Splash FM Website of the Day, 1st August 2005. Be Impressed.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Derailers – Ellen

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Ellen DeGeneres’ real life coming-out and that of the character she played in her sitcom, called Ellen, in 1997 caused a huge stir and saw a whopping 42 million people tune in to the “Puppy Episode”. Over in the UK everywhere you went absolutely everyone was talking about something else. But, I’m Ellen’s biggest English fan – I’ve seen part of one episode of one of her shows – so I can’t let it pass without comment.

The decision to have the fictional Ellen come out was precipitated by the script writers’ frustration at Ellen’s lack of love interest and DeGeneres’ relationship with Hollywood actress Anne Heche, whose lesbian credentials are undermined somewhat by the fact she’s had more men than the Grand Old Duke of York. You may be familiar with Heche’s oeuvre; she gets it out in every film.

The episode itself feature a huge array of stars (Oprah Winfrey, Demi Moore, Billy Bob Thornton, Laura Dern, Gina Gershon and, with crushing inevitability, kd lang) and inspired ‘Coming Out With Ellen’ parties from coast-to-coast (and nowhere in between). After the success of the coming-out episode the backlash was quick to come. The show was accused of being too political and viewing figures dropped rapidly. As well as receiving criticism from the Christian right, she even had the dog-eat-dog world of lesbian politics turn on her when Chastity Bono said the show was ‘too gay’. Even Elton John joined the chorus of disapproval. When Elton thinks you’re too gay you know you’re in trouble.

In actual fact, the show was killed off by an endless procession of celebs desperate to prove they loved ‘the gays’ – a fate currently befalling Will and Grace. Madonna’s “acting” on W&G was on a level with a primary school nativity play – I swear at one point I saw her pick her nose then wave to her mum. Anyhoo, stumbling guilelessly back to the point, Ellen was cancelled because it wasn’t funny anymore.

DeGeneres refused to learn her lesson. She returned with The Ellen Show in which she played a lesbian called Ellen. It was cancelled after one series. She is currently presenting her own talk show called, you’ll never guess, The Ellen DeGeneres Show and is snogging Portia de Rossi.

Today’s track comes from The Derailers’ 1997 album Reverb Deluxe. As a bunch of honky-tonkin’ rednecks it’s unlikely they wrote this tune to celebrate Ellen’s coming out.

The Derailers – Ellen

Buy Reverb Deluxe

BTW, the fact that this is post number 69 is entirely coincidental. And anyone who laughed at lesbianism being a ‘dog-eat-dog world’ needs to grow up.


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