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Talk shows are becoming increasingly popular and widespread forms of entertainment, however the underlying premise behind these shows which was originally the idea of empowering individuals and allowing them to share their experiences, has been replaced by a focus on celebrity figures and largely insignificant matters of public interest. The Ellen Degeneres show is a contemporary talk show which although does include therapeutic narratives of disadvantaged individuals including Ellen’s own struggle with discrimination, is mainly comprised of the disclosing of intimate details of celebrity lives. Through her use of humour in dealing with issues of a more serious nature, Ellen provides social commentary which effectively reaches a wide audience and has the potential to incite debate regarding certain social issues. However, it has been suggested that talk shows, in particular the Ellen Degeneres show, do not bring about substantive political or social change due to their narrow focus on the individual experience rather than the larger social issues which cause this type of behaviour. Therefore, although the Ellen Degeneres show may appear to be reworking dominant ideologies held by society, which often discriminate against minorities such as gays and lesbians, this merely distracts the public from the fact that the show is inadvertently reinforcing these ideas through it’s target audience and the limited way in which these issues are dealt with.

Conventional talk shows comprise of individuals who have been victimised or suffered a significant misfortune discussing the impact an event has had over their life and beginning to overcome the traumatic experience, however, the Ellen Degeneres show does not predominantly follow this form...

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...urnal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, 7(4), pp. 593-620
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TheEllenShow, “Kristen Bell on Her Wedding and Her Daughter”, Video Clip, YouTube, November 25, 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qWxAr8i1Vs
TheEllenShow, “Darren Criss Sings for Ellen”, Video Clip, YouTube, Feburary 2, 2011, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=649k4tPv8bI
TheEllenShow, “Jesse Tyler Ferguson’s Engagement Upset!”, Video Clip, YouTube, November 20, 2012, https://www.youtube.com.watch?v=fGmp_YoWLIQ

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