up the entire series to air starting October 4, 2004, daily at midnight and noon ET. As of June 18, 2007, the show continues to air 8AM-11AM ET Monday mornings in the US. Reruns of the show in the UK were until recently on ABC1 until the channel closed in September 2007. These were shown only on weekend mornings, along with other Touchstone Pictures productions. No other UK channels are currently airing the show.

Coming out episode

In 1997, "Ellen" made television history when Ellen, the character, came out as a lesbian in the famous "Puppy Episode." (DeGeneres herself had come out earlier that year on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and in "TIME".) To ensure a memorable moment, the coming out scene was made into a gag where, at an airport, Ellen turns and tells Laura Dern "I'm gay!" - only to realize that she had turned right into the intercom microphone, announcing her sexuality to the entire terminal. Ellen DeGeneres' mother Betty can briefly be seen as one of the people in the terminal with a shocked reaction to the announcement.

The revelation ignited a storm of controversy, prompting ABC to place a parental advisory at the beginning of each episode.

"Ellen" was successful enough in its early seasons to warrant annual renewal, due largely to DeGeneres' perceived appeal and comic ability, but it was never a huge critical or ratings success. Only with Ellen's coming out did the show make its way into the wide public consciousness and hit a critical plateau. However, after the initial coming out frenzy the show's ratings declined somewhat and ABC began feeling the pain of an organized backlash from religious conservative groups regarding the "gay content" being exhibited. While the final episodes of "Ellen" were also widely criticized for focusing too much on gay issues [ [http://www.jumptheshark.com/topic/ellen-general-comments/605 Ellen in Jump The Shark] ] -- a criticism begun in anti-gay circles but which spread to the mainstream media. Eventually, even some members of the gay community, such as GLAAD media director Chastity Bono, began to criticize the show's tone as well. [ [http://www.planetout.com/entertainment/news/?sernum=544 Planet Out] ] Soon after, ABC pulled the show from the air in May 1998 after five seasons.


Note - The initial season of the show featured several characters that disappeared without explanation.

Ellen Morgan (Ellen DeGeneres)

Ellen Inez Morgan is the main character of the sitcom. In season one, Ellen works in a Los Angeles bookstore called "Buy the Book." In the second season, she purchases the bookstore from her boss and becomes its owner. Throughout season four, hints were made to her sexuality and near the end of the season in "The Puppy Episode," Ellen announced she was a lesbian. For the first four seasons, Ellen lived in an apartment with roommate Adam and later with her cousin Spence. Towards the end of season four, she bought her own house.

Ellen's personality was likeable and cheerful, also somewhat clumsy and awkward, and with a persistent need to be liked. Her trademark behavior (and the main object of her comedy) was that she would digress in a rambling and babbling fashion, especially when nervous or embarrassed. An example of both her clumsiness and her need to please is found in the episode where she had Martha Stewart over for Thanksgiving Dinner and Ellen became highly stressed trying to organize the perfect dinner.

Paige Clark (Joely Fisher)

Appearing in seasons two through five, Paige is Ellen's somewhat neurotic, vain and promiscuous best friend who works for a movie studio. Paige planned to tie the knot with her boyfriend Matt, but dumped him at the altar after beginning an affair with Ellen's cousin Spence. When Ellen comes out of the closet, Paige has the hardest time dealing with it (even harder than Ellen's parents). In the fifth season, Paige finally comes to terms with it.

Holly (Holly Fulger)

Appearing only in the first season, including the two delayed episodes that aired during season three, Holly is Ellen's friend. She's somewhat bashful.

Adam Green (Arye Gross)

Adam appears in the first three seasons. He is Ellen's roommate and they have been friends since college. Adam is a photographer who is totally unsuccessful with women and is frequently dumped. In season three Adam moves to England to work as a photographer for "The Sun Times", but upon his departure, he reveals that he was harboring a crush on Ellen.

Joe Farrell (David Anthony Higgins)

Joe is a Canadian who appeared from season one onwards to run the coffee counter in the bookstore. He is somewhat sarcastic, mischievous and dour.

Audrey Penney (Clea Lewis)

Audrey is Ellen's annoying friend with whom she has a love-hate relationship. Her catchphrase was the perky greeting "Hello, ELLEN!". Initially, Audrey was known for being negative about everything in an irritatingly nice and positive way. In the latter seasons of the show, she was portrayed as excessively perky and positive, much to Ellen's annoyance. When Ellen comes out, she is extremely supportive (saying "I for one think it's SUPER!") and throws herself into the LGBT culture, ironically with more reverence than Ellen did. She comes from a well-off family, though she rejected her inheritance so that she could continue being an assistant at Buy The Book. In season one, Ellen refers to Audrey's husband, but he never appears and Audrey later dates several people, including Adam and Ron Palillo, who played himself over several episodes. In one episode (in Season 4), Ellen, Audrey and Paige took a pregnancy test, to make Paige feel better about her thinking to be expecting. For a few moments it was thought that Audrey was the one pregnant, but eventually it was disclosed that none of the characters were pregnant and that the test had produced a false-positive result.

pence Kovak (Jeremy Piven)

Ellen's cousin, he joined the cast from 1995 onwards. His arrival into Ellen's life coincides with the aftermath of a Los Angeles earthquake. Spence was training as a doctor, but was fired from his job and continued to be negative and hard on himself. He would later train as a lawyer. He and Paige had a love-hate relationship that started as constant fighting but later they became lovers.

Anita (Maggie Wheeler)

One of Ellen's friends who works in a department store. She appears in a total of five episodes throughout the first season, and in two episodes in season three, although the latter episodes were made for the first season.

Harold Morgan (Steven Gilborn)

Ellen's father. He is often somewhat clueless about what is going on around him. In the latest seasons, he and his relationship with Lois changes. They were to divorce, but they kept putting it off, until Ellen made them. Harold and Lois then fell back in love and didn't divorce at all.

Lois Morgan (Alice Hirson)

Ellen's mother. She and Ellen have a relationship similar to that of Ellen and Audrey. Ellen goes out of her way to avoid her mother but tries to avoid hurting her feelings at the same time.

Peter Barnes (Patrick Bristow)

Ellen's red-haired gay friend. Peter first appears in season two, when Ellen volunteers at the "Helping Hand" Charity. Always hyper-enthusiastic and with a never-flagging positive outlook, Peter often inadvertently functions as Ellen's moral compass, and accidentally "outs' her to her friends on the famous Coming Out episode: "Ellen, just tell them you're gay!"

Ed Billick (Bruce Campbell)

Ed appeared in season four only as the new manager of Ellen's bookstore. He was a strict business type who frequently butted heads with Ellen over their management styles.

Laurie Manning (Lisa Darr)

Ellen's girlfriend. Laurie appears in eight episodes in the fifth and final season of Ellen. She and her daughter Holly (Kayla Murphy) become an increasingly important part of Ellen's life.

Notable guest stars

eason Two

Complete list of episodes

2.13 "Ellen's Improvement" Alex Trebek

eason Three

Complete list of episodes

3.11 "Salad Days" Martha Stewart

3.12 "Horshack's Law" Ron Palillo

3.17 "Lobster Diary" Mary Tyler Moore

3.19 "A Penny Saved" Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs

3.23 "The Movie Show" Michael Des Barres, Carrie Fisher

3.24 "When The Vow Breaks (1)" Ron Palillo

3.25 "When The Vow Breaks (2)" Ron Palillo

eason Four

Complete list of episodes

4.4 "The Parent Trap" Eddie Fisher

4.6 "The Bubble Gum Incident" Anne Rice

4.8 "Not So Great Expectations" Trisha Yearwood

4.19 "Secrets & Ellen" Brett Butler, Drew Carey

4.22 "The Puppy Episode: Part 1" Laura Dern, Oprah Winfrey, Melissa Etheridge, Gina Gershon, k.d. lang, Demi Moore, Billy Bob Thornton, Dwight Yoakam

4.23 "The Puppy Episode: Part 2" Laura Dern

4.24 "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah" Chastity Bono, Joan Jett

eason Five

Complete list of episodes

5.2 "Social Climber" Dedee Pfeiffer

5.6 "G.I. Ellen" Louis Gossett, Jr.

5.8 "Emma" Army Archerd, Sean Penn, Emma Thompson

5.18 "Hospital" Anne Heche

5.17 "It's a Gay, Gay, Gay, Gay World" Harvey Fierstein

DVD releases

A&E Home Video has released the entire series on DVD in Region 1.


External links

*Tv.com show|id=490|title=Ellen
*imdb title|id=0108761|title=Ellen
* [http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,294355,00.html "Out?"] , an October 1996 "Entertainment Weekly" cover story about rumors surrounding the show's fourth season.
* [http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,289951,00.html TV Review: Ellen] , an October 1997 "Entertainment Weekly" article discussing the fifth season of "Ellen" and ABC's additional of parental-advisory warnings to some episodes.
* [http://www.tvshows.de/ellen/english/guest.html The Ellen Cyclopedia] , list of guest stars/episodes

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