‘I get mad’: Ellen’s dramatic return to TV
Ellen DeGeneres' muh-anticipated TV return has been met with a mixed reaction from viewers and critics, with many criticising the apology she delivered at the beginning of the 18th season premiere of her embattled talk show.
Ellen spent her opening monologue addressing the scandalous toxic workplace rumours that have plagued her for months. She admitted she's a "work in progress" but pleaded to viewers that she is still "the person you see on TV".
"Sometimes I get sad. I get mad. I get anxious. I get frustrated. I get impatient. And I am working on all of that. I am a work in progress," she said, joking that that while she's a "pretty good actress" having played a "straight woman in movies" she said she isn't good enough to "come out here every day for seventeen years and fool you".
Alluding to the investigation into allegations of a toxic workplace on The Ellen Show, the star said simply they have "made the necessary changes" without revealing what those changes are, except for the fact "we are starting a new chapter".
And five minutes in, Ellen had moved on, welcoming her first guest, comedian Tiffany Haddish, to the show for a lighthearted chat about everything from hair to Haddish's celebrity boyfriend.
But some viewers weren't so ready to move on, after an ongoing scandal that's engulfed The Ellen Show for much of 2020.
Ellen’s apology:— Crutnacker (@Crutnacker) September 21, 2020
1) I had no idea the place and people I go to who work for me were in a toxic environment.
2) I’m not good enough an actor to fake nice.
3) I’m taking this so seriously I’m throwing in a bunch of jokes so my audience will validate I’m a good person.
watching Ellen’s “apology” monologue like pic.twitter.com/DKuC5nKNOZ— becca ✨ (@beccalikeya) September 21, 2020
Ellen Degeneres walked out like she was Oprah. You get a fake apology and you get a fake apology fake apologies for everyone pic.twitter.com/J2ucrs7aW2— Dad Hat Daddy (@OneChanceLance) September 21, 2020
"Ellen DeGeneres using her first monologue back after allegations of a toxic work environment to make jokes about how she's impatient and not a good enough actress to fake being a nice person for 18 years just grosses me out," wrote another Twitter user.
TV critics also questioned the apology, which was first posted to social media six hours before the season premiere of The Ellen Show.
Jezebel noted: "Absent from this speech about kindness, however, was an acknowledgment of the remarkably unkind things that allegedly happened under DeGeneres's long tenure as the head of The Ellen Show."
Writer Joan Summers said DeGeneres had followed a "tried-and-true script" for when a famous person is confronted with allegations of misconduct or abuse," and that "the gulf in her apology - between acknowledging her responsibility, and distancing herself from any direct blame - is indicative of the false facade of 'niceness' The Ellen Show presents."
Season 18 of the Ellen show will air express from the US on Foxtel's Arena from September 22 at 7.30pm weeknights.
The Daily Beast called it "a strange apology that's unlikely to appease anyone."
And Variety declared the monologue "fell short": "It's hard not to feel as though an opportunity was missed here," they wrote, imagining what had happened if DeGeneres had spoken in more detail about feeling "mad, anxious and frustrated" in the past. "Going a bit deeper - being something other than blithely kind to an audience that craves real connection - might have been welcome."
It seems that, at least for now, that brief opening monologue will be all we hear from DeGeneres semi-earnestly about the scandal that's engulfed her show this year. Minutes into the show, the star had moved on, save for a few jokes to her crew that directly addressed some of the allegations about her previous behind-the-scenes behaviour.
"Please don't look me in the eye. Kidding. But I will be passing out gum for everyone. Kidding again! Oh, I can laugh now …" she said.
Originally published as 'I get mad': Ellen's dramatic return to TV