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Ellen (originally titled These Friends Of Mine) is a U.S. television sitcom that ran on the ABC network from March 29, 1994 to July 22, 1998. It starred Ellen DeGeneres as the main character. Degeneres used it to "come out" publicly.


The show provides examples of:

  • Accidental Public Confession: Ellen says "I'm gay" right into the airport PA system.
  • Actor Allusion: Happened lots of times:
    • Co-star Joely Fisher's sister Carrie Fisher guests stars in "The Movie Show." And later, their father Eddie Fisher also appears in "The Parent Trap."
    • Season four is laden with allusions to Ellen Degeneres' rumored (and then confirmed) homosexuality.
    • In "Joe's Kept Secret" Ellen tells Florence Henderson's character that she's a "lovely lady. And one day this lady will meet a fellow. And I know this is much more than a hunch." These are paraphrases from The Brady Bunch opening song, starring Henderson as Carol Brady.
    • In "Secrets & Ellen" Paige asks Wayne Newton (playing a doctor) if anyone had ever told him he looks like... Wayne Newton.
  • The Alcoholic: Paige's mother (passed out at her wedding).
  • All Just a Dream: In "It's a Gay, Gay, Gay, Gay World!", Spence gets knocked out and dreams of what would happen if he lived in a mostly gay world. The final scene pokes fun of The Wizard of Oz when the secondary cast arrives home dreamed up as the characters from the film.
  • Ascended Extra: Audrey had a one-shot episode in the second episode of the first season, but as of mid-season two she became a series regular. Also, Peter, who appeared in one episode of season two and became a recurring character as of season three.
  • Characterization Marches On: Audrey initially was a seemingly regular person but in season three she turns out to be a multi-million dollar heiress.
  • Character Name and the Noun Phrase: "Ellen's New Friend," "Ellen's Improvement," "Ellen's Choice," "Ellen: With Child," "Ellen Unplugged," "Ellen's Deaf Comedy Jam," "Ellen in Focus," Ellen: A Hollywood Tribute"
  • Character Title: The main character is Ellen Morgan.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Anita and Holly, two of Ellen's best friends in season one, disappear into thin air as of season two, without ever being mentioned again. Also, Spence, who appeared out of nowhere to become a series regular in season three, disappeared from the last two episodes of season five, even though he was in a committed relationship with Paige. He was not mentioned.
  • Clip Show: Season four's "The Clip Show Patient"
  • Coming Out Story: "The Puppy Episode", in which the character Ellen Morgan came out as a lesbian, shortly after Ellen Degeneres came out publicly.
  • Corpsing: Sometimes Ellen can't hold it in and starts laughing.
    • Ellen started laughing with Janeane Garofalo in "Two Mammograms and a Wedding";
    • In the slumber party in "Go Girlz";
    • In "When the Vow Breaks" (Part 1) when she's trying to get Paige's passed out mother on her feet.
    • In "The Parent Trap" when Ellen is doing the interpretive dance to her parents;
    • In "Secrets & Ellen", Ellen laughs twice when she dodges Joe's kiss (and then Audrey's).
  • Deadpan Snarker: Most of Ellen's humor relies on her delivering a snappy, well articulated, elaborated and witty comeback for just about every remark.
  • Disguised in Drag: In "The Fix-Up," Adam enters a photography contest and wins, but it was for women only. When he can't get a woman to accept the prize, he goes to the ceremony in drag. It goes badly - with him returning home complaining about the women seeing through his disguise and calling him a pervert.
  • The Ditz: Audrey.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: When Matt tells Ellen he wants to marry Paige soon, Ellen acts as if things are moving too fast between her and him.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Ellen's middle name is Inez.
  • Evil Matriarch: Paige's mother, never satisfied.
  • Flanderization: Audrey goes from a nagging neighbor to a pink-wearing ditzy drop-in with an annoying high-pitch voice.
  • The Faceless: Paige's mother, appeared in the wedding episode but passed out and only her legs were shown.
  • Friend Versus Lover: Paige threw a fit when Ellen (finally!!!) got a boyfriend in the end of season two.
  • Game Show Appearance: Ellen goes on American Gladiators.
  • Hilarious Outtakes:
    • In the season two episode, "Ellen's New Friend," the Closing Credits show an outtake of a scene from early in the episode, where Ellen and Audrey are camping and Ellen starts cracking up.
    • In the season five episode, "Gay Yellow Pages," the closing credits show an outtake of a scene from early in the episode, between Ellen and Peter in which both start cracking up.
    • In the season five episode, "Escape from L.A.," the closing credits should several takes of Laurie being splashed with water.
  • Invisible Celebrity Guest: John Travolta in "Horshack's Law."
  • Ironic Episode Title: "The Puppy Episode" which has nothing to do with such, but rather with Ellen coming out.
  • Irrevocable Message: In the pilot episode, Ellen leaves a message on Holly's machine, just before going to meet her, warning about the guy she was dating. When they arrive they realize he was not so bad, so Ellen tries to prevent Holly from listening to the message.
  • I Want Grandkids: Ellen's mother.
  • Lampshade Hanging: In "Two Mammograms and a Wedding" Ellen tells guest star Janeane Garofalo that she owns a shop that sells books and coffee. Garofalo comments that it's 'very hip, very "Friends"', to which Ellen quickly retorts "we were there first."
  • Not What It Looks Like:
    • In one episode of season two Ellen is trying out a pair of roller-skates. Adam comes in and she goes over to the counter to fetch a check for him. She starts slipping and Adam grabs her from behind and tries to help her back on her feet with several thrusts. Paige walks in and Ellen, now panting, thanks Adam and gives him a check.
    • In the last episode of season four, Paige wants to prove she's OK with Ellen's assumed homosexuality and to prove it starts to change clothes in front of her. Ellen struggles with her to put her shirt back on when Joe and Audrey walk in.
    • The episode "Neighbors" of season five revolves mostly around this trope.
  • Name's the Same: DeGeneres' current daytime Talk Show is also titled Ellen.
  • No Periods, Period: In "The Pregnancy Test" episode, Paige thinks she might be pregnant, so she takes a pregnancy test and Ellen and Audry go one themselves for fun. One of the tests turns out positive but they can't figure out which. In the end everything gets resolves after Paige and Audry get their periods.
  • One Word Title
  • Pop Culture Pun Episode Title: Many to list: "The Hand That Robs the Cradle," "The Bridges of L.A. County," "What's Up, Ex-Doc?," "Two Mammograms and a Wedding," "Ellen Unplugged" "Like a Virgin."
  • Prison Episode: "Three Strikes" revolves around her being arrested for participating in an animal rights protest and ultimately remanded to the custody of her parents.
  • Put on a Bus: Adam left to London to pursue this photography career and is never seen or heard of again.
  • Questioning Title: "Trick or Treat - Who Cares?," "What's Up, Ex-Doc?," "Do You Fear What I Fear?"
  • Rashomon Style: In "Not So Great Expectations," Ellen, Paige, Spence and Joe recount the same event from different perspectives: Ellen's mother being escorted outside by her date.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: "The Puppy Episode"
  • Remember the New Guy?: Spence, Ellen's cousin with whom she spent "all those summers with" even though he was never mentioned before being introduced in season three.
  • Special Guest: Martha Stewart (pre-scandal), Carrie Fisher, Trisha Yearwood, Mary Tyler Moore, Eddie Fisher.
  • Split-Screen Phone Call: In the second episode "The Anchor" and in season four's "Ellen's Def Comedy Jam".
  • Stock Episode Titles: "Witness"
  • Stripper Cop Confusion: In "Go Girlz," during the slumber party, Ellen mistakes a cop for a stripper, who in turn enjoys the mix-up and plays along.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: In "The Apartment Hunt" Audrey moves in with Ellen for a while and starts driving her crazy. Ellen goes with her on an apartment hunt and tries to ditch her with the one furthest from her house.
  • Trash the Set and Rebuilt Set: Ellen's bookstore is remodeled in season three after an earthquake.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: Contains some contemporary references, namely to Pulp Fiction, Die Hard With a Vengeance, and Batman Forever.
  • Very Special Episode: "Two Mammograms and a Wedding"; special guest star, Janeane Garofalo.
  • Viva Las Vegas: In "Secrets & Ellen" Paige and Spence go there to spend a romantic weekend. Wayne Newton guest stars as a doctor.
  • Wedding Day: Paige and Matt (doesn't come through).
  • Why Waste a Wedding?: Paige, even after being walked in kissing Spence, on whom she admittedly has feeling, wants to go through with the wedding anyway.
  • The X of Y: Most episode titles of season one and two: "The Anchor," "The Class Reunion," "The Refrigerator," "The Dentist," "The Sleep Clinic"
  • You Look Familiar: Patrick Warburton played the masseur in "The Spa" and later that season played the cop dating Audrey.
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