Ramble along with this still-funny sitcom.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Ellen and her circle of friends have their quirks, but are also caring and loyal. Ellen's parents struggle with but ultimately support her when she comes out. Some later secondary characters reject Ellen after learning about her sexual orientation.

Positive role models

Ellen and her circle of friends have their quirks, but are also caring and loyal. Ellen's parents struggle with but ultimately support her when she comes out. Some later secondary characters reject Ellen after learning about her sexual orientation.

Not applicable

Occasional references to sexual behavior. Kissing, including same-sex kissing, is sometimes visible.


Rare use of mild words like "damn" and "crap."


Occasional references to animal activist groups and other service-oriented organizations.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Occasional alcohol consumption by adults, which sometimes leads to intoxication.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this show focuses on the importance of friends and family, despite their flaws and imperfect natures. It also highlights the idea that humor can be found in even the most ordinary situations, if we choose to see it. Parents should also know that later episodes of the series (those filmed after star Ellen DeGeneres came out in real life) focus on homosexuality and same-sex relationships.

What's the story?

Based on the stand-up comedy of Ellen DeGeneres, ELLEN centers on Ellen Morgan (DeGeneres), a quirky, single, thirtysomething, vegetarian, animal-loving bookstore owner living in Los Angeles who deals with the everyday trials and tribulations of life by keeping a positive attitude, maintaining her sense of humor, and rambling excessively. With the help of her roommate, photographer Adam Green (Arye Gross); her narcissistic, social-climbing high school friend Paige Clark (Joely Fisher); annoying but loveable co-book store employee Audrey Penney (Clea Lewis); and Canadian coffee server Joe Farrell (David Anthony Higgins), Ellen's daily activities turn into absurd situations. In later seasons cousin Spence Kovak (Jeremy Piven) moves in, adding to both Ellen's circle of friends and her zany adventures. The pressure that Ellen's parents Lois (Alice Hirson) and Harold (Steven Gilborn) put on her to get married and "settled down" leads to painfully awkward dating scenarios, but much of this awkwardness is explained away after Ellen's groundbreaking announcement in Season 4 that she's a lesbian.

Is it any good?


While's Ellen's coming out made TV history and opened the door for other openly gay characters to appear on mainstream television, Ellen Morgan's coming out led the series away from poking fun at the mundane to addressing serious issues surrounding sexual orientation and same-sex relationships. Regardless of this shift, Ellen is never salacious in nature and remains a funny ensemble series that reminds viewrs that even the most ordinary activities can become hilarious if we let ourselves laugh.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the importance of having a positive attitude in even the worst situations. How can your attitude impact the way you cope with awkward or difficult situations? When is and isn't it appropriate to use humor as a way to diffuse difficult situations? Families may also want to discuss sexual orientation and the challenges people face when coming to terms with their own sexuality.

TV details

Cast:Arye Gross, Ellen DeGeneres, Joely Fisher
TV rating:TV-G
Available on:DVD

This review of Ellen was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written bymambobird March 28, 2011
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byDemilovatofan249 April 18, 2010
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008


I think Ellen is a great and sucsessful woman! She's written books , acted , had fun and has her own TV show. I love her show! I think it is funny and intresting. What I think is stupid is that commonsense says that it focuses on same-sex marrige. That isn't true. I've watched about 50 episodes and there wasn't one thing about it. I think that we should respect people , diffrent , lifesaving , entertaing , interesting , people. Everyday people , and I think Ellen shows a great deal of that! WATCH IT! You'll love it!


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