Laurie Manning, Ellen
In 1997, American comedian Ellen DeGeneres famously came out on the cover of Time Magazine the same week as her character, Ellen Morgan, was set to come out on Season 4 of her popular broadcast sitcom Ellen. The series centered on Ellen’s dealing with her quirky friends, her family, and the problems of daily life. Though viewed by approximately 42 million people, Ellen’s coming out episode was surrounded by controversy and ABC had to put a parental advisory warning at the beginning of each episode. “In addition to the TV-14 rating icon that flashes at the opening of the show, ABC displayed a sentence: “Due to adult content, parental discretion is advised.”
Laurie Manning (Lisa Darr) was cast in Season 5 as Ellen’s love interest and originally set to appear in 4 episodes, though her role was later expanded to 8 episodes.Though their relationship developed throughout the season, but the show continued to lose viewers under allegations of being ‘too gay’ and was ultimately cancelled.
Ellen’s relationship with Laurie was also closely monitored by network executives. In the episode in which Ellen and Laurie officially became a couple, one of their lines was inexplicably changed. During a scene in a crowded, noisy bar, Ellen, frustrated that Laurie cannot hear what she’s saying, turned the situation into a joke by saying in a voice that she presumed Laurie still couldn’t hear, “I want to take you like a wild animal.” Later, they moved to a quieter area and discussed whether they were just friends or on an official date. They kissed briefly and decided to leave. In the scene as originally filmed, Ellen turned to Laurie and asked if it is an official date, to which Laurie said, “I hope so, especially since you want to take me like a wild animal.” A few days before the episode was broadcast, however, Darr was called back to the studio to change the line to “I hope so, since I’ve never dated a wild animal.”
- 8 episodes.
Female love interests:
- Ellen Morgan (Ellen DeGeneres, lesbian, regular)
Relationship story arc with a woman: Yes
No male love interests
Relationship story arc with a man: No
Male love interest after being identified as a lesbian? No
Filter Relationship Arc:
Storyline during sweeps? No
 A relationship story arc is defined as explicit, developed on screen, and lasting more than 3 episodes. It is listed as questionable or subtext if romance is only implied, mentioned instead of shown on screen, part of a dream sequence, or otherwise not explicit for the viewer.
 Sweeps episodes air in February, May, July and November, the periods when advertising rates are set. A character is marked as "sweeps" when there is a very limited number of episodes that address their sexuality, all air during sweeps period, and the storyline is otherwise ignore/dropped.