Ellen DeGeneres is arguably the biggest name in daytime TV, and episodes of her talk show guarantee all kinds of fantastic shenanigans. A couple of decades ago, however, DeGeneres wasn't a daytime TV host or a pop culture icon. She was star of the ABC sitcom Ellen, which is best known nowadays for the "Puppy Episode" that saw Ellen come out as gay. The episode aired back in 1997; now, DeGeneres is hosting other celebrities to celebrate the 20th anniversary of "The Puppy Episode." Check out a sneak peek of the episode!
Ellen Morgan's coming out on Ellen back in 1997 marked a first for a leading character in a primetime TV series, and it's clear from the ellentube video that Ellen DeGeneres didn't have the easiest time with coming out on national television. As she said, it was a time before we had Will & Grace and Modern Family, and it was a remarkably brave move on her part. It also caused a great deal of controversy, and Ellen was cancelled after only one more season. DeGeneres' career didn't recover right away, but given where she is today and what her decision to come out meant for the landscape of American broadcast television, I'd say that she made the right call.
The 20th anniversary will feature Oprah Winfrey and Laura Dern, both of whom appeared as guest stars in "The Puppy Episode." Oprah appeared as Ellen's therapist on the show, and she was a sounding board for Ellen as she came to the realization that she might be gay. Dern played Susan, who hit it off with Ellen, revealed that she is gay, and kicked off Ellen's self-discovery. Other guests are slated to appear on the anniversary special as well.
In case you never caught "The Puppy Episode," the big moment came when Ellen rushed to the airport to see Susan before she flies away. It's the perfect combination of heartwarming and hilarious, and it's not hard to see why it has stood the test of time. Take a look:
Ellen DeGeneres' real life struggle is apparent in the scene, and her character's resolve to tell Susan what she has realized about herself is extraordinarily endearing. It's clear from the sneak peek that filming the scene was memorable to Laura Dern as well as DeGeneres. We'll have to wait until the anniversary special airs to see everything they and all the other guests have to say about the pivotal episode.
The 20th anniversary special airs on Friday, April 28 on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for the latest in TV news, and don't forget to check out our midseason TV premiere guide and our summer TV premiere schedule to discover all your viewing options now and in the coming weeks. Be sure to drop by our rundowns for cable/streaming and broadcast TV renewals and cancellations a
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Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).