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Trivia / Ellen

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  • Actor Allusion: Happened lots of times:
    • The final scene from season two has Ellen jokingly remark that she's going to be in a movie, to which Paige responds, "Right, and I'm going to be in a Broadway musical." In reality, DeGeneres was getting ready to appear in Mr. Wrong with Bill Pullman, while Joely Fisher was preparing to take over the role of Betty Rizzo in the Broadway revival of Grease.
    • Season four is laden with allusions to Ellen DeGeneres' rumored (and then confirmed) homosexuality.
      • The episode where Ellen comes out features a therapist played by Oprah Winfrey, whose show DeGeneres came out on.
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    • 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.
  • Actor-Shared Background: Both Ellen DeGeneres and Ellen Morgan hail from Louisiana.
  • Creator Backlash:
    • Arye Gross was initially very upset about his departure. Despite media reports which claimed he left the show of his own accord, Gross later revealed this was not so - shortly before production commenced on season three, he was notified that Adam was being written out several episodes in. This news came after he'd received assurance that the character was going to continue for the entire season. Gross eventually said he would've stuck around for the rest of the series had he been asked, and was so embittered by the experience that he refused to watch the show afterwards. Co-stars Joely Fisher and David Anthony Higgins have also expressed disappointment at how Gross was treated.
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    • Ellen DeGeneres was understandably hurt by how ABC essentially abandoned her and the show after the coming out episode. After its cancellation, she tended to distance herself from the series and refused to participate in any special features produced for the DVD sets. She seems to have become more comfortable looking back on the show in recent years, however, and devoted an entire episode of her talk show in April, 2017, to reflect on the 20th anniversary of "The Puppy Episode."
    • Co-stars Joely Fisher and Jeremy Piven weren't happy that the final season largely dispensed with the supporting cast, with many episodes not featuring them at all. Piven likened the experience to being dropped off at the wrong summer camp, while Fisher found the silver lining by admitting they had more time to pursue their own projects.
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    • Elinor Donahue, who appeared as Anita's mother in "The Tape," was very embarrassed by the ending, which had Anita's parents record a sex tape which winds up in their daughter's hands. Donahue enjoyed working with DeGeneres but felt her performance suffered due to being uncomfortable with the material. DeGeneres also had problems with the episode and ultimately had ABC pull it from the schedule (see Missing Episode below).
  • Missing Episode: Two episodes produced for the first season - "The Mugging" and "The Tape" - were not shown in 1994 along with the other 11. This was due to DeGeneres disliking them and personally requesting they not be aired. They were eventually broadcast in 1996 at the end of the third season, and have subsequently appeared on the DVD and iTunes releases.
  • Old Shame: DeGeneres was not happy with the overall creative direction early first season episodes took, everything from the long opening sequence to most of the scripts. She was especially uncomfortable with the numerous sexual references, something she largely avoided in her stand-up routines. DeGeneres later summed up her feelings on those initial episodes: "It's like having a photo of you that you hate and the whole world is out there looking at it going, 'God, that's hideous.' And you think, 'I know it is; so why are you looking at it?'"
  • Real-Life Relative:
    • Betty DeGeneres, Ellen's mother, appeared with her daughter in one of the third season opening titles, and turned up several times as a background extra, most notably in "The Puppy Episode" during the famous airport scene.
    • Vance DeGeneres, Ellen's brother, made two guest appearances and wrote several episodes.
    • Paige Clark's unseen mother was voiced by Connie Stevens, Joely Fisher's actual mother.
    • Carrie Fisher, Joely's half-sister, appeared in "The Movie Show." The following season, their father Eddie Fisher made a guest appearance in "The Parent Trap."
  • Streisand Effect: ABC faced heavy pressure from right-wing organizations and advertisers not to air "The Puppy Episode," where Ellen came out as gay. The episode wound up being a massive phenomenon, giving the show its biggest ratings and winning multiple awards.
  • Name's the Same: DeGeneres' current daytime Talk Show is also titled Ellen.
  • Troubled Production: Shooting the first season opening titles, with the four friends cavorting in the desert, was a "hellacious" experience, according to DeGeneres. Co-stars Arye Gross and Holly Fulger revealed that the Winnebago transporting them broke down and caught fire on the freeway. Not only was the shoot unpleasant, but Ellen also felt the concept was ridiculous: "Everyone hated that...I don't know where that came from, I have no idea."
  • Unintentional Period Piece:
  • You Look Familiar:
    • Patrick Warburton played the masseur in "The Spa" and later returned as the cop Audrey dates.
    • Kathy Najimy played Adam's friend Theresa in "So Funny," and returned the following season as Paige's boss, Lorna Irons, in "Go Girlz." She was also visible amongst the crowd in the lesbian coffee house scene during "The Puppy Episode."
    • Vance DeGeneres first played Book Chat moderator Erik Matthew Marshall in "Ellen's Choice." The following season, he appeared as an auditioning guitar player in "Ellen Unplugged."
    • Anne Heche made an uncredited cameo in "All Ellen, All the Time" before guest-starring as Karen in "Hospital." It's possible she could be the same character in both episodes.

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