Ellen DeGeneres will have the cast of her ABC sitcom “Ellen” on her talk show this Friday as they celebrate the 20th anniversary of her coming out episode.
The episode was titled “The Puppy Episode”, and Yahoo TV says that Ellen explained why during her monologue:
“We wanted to keep it a secret until it aired and because ‘Ellen Throws Her Career Away’ seemed too on the nose. Actually the real reason we call it ‘The Puppy Episode’ is because when writers told the executives that they wanted me to come out, because my character needed to be in a relationship after four years of not being in a relationship, someone at the studio said, ‘Well, get her a puppy. She’s not coming out.’”
Oprah Winfrey played Ellen’s therapist in the episode, and on Friday’s talk show she commends Ellen’s bravery at the time. Also appearing on the talk show tomorrow: former costars Joely Fisher and David Anthony Higgins. Laura Dern, who played Susan (the woman to whom Ellen comes out), says the role was one of the greatest honors of her life:
Ellen joked about her groundbreaking episode, telling the audience, “You are here on a very special day. Today we’re celebrating the 20th anniversary of the coming out episode of my sitcom. … It was the first time a lead character on TV had come out. This was before Will & Grace, Cam and Mitchell [from Modern Family] and Hoda and Kathie Lee.”