Hank Price: “I, for one, did not expect Ellen’s initial nervousness and lack of comfort [in her first show of the new season]. The past few weeks must have been far more difficult than anyone imagined. Instead of naturalness, Ellen had to call on her inner reserves and go into full actor mode. A highly placed executive who is not part of the show told me: “No one looked more relieved than Ellen when it was over.”
The code-named “Puppy Episode” of her sitcom ABC Ellen that aired April 30, 1997, was more than just a hit. It was one of those huge cultural “where were you” moments for anybody remotely interested in TV, or the advancement of LGBTQ people working in TV, or who were itching to come out of their closets at home at a still-perilous time.