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Ellen DeGeneres' "Ellen" showcased the versatility of one of the best
comedians of the 90s. She exhibited the physical comedy of a modern day
Lucille Ball, dry wit descended from Jack Benny, and jabbing one-liners
like Rose Marie and Morey Amsterdam were whispering in her ears.
The supporting cast (especially Piven and Fisher) and guest stars played well off DeGeneres. When the writers finally got a handle on the cast the writing was priceless. They weren't afraid to drop in wry insights among the "jokes."
"Ellen" was a groundbreaking sitcom, and like most pioneering shows, it wasn't supported by a fearful network. It's unfortunate that Ellen's sexuality became the focus of the press and the show. Maybe if the show wasn't constantly trying to break free of network restrictions and fear the writers and actors could have taken "Ellen" into a strong finish. Instead it petered out. Nevertheless, catch any episodes you can on cable.
Together with Seinfeld and Friends, it's another top American comedy show that we are viewing frequently in the U.K. recently. When I say "top", I mean "top notch". In the 70's and 80's I was used to switching off American comedies, but these 3 shows have made me reconsider my bias! I particularly like the way Ellen introduces so many irrelevancies into her dialogue, she kind of says what other people would only think but not dare say for fear of being boring. At some point in the series she declares herself to be gay, and while it obviously changes the direction of the show a little, it doesn't get heavy going about it and is still as funny as ever no matter what your tendencies. I love all the other characters too; the show was better for the entry of Audrey, Paige and cousin Adam - they each have their own very identifiable traits that enrich the plot. The cousin is particularly funny, especially in scenes together with Paige.
"Ellen" started out as a pleasant comedy made watchable by the funny
and talented Ellen DeGeneres. It ended up a groundbreaking show with
tons of humor and probably the best finale in TV history.
The first season of "Ellen," as stated above, was cute. The show was reworked so that in the second season, Ellen had a new group of friends, all of whom could hold their own with her (Joley Fisher, David Anthony Higgins, Jeremy Piven, and Clea Lewis' role was expanded). The show became much funnier and snappier. And in the fourth season, Ellen "came out" to a therapist (Oprah Winfrey) and admitted that the man she had fallen for was named Susan.
The hate mail was unbelievable -- even Winfrey received a ton of hate mail and was verbally attacked on her TV show for even appearing on this pivotal episode. There were also boycotts by groups including, as often mentioned on the show's jokes, the Baptists.
The network didn't laugh and canceled the show. When you think about series such as "Will & Grace," and "Modern Family" on the networks, and all the gay characters on shows like "Six Feet Under" on cable - wow, a lot of doors were opened by Ellen Morgan coming out.
Ellen DeGeneres is a unique talent, with deadpan delivery and a habit of talking nervously and trailing off mid-sentence which is very, very funny. She also has a decent knack for physical comedy. Surrounding herself with a great cast, well-developed characters and scriptwriters, the show was delightful.
In the finale, Ellen Morgan is interviewed as a living legend, and her life is shown going back to the 1920s and takes her up to the "big reveal" on her sitcom - which isn't what you think it's going to be. Hilarious, and so well done.
I don't know what kind of person Ellen is, except that she's an animal lover and has family support -- but everything she does, including her talk show, has an aura of warmth and high spirits. "Ellen" the sitcom was no exception, and if you didn't watch it when it was on the air, check it out. It's still very fresh.
I loved and miss her show. What a fresh and interesting new comedy. Ellen helped open the eyes of America on gay issues, but did not dwell on it or shove it down our throats. It was down tactfully and with class. Her new talk show is good, but doesn't measure up to the freshness and originality of "Ellen" the sitcom. Anyone who has a problem with her coming out on the show, must be insecure with their own sexuality. She did it in a way that I allowed my kids to watch. It opened up discussions with my kids and made it easy and fun to discuss human sexuality with them. Ellen helped America drop their guard with the gay issues. She provided an excellent comedy that was appropriate for the entire family. Parents who can not talk about sexuality with their kids need help. We love you Ellen !
If there was ever a true American heroine it is Ellen. This great woman puts the c in courage, the d in dignity and the g in great. That she is a warm, wonderful human being and side-splittingly funny is just so much gravy. She and her great ensemble cast made every episode first class. Ellen's character was always so good-hearted, thats what I liked the most about her.
In my opinion, the show was a bit boring at the beginning. Just another comedy that tries to be funny. (this time with a book shop as setting)But after Ellen´s outing quite much has changed, the stories have become really intresting, and in general the show has turned to something special and unique now. The difficult (???) topic has been presented in a very sensitive way and besides the´ve tried to fight against all the silly prejudices which are in the heads of too many people.Furthermore I like that we can laugh with Ellen, not about her. (that´s quite unusual for gay characters on TV). I´m impressed of her honesty and strength to share a part of her private life with the public. ELLEN- YOU`RE GREAT!!! Of course,I love the rest of the cast as well (JOELY,CLEA,JEREMY,DAVID)They´re like everyone´s friends. They get on your nerves, tease you, know everything better - but nevertheless you can´t live without them. In the meantime, I must confess that I hardly can´t live without Ellen and fortunately, it´s back on German TV!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There are not many successful female stand-up comedians and I never
understood why so many of them are... well not funny. Ellen is a very
funny woman and her show "Ellen" was of course based on her stand-up
act. Maybe she's funny because of her rapid-fire line delivery or the
way she recites her lines with a kind of nervous insecurity. Basically,
she is the whole show here because the supporting characters don't
really add much. In the first season there were two other female
characters named Holly and Anita (played by perennial recurring
character Maggie Wheeler) but they were too normal. They basically just
reacted to Ellen. Adam, played by Arye Gross, was a whiny windbag and
remained so his entire run.
Things improved with the addition of Joely Fisher who is actually quite funny too (I can't believe she didn't have a bigger role in The Mask"). She was more of an equal to Ellen and let's not forget she is totally hot. Then the Adam character was dropped in favor of Ellen's reprehensible cousin, Spence (well played by Jeremy Piven). If you saw him in the movie "Lucas" you could say that this is the character as a grownup. The really annoying addition was Clea Lewis as Audrey, the spoiled socialite. She is such an easy target for ridicule that it's amazing that Ellen puts up with her.
There has been a lot of writing about the "Coming Out" episode, especially among the other commentators. Luckily, I haven't seen those episodes that followed it, so I will not comment on that. I will say that whether she did or did not come out, I always had a suspicion that she was in fact gay from the first time i saw the show and it didn't really change my opinion of her or the show. But sadly, show business is a fickle business and few has enough courage to fight controversy. Still, it's funny that a show like Will and Grace was so successful if gays are ill seen in show business.
(To be continued on The Ellen Show commentary)
It has now been 20 years since "Ellen Morgan" and "Ellen Degeneres"
came out of the closet and television and gay rights have never been
It is hard to imagine that there were no regular leads in television shows where the lead character was gay. Most of the times gay characters were almost non existent. A gay man was always used as the "Comic relief" and lesbians were always shown as anything but human. That all changed when "Ellen" came out.
Ellen was pretty. She also well known. Her show was entering its fourth season when "Ellen Degneres" decided that "Ellen Morgan" would be coming out of the closet.
The show at the time had very small ratings. It wasn't a big hit for ABC but it did well enough. The show from the very beginning however was always in some sort creative turmoil. In fact when Season 4 started none of the original cast (Except Ellen) were still on the show.
Ellen Degeneres however was at the top of her game when she demanded that the ABC-Disney allow her to have "ellen" come-out. For months there was lots press being generated about this possible story-line. Finally after 9 months of headlines both "Ellen Degeneres" and "Ellen Morgan" came out and made history.
Now as for the episode that Ellen came out on it became an event. It was historic. The episode was the #1 rated show of the week and one of the most watched television episodes of the past 10 years! Now after 4 years on the air the show found its voice and direction however one year later the show was canceled. That's was sad. The last year the show was on the air was the shows best collections of episodes. It was focused and funny. ABC however failed to promote the show. They show failing in the ratings. Had ABC wanted the show to die! You can than Michael Eisner and Bob Iger for this.
Now after 20 years we can now look back at the show and see what a mess the shows first 3 seasons were but upon viewing these episodes now we can view them as the main character being on a closet and that makes those seasons funnier than when the originally aired when we had no idea of the characters sexuality. The shows however major growth was at the tail end of season 4 and continued until the show ended in season 5. "The Puppy Episode" went on to win "Ellen DeGeneres" and her show an Emmy for Best Writing. It also won a Peabody Award which is a rare accomplishment for a Network television show.
For a few years Ellen career took a hit, However she made the biggest come back in when "Finding Nemo" became a major box office hit. Ellen supplied the voice of Dory! That same year she started her talk which continues to be a major success today. In 2016 Ellen struck gold again when "Finding Dory" became the highest grossing animated film of all time.
It is nice to see that with the huge risk that she took she went on to become not only a role model but one the biggest stars in television history.
This was actually a pretty funny show starring Ellen DeGeneres as Ellen
Morgan, a bookstore employee who tries to get by life in dealing with
her various friends including redhead Paige, insecure photographer
Adam, cousin Spence, coffee shop guy Joe Farrell and the critical
Ellen was quite hilarious and quirky, keeping the show engaging and appealing. The acting was also pretty good and the writing material wasn't bad. I did enjoy the earlier seasons more versus the later season, when the plot lines dealt more with the actress' sexuality rather on the comedic material.
I actually bumped into Ellen's episodes by chance while on You Tube. Nowadays, I hardly ever watch TV shows, let alone sitcoms. However, after I watched one of the episodes in season 5, I found myself laughing. So I decided to watch another one, then another and another, I just couldn't stop myself. I think that not just Ellen but the entire cast, are great performers and really convincing in their acting. Of course, we are talking about a sitcom and not Lawrence of Arabia here. I would love to watch more episodes but the series has been over for a while... what a pity. In my view, "Ellen" is one of the best sitcom I've ever seen in my life. Rest assure that if you want to have a good and genuine laugh you won't be disappointed.
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