What an amazing night in Hollywood Sunday night. Unfortunately it's only now that I've had a chance to blog about it. When I saw Ellen Degeneres up on that stage I thought to myself, Wow, she's come a long way. Do you remember when she was practically run out of Hollywood for coming out on the Ellen show back in 1998.
The "Ellen Show" was successful enough in its early seasons to warrant annual renewal, due largely to DeGeneres' perceived appeal and comic ability, but it was never a huge critical or ratings success. Only with Ellen's coming out did the show make its way into the wide public conciousness and hit a critical plateau. However after the initial coming out frenzy the show's ratings declined somewhat and ABC began feeling the pain of an organized backlash from religious conservative groups regarding the "gay content" being exhibited. While the final episodes of "Ellen" continued breaking new ground and winning awards, they were also widely criticized for focusing primarily on gay issues -- a criticism begun in anti-gay circles but which spread very quickly to the mainstream media. The brass at ABC found the justification they needed to finally pull the show from the air in May of 1998 after five seasons.
Where are we now? Not only has Ellen just hosted a very successful and more importantly, funny Oscar show but she has a successful talk show. Not to mention she's probably wealthy beyond belief. You go girl! Way to keep plugging and overcome adversity. The power of positive thinking? Or a sign of the times? Right place......etc
And what about Melissa Etheridge taking home the Oscar for Best Song? Kissing her girlfriend on National TV in front of 100's of millions worldwide and then telling Oprah's buddy backstage that "Oscar will be the only man to see my bedroom". Hehe. We certainly have come a long way!