"The Puppy Episode" is a two-part episode of the situation comedy television series Ellen. The episode details lead character Ellen Morgan's realization that she is a lesbian and her coming out. It was the 22nd and 23rd episode of the series' 4th season. The episode was written by series star Ellen DeGeneres with Mark Driscoll, Tracy Newman, Dava Savel and Jonathan Stark and directed by Gil Junger. It originally aired on ABC on April 30, 1997.
DeGeneres began negotiating with ABC in 1996 to have Morgan come out. When word of the negotiations got out, DeGeneres found herself at the center of intense speculation about when she or her character, or both, would come out. With DeGeneres hinting at her and her character's coming out both within the show and off-screen, the rumors were confirmed when the episode went into production in March 1997. Despite threats from advertisers and right-wing pressure groups, "The Puppy Episode" was an enormous ratings success, won multiple awards and became a cultural phenomenon. Regardless of the episode's success, DeGeneres and her show quickly garnered criticism for being "too gay"; the series was canceled after one more season and DeGeneres and guest star Laura Dern faced career backlash.