tv History of the Sitcom CNN July 17, 2021 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT
stories ever. love it. from sign felt to the golden girls, tomorrow night a new series of the history of sitcom. watch history of sitcom tomorrow night at 9:00. you can catch up on history of the sitcom. it starts next. i'm pam. i'll see you again tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. eastern. >> whtake one. >> i don't want one. >> what do you want? >> you want comedy. >> no. and boom. there you go. a situation comedy. ga zinga.
>> 20 minutes of magic. >> it's so tasty, too. >> you fell in love with these characters. >> what you talking about, willis? j wee need to laugh at ourselves. >> you hide my clothes. i'm wearing everything you own. >> laughter opens you open. >> things that we might be afraid to talk about. some people that were supposed to protect us didn't do the right thing. >> like racism. >> class wars. >> and gender diversity. >> hi, girls. >> you can reach in and really touch people's hearts. >> i hate you. >> are you as turned on as i am? >> more. >> whether it's a family living under the same roof. >> dyn-o-mite. >> or gathered together in the workplace. >> all the great sitcoms are
about family. >> the one thing. it's one of the great accomplishments of the modern age. >> family is key to the sitcom. it's something that we all can relate to. >> you're in these people's homes for years. you're a part of the family. >> one good thing, i have no friends and no distractions. that's why i got off. what does he say? eh. >> the family sitcom brings people together in an unexpected way. >> there are so many different
dynamics at work in families. >> i want you here. it will give us a chance to get re-acquainted. >> that implies we were i kwapted at one point. >> you recognize your dynamic and go, well, their family's just as crazy as mine. >> i don't care who kissed who and who was wearing an outrageously inappropriate dress, we're going to act like a normal family for one tenth of a freak second, right now, let's go. >> you can really see so much about culture throughout the years. now looking back. >> and it was really i love lucy that kind of kicked it all off. >> this evening, we -- now go back and sit down. >> it was a show about a ditsy woman who wanted to be in show business. >> have you ever considered acting? >> has she ever considered acting!
>> her husband, who was latin and a musician. >> honey, you know how i feel ak this. i don't want my wife in show business. >> why not? >> she was always trying to emancipate herself from the home. >> every time she gets the opportunity, something goes awry. >> lucille paul was fearless in her physical comedy. you know, women were supposed to be demure and dainty and in their place. >> lucille ball was one of my favorites for timing her bits. >> what do you think you're doing? well?
j i love lucy became a non ins instantly. when you think about the era that lucille ball came up in and what she was able to achieve, it's astounding. >> hey, i'm in fire, i'm in fire. >> when lucy and ricky had a baby, it was like huge. it was the highest rated show of the series. it changed the dynamic because all of a sudden it game centered around the family unit. i think i love lucy was the big bang of the family sitcom. >> and the family moved to the suburbs. >> gee, isn't that exciting? we're in our very own home. >> and that mirrored what was happening in america at the time. >> advertisers wanted to cater to the new suburban family that needed to buy that kitchen appliance or buy that vacuum. >> after i love lucy, there was
a formula for what the american family should look like. >> ozzy and hasht. >> i loved everybody in it, actually. >> bring it in. i'm starved. >> it was a happy, gentle american family of the 1950s. >> how much you need? >> that's ok. >> don't worry about it. you can pay me back. >> honest, i don't want it. >> what's the matter? you got rocks in your head? >> everybody was very nice to each other. those were not real people, but they entertained and delighted us. >> all right, kids. dinner's on. we're sitting down. >> when you get to father knows best, it's very patriarch cal. dealing with problems. >> a quiet evening at home. i could use it. >> and i played bud. bud usually had a problem with truth telling on some level. >> what was all that racket
upstairs? >> i didn't hear anything. >> i'll read you one story, then off the bed you go. >> leave it to beaver enters the sitcom realm in 1957. >> what's that. >> a hair cut, i think. >> the real key to leave it to beaver is that it's written from a child's point of view. >> why don't you let stanley cut your hair? >> i lost my money. >> you have the character of beaver and wally who's his older brother, who usually does things right. we've is always the one that gets in trouble. >> and there were the parents to teach them, show them the right path. >> we want you to feel that you can come to me or to your mother with any problem and we'll understand. >> in the 1950s, sitcoms were really giving us an ideal iisti
version of america. as we get into the 60s we'll see different types of sitcoms. >> i'm sure i'll be able to ham a little washing and cooking an occasional meal. dry eye symptoms driving you crazy? inflammation might be to blame. inflammation: time for ache and burn! over the counter eye drops typically work by lubricating your eyes and may provide temporary relief. inflammation: those'll probably pass by me! xiidra works differently, targeting inflammation that can cause dry eye disease. inflammation: xiidra? no! it can provide lasting relief. xiidra is the only fda-approved non-steroid treatment specifically for the signs and symptoms of dry eye disease. one drop in each eye, twice a day. don't use if you're allergic to xiidra. common side effects, include eye irritation, discomfort or blurred vision when applied to the eye, and unusual taste sensation. don't touch container tip to your eye or any surface.
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>> better things is about single mom raising her three daughters on her own. >> you're my mom. i want you to know if i want to have sex or get high. >> it's dirty, it's fountain. >> no. hide things from me. please! >> it's an example of the way the family sitcom have adapted to the 21st century. >> where's the broom? >> what are you? going to be a witch? >> no. i'm going to be a useless housewife from the 50s. >> if you look back to the 50s, there was a lot of confines on what family looked like and what was acceptable and what wasn't. >> hi. >> it was the first show that deviated from the perfect pleasantville nuclear family. >> i'm going to blow this up, mr. douglas. >> no, eddie. i don't think i'll make that same mistake again.
>> it was a show about a single dad. he was a widower with trhree bos trying to raise them in an all male household. everybody had to do something, everybody had to pitch in. we were doing dishings, darning socks. these are the things you november saw in ozzy and harriet or leave it to beaver. >> when you watch a show that's based on losing someone, that adds a deep rooted truth to the hardness of life. and then it gives comedy even more of a reason to go as crazy as you want to go. >> i think that shirt's done. >> my shirt! >> you'll just have to wear your pants higher. >> you see the sitcom move away from telling stories solely focused on the nuclear suburban family.
>> divorce of course had become more prevalent in the 60s but had become more of a part of normal life, but it took a while for it to be reflected in sitcoms. >> the brady bunch is the story of two separate families being glued together. a map with three boys, a woman with tree girls. the map was a widower and the woman divorced. dworgs was a taboo topic. they said just leave it so you don't know. >> stop yelling. >> i'm just trying to find out what they did with my school aw award. >> it was an evolution. it was shown from the kids' point of view. >> you lend me my skate key? >> i'm not lending anything to a snitcher. >> it's all about what children are having problems with, their appearance or their school work or friends.
>> you know, oh, you broke the vase. it was those kinds of every day problems. >> marsha, i'm proud to be your sister. no matter how troubled you look. >> thanks a lot! >> this is airing in the nix op era when vietnam is raging around people are losing faith in government. all these things were happening and the brady bunch was kind of a refuge. >> watching the brady bunch and having all these brothers and sister, it was a great get-away for me. >> the brady bunch was a huge success for abc that led to the partridge family which attracted a young hungry audience. >> hey, kids. hollywood boulevard. >> we travel around doing shows. ♪ >> i was for sure going to marry david cassidy. that was going to happen.
the partridge family is trying to embrace this like hippy cool culture. >> what did you hit,s mom? >> i think it was a studebaker. >> you crazy hippies. not enough you don't trust anyone over 30. now you're trying to wipe us out. >> it takes this phenomenon of counterculture and makes it very safe. >> relax, mom. but just remember, our whole future depends on these next few minutes. >> it was an escape from the real world for a lot of people. >> in new york with protests is met by construction workers and kent state in ohio, four students are killed. >> but some people didn't want to hide from what was happening. >> people were, no, we want to hear about all this stuff and how it's affecting our families. that's when shows like all in the family started coming on. >> he was at the beginning of his career and looking for a show he could make his own.
he was turned on to a british series called till death do us part. >> it was about a bigoted father. that was the way i grew up. and i knew i had a show ch. >> they shot the pilot at abc. featured carroll oh conor and carol sfapleton as archie and edith. >> i know we had a couple of pinko ts in the house but i didn't know we had an atheist. >> they felt the chemistry wasn't there between the parents and kids. >> asked me again with two different young people. >> we don't see any evidence of god. that's all. >> that's right, daddy. >> a couple of people's in our house but i didn't know we had a pair of atheists. >> the network freaks out about whether the public will be able to watch this show.
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♪ dream on ♪ ♪ dream on ♪ ♪ dream on ♪ - yes! ♪ ahhhhhhh ♪ ♪ dream until your dreams come true ♪ in 1970, cbs is trying to change the landscape. they had rural sitcoms. they were looking for more sophisticated sitcoms. after abc declined to move forward with the all in the family pilot, norman leer made
the decision to move the show to cbs. >> i said yes, but you need a new set of kids. so rob reiner and i were the third set of children for ampy and edith bunker. >> so i made the pilot for the third time, same script. i wouldn't change a word. >> so let's hear it again. huh? what did you mean by "what god?" >> we just don't see any evidence of god, that's all. >> that's right, daddy. >> that's right, daddy. we had a couple of pinkos in this house but i didn't know we had atheists. >> i realized, my god, the ground is shaking under me. >> i'm going to tell you something. >> michael. >> we reach over each other at the table and we have arguments and -- >> because guys like you aren't willing to give the black man and all the other minorities that work hard the american dream. >> that didn't happen before. we got real.
political strife, interpersonal issues, generation gaps, and they're dealing with it all in the family. >> i suppose you're going to tell me that the black man has had the same opportunity in this country that you? >> more. he's had more. i didn't have no million people out there marching getting me a job. >> now his uncle got it for him. >> he was saying things you don say on television. >> just because a guy is sensitive and he's an intellectual and wears glasses, you make him out to be a queer. >> a guy who wears glasses is a four eyes. the other is a queer. >> it was jaw dropping. it was funny but it was very challenging, and you realized norman leer is taking us into a whole new realm of comedy. >> the blowback from the public was buried by the excitement and the applause.
the show was number one for a long time. >> it changed cbs an their brand as a network. as a result of all in the family they turned to normal leer to create more shows in that image. >> there's a person at the door. >> bea author played maude as edith's cousin on all in the family. >> maudy is here. >> and she could take on archie heads to head. >> you can come to the table and eat or you can lie there and feed off your own fat. >> the story goes that by the time that episode has aired, fred silverman who was in charge of cbs at the time had called norman leer and said get that woman her own show. ♪ and then there's maude ♪ anything but tranquilizing right on maude ♪
it was not your all american family. >> you're getting senile in your old age. >> thank you, darling. i only hope i live long enough to be a burden to you. >> she's an independent strong woman. she was married to her fourth husband walter, played by bill macy. >> i don't have time to fix you some breakfast. here have some cold knock burst. >> i still to this day if somebody pisses me off i'll say god will get you for that wanter. >> god will get you for that, wa walter. >> it was the first time we saw a woman who wasn't afraid to speak her mind at the center of a family sitcom. >> maude made florida, who was a great character. >> i'm henry evans. >> her husband made an appearance. >> damn proud of you, florida. le just i don't want you to be a
made no maid no more. >> that's how you got through school. >> when they finished this scene we thought let's fill that out. ♪ good times ♪ ♪ anytime you need a payment ♪ ♪ anytime you need a friend ♪ >> that's the first time you saw a black family on television. >> j.j., your mouth is always ahead of your think piece. >> james, this family ain't ozzy and harriet. >> you were very different and other sitcom families from the point that we were urban. trying to survive on the south side of chicago with a dad that has spotty job situations. >> it's a cold world out there, and we can't change it. >> well, maybe we can't change it, james, but we sho can let us
change us. >> good times was to show not only the problems but to show the love of a minority family. >> you're standing in the used car lot of love. >> in 20 years we only turned out one clunker. >> the idea of white families seeing things on an episode of good times that they could relate to their own experience. that is a power that cannot be duplicated with hours of conversation. it showed how they weren't afraid to discuss social issues that had formerly been taboo. ♪ this is it ♪ when you get to something like one day at a time, the single mother in that show is divorced. that was unusual for division. >> i haven't had a happy minute. sure was different before the divorce when daddy was around. >> i know. you used to wrap him around your little finger.
>> all the single parents before had been. so television begins to catch up with who we are. >> what you doing, mom? >> i am circling the jobs for which it would appear i'm qualified. >> i don't see any circles. >> exactly. >> it was 70s. women were feeling empowered to have lives of their own and still have a family. >> darling, would you like to tell me what's going on? [ yelling ] >> showing what a family goes through, showing what it's like to raise two daughters in a divorce. >> we'll make it. i promise. >> i love you. >> you grow up in families and we all share these experiences in one way or another. >> one day at a time, all in the family, maude, good times, all these family sitcoms, they just owned the top ten.
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relevant sitcoms and really the sitcoms started to die away. dramas had really taken over. the soaps were so, dynasty, dallas, magnum p.i., and so you saw the family sitcom really strive to find a new identity. >> i can't believe you guys can watch this. i look ridiculous. >> it was one of the great premises in sitcom history. >> half a million people trying to stop a senseless floor. is that ridiculous? >> i'm talking about the youchts. >> they grow up and in the 80s they find themselves with this young republican son. >> well, how do i look? >> middle aged. >> it was about the clashes between two generations. >> you're young. you shouldn't be worried about success. you should be able to hopping on a tramp steamer and going around the world. >> the 60s are over, dad.
>> thanks for the tip. >> family ties is a reversal, in many ways, of all in the family. except you have the liberal parents and the conservative child. >> i found a copy of the wall street journal. >> michael was just wonderful. he's -- he was young and energetic. and he had such good timing. >> who did this? >> we started rather slowly. nbc was moving us around a little bit, trying to find the right place for us. >> family ties pumped a little bit of life into the family sitcom. but the sitcom in general had been pronounced dead. there were very few on the air and then all of a sudden comes the cosby show in '84. >> can i have an advance? >> you're backed up to your 50th birthday. >> the cosby show was a game
changer to me. this is a family i adored. present history has tainted that a little bit. it didn't stop the fact that that was a ground breaking experience. >> we had this really sort of idyllic family. clair was a lawyer. he was a doctor. there was a very natural chemistry between cliff huxtable and clair and their children that wasn't cliche black poverty. >> son, your mother asked me to come up here and kill you. how do you expect to get into college with grades like this? >> no problem. >> there's a much more conservative paradigm that is driving the cosby show. >> instead of acting, disappointing because i'm not like you. maybe you can just accept who i am and love me anyway. >> in any other sitcom, that would be the moment where the music would start and the father
would embrace the son and say something really encouraging. >> theo. that's the dumbist thing i've ever heard in my life! >> you could hear the audience gasp, because this is like a strong father who's going to say to his son, as he said, you know, i. >> brought you in this world and i'll take you out. >> the audience cheered because it was like the parents are saying, yes, we're taking back the house. >> i just want you to do the best you can. >> there was such a love and camaraderie in the huxtable family that i think you had a universal audience. we got super bowl ratings every single week and they're tupg in because everybody wants to be a huxtable. >> the cosby revitalized the sitcom. >> let's put cosby at 8:00, family ties at 8:30. >> and family ties went dum in
the worst way. >> nbc really created this idea of must-see tv. you're talking about 20 and 30 and 40 million people tuning in. >> people say you were one of america's most successful fathers. i say no. it was bill cosby. he was number one. >> with respect to what's happened of late, it's hugely disappointing to all of us, but he set the standard for what a family sitcom was. >>st cosby show had proven that the family sitcom was a viable j genre again. >> by the late '80s, sitcoms were popular among the big three networks. there was this incredible resurgence. >> this is great. >> families tuned in to see an
aspirational version of what family life could be. >> it was like silver spoons and growing pains and all that. it's constant hugging and learning, right? >> with the family sitcom at the height of its popularity, fox started moving into the television arena. >> fox was new, building their network. they were one of the last majors to build a network. >> they decided they were going to use the family sitcom to do that and compete against the big three. >> look at our little girl. we don't really have to go to a recital, do you? >> they wound up going in a completely opposite direction. sort of the anti-in a way, anti-family sitcom. >> apologize to your sister. >> no. >> ok. >> married with children is full of trash people that do horrible things and say horrible things. >> you moron! >> you were always aware they were just wise guys zinging each
other. >> how can you sell the family play playboy. >> i haven't worn it since grandma's funeral. >> it helped put fox on the map. >> a darker family presentation spoke to people who were bored. >> would you stand close together and bring the shotgun? from maybelline new york. limitless length plus volume. sensational from every angle. lash sensational sky high mascara. only from maybelline new york. it's an important time to save. with priceline, you can get up to 60% off amazing hotels. and when you get a big deal... you feel like a big deal. ♪ priceline. every trip is a big deal. all denny's pancakes are made to order with fresh buttermilk.
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like roseanne and married with children. >> talk is cheap. >> on the other hand, you had shows that are kind of going back to a more whole some story telling. you see that on abc's home improvement. ♪ >> in a proud stroke, what home improvement did is first off, it made a stable family and a loving family. >> no running in the house! >> hold the ball with both hands so you don't fumble. >> but also i really wanted to find out what made men tick. >> there's that -- >> feeling cold steel hanging on your hip. >> tim taylor has his own home improvement show called tooltime. >> what do we need? >> more power. >> more power was my moniker my whole life, plus the grunting.
[ grunts ] >> under no circumstances do you feel the female sex as if they're housekeepers put here to wait on you hand and foot. >> honey, you want to pop that in the washer for me? >> what was great about our family was that even though we disagreed. >> i think i'll just pop with one out of here. >> we loved each other and always made up. >> home imbroouchlt was proof that a traditional sitcom could still be a hit. through the 90s we continued to see the family change. we saw people having children much later in life and if family sitcom reflected that. >> in mad about you, the marriage itself was the premise of the show. >> a strong woman character against a strong male character, so the fireworks just kept
happening. watching how two people try to love each other over time. >> it doesn't bother you that we haven't had sex in five days? >> hello. >> you go to a party and you and your wife having fun. say gpt. get in the car. the minute the car door closes, that's the show. >> what's going on? >> we're married five months and the sexual part is over. >> i thought you understood that. i'm sorry. that's what happens. i play checkers in the park achld yand you start arguing with buses. >> not funny. >> people who can voice their opinion about fear and be awful and apologize and find a dry spell in the marriage and then find the heat again. people were representing to it and aspiring to it. >> more. that made it very much its own. >> early on season one, i think
the network said you guys should have a kid. no, no, no. that's too soon. season two. they were like annoying inlaws. when are going to try? we'll let you know. on raymond, you never saw the kids. >> hi. mom. >> hi. you didn't call. >> hi, debra. >> we wanted to focus on the marriage and the relationship with the parents. >> hi. i'm ray and i live here in long island with my wife debra. >> in the very first season ray says in the opening credits -- >> it's not really ak the kids. >> it's not about the kids. >> i say that for every year you're over 40, you should add an inch to the hemline of your dress. >> you should be dragging around a persian rug. >> we all have parents who despite our best efforts reject all of our kindness and it
backfires. >> who would use bleach on these towels. >> they just seemed a little yellowy. >> they're yellow towels! >> we come into a family. we need a family. love them or hate them. that's who we were given. >> the success of cosby resurrected the sitcom and because of that ushered in a lot of other great story telling. when the cosby show went off the air, we did have other black family sitcoms to fill that void. one of them was the fresh prince which was another version of aspirational black family wealth. >> so many of us living in this neighborhood. we doing all right, huh? >> fox networks were the first that took risks with minorities. >> i think it's vital that people of color write their own stories because that's where the ah anthony advertisity comes
from. >> we tired. >> should be. kept us up all night. we should be the ones crying. >> we saw black family sitcoms like martin, like the bernie mack show. those sitcoms showed parenting to be di. he's too old. can we play something else? >> which was not something you saw on a show like the cosby show. >> get in the bathroom and watch the pee off the toilet seat! disgusting! >> fox network had come on and did really well with blacks, so o then the wb and upn at the time were coming on and they started to diversify and then grow that audience. >> they are able to snatch up this audience that the other networks were really ignoring up to until that point. >> so these shows kind of set the stage for the diversity from the family sitcom that can be
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wakes up on a beach in florida half naked, i've done my job. >> our job. >> right. i've done our job. >> late 90s, early 2000s, you see the popularity of reality television, and it had a huge impact on the family sitcom. >> everything was reality sells back then. the sitcom was pronounced dead again. so chris lloyd and i said what's a new way to do a family show? i said what if we shoot a documentary style, and instead of focussing on one family, what if we focused on multiple families. >> dad! >> what happened? >> luke just shot me. >> we want to portray these characters as real. >> i didn't mean to. >> did you mean to? >> no. >> language! >> you can't have a kid software like that and i said that line came from my daughter. my attitude about it is telling stories from our own lives and
not being afraid of those stories, that's what people can represent to. >> i'm gloria, mappy's mother. >> you must be his dad. >> no. i'm her husband. don't be fooled like the -- give me a second. >> they don't look like they would be a family, but they are. >> is that us with flings? >> i was really taken by the portrayal of a gay couple as part of an equal in the cast. >> no, no, no. stop. you come into my house and you insult me and my boyfriend, who by the way, is not that dramatic. ♪ >> so when he actually reveals the theme song from lion
kings. >> in this family do we kick and puchl each of or do we love each other? >> love each other. >> that's right. >> modern family took this genre that seemed kind of played out, updated and breathed back into the family sitcom. after that, we start to see more prospectiest, fresh perspectives. >> you're going to love orlando. we've grown to love her like the daughter we wish devin had been. >> in fresh off the boat, an asian american centers the narrative, as opposed to being like the butt of the joke. >> give a warm welcome to hangi -- >> call me eddie. >> oh, thank god. >> it's about an asian american family that moves from a multi-cultural city to a very
white suburban town. >> well, hi. welcome to the neighborhood. this is amanda. >> it was a good window into how mainstream dull chur could feel strange to somebody else. >> fresh off the boat made a major impact and proving to the industry that a show like this can be successful. >> still, to this day i get people on the street who come up to me in tears saying how meaningful it was seeing themselves represented and feeling like you are a par of america. >> it's a part of a progression of representation in tv. >> ok. so i'm just your standard regular old incredibly handsome unbelievably this is my wife. >> blackish is a family sitcom that is interested in talking about topics of racial identity in ways that television is sometimes uncomfortable about discussing. >> you're not serious about
naming our kid dovonte, are you? >> i want a strong black name. >> oh, boy. >> we've gech our kids white names and they've ended up blackish. >> he wants them to know their heritage. >> i want at least one of my kids to end up being black to i could love it. >> where the cosby show was a more safe kind of here's us living every day, the blackish family is unapologetic about their blackness in the way we haven't seen on prime-time television before. >> so next saturday when you turn 13 you're becoming a man, too. a black man. because i'm throws you an african rites of passage ceremony. >> that does not sound as fun. >> no, it does not. >> blackish was a blow that was good at talking about individual social issues in a way we haven't seen since norman leer. >> that brings us up to one day
at a time. >> i get it! we're cuban. >> it follows three generations of latinas. everything that we would get into as a normal family but it also tackles a lot of things that are going on in the world that normally are see as taboo, like queer issues. >> how are we at telling him? >> it's ok. >> i like girls. >> we have something in common. >> there's ptsd with the mom, anxiety and depression. >> what did he call you? >> build the wall. >> oh, my god. >> i think it allows audiences to have those conversations in their own living rooms. >> even in this openly racist world, i want us to never have an incident. >> you and your brother are of different shades. >> yes. >> if you put something in your show that's shocking and
radical, the hope is in five years time, it's going to be more normal. >> who even decides what latinx looks like. >> i always thought you looked like ann hathaway. >> telling stories about an america i don't always see on television in ways that are funny and fresh and invigorating. if you look at the best family sitcoms on tv right now, that's what they're doing. >> want to know what's up? this lying american family is headed to their american home. >> that is so cool. >> anne hathaway just totally stood up for this mexican.
i'm not obsessed with sex. i just can't stop thinking about it. >> sexuality has come a long way in sitcom history. >> can you donate a penis to a person who's transitioning? >> laughter is a great way to deal with a tricky world. >> daddy horny, michael. >> sitcoms talk about sex. >> my underwear. >> my god. >> and about relationships. >> i'm breaking up with him tonight. >> these shows changed the way that we think about sexuality. >> for god's sake, ellen, tell him you're gay. >> you're talking about gay rights. you're talking about women's rights. >> gender diversity. >> dismantling the patriarchy. >> you know, sexual revolution. >> so i'm officially out of men to [ bleep ]. i have to get married or move. >> but if you can make them laugh, then maybe we'll watch it again. ♪