On April 30, 1997, ABC aired a two-part episode of the sitcom, Ellen, where the titular character came to the realization that she was a lesbian. Despite threats from advertisers and religious groups, “The Puppy Episode,” was an enormous ratings success, won multiple awards and became a cultural phenomenon. Sadly, the high was short-lived and the series was canceled after one more season with Ellen DeGeneres and guest star Laura Dern receiving career backlash.
This Friday, DeGeneres celebrates the 20th anniversary of coming out in real life and on her sitcom on her daytime talk show. She’ll mark the occasion by hosting a reunion with her former Ellen castmates and guest stars Oprah Winfrey and Laura Dern who appeared in the special episode.
“I can’t describe to you how challenging it was to get this episode made,” says the host in her monologue (of which you can watch a sneak peek above). “At the time it was so controversial, which is why I thought it was so important to celebrate the anniversary and to remember what it was like back then and to appreciate how far we have come.” – Ellen says in the monologue
Check out a sneak peek of Friday’s show below.