The Trailer for Ellen’s New Lesbian Sitcom is Here, Queer and Pregnant

Over the weekend, the Television Critics Association wrapped its winter press tour, the biannual event where broadcast TV networks roll out the commercials and trot out the casts for their upcoming shows, and send in the big bosses to answer questions about why there still aren’t more queer people, women people, and people of color people on television. Sometimes, though, the networks do have a gay thing to give and this time it was NBC unleashing a trailer for its new Ellen Degeneres-produced lesbian sitcom, One Big Happy, a thing Riese told you about a whole year ago!

Let’s watch and discuss.

So what we have here — in case your eyeballs and ears aren’t working or you are in class/at work and can’t watch this video — is the story of a lesbian named Lizzy (played by Elisha Cuthbert) who decides to have a baby with her straight best friend named Luke (played by Nick Zano) who meets the love of his life named Prudence (played by Kelly Brook) after Lizzy is already pregnant. And together they become One Big Happy (Family). So, like, season one of Friends meets season seven of Will & Grace, but written by and based on the life of hilarious lesbian lady Liz Feldman.

I agree, I agree. The premise is kind of ’90s trope-y and the show is super duper white, but isn’t there a very real part of you that wants to put this video in a time machine and travel back to 1997 when Ellen came out in real life and on her sitcom, and the Religious Right kept calling her “Ellen Degenerate,” and Republicans even boycotted pencils because that’s what she used to write her homosexual show? And now she’s America’s sweetheart, introducing a new lesbian sitcom without introducing herself because the whole world knows who she is (and adores her), and she says we’re going to love it because there’s a lesbian in it? Don’t you just want to hop out of a time machine, waggling your phone around and show Ellen where she landed?

It’d just a nice full-circle It Gets Better moment, you know? And also you could be like, “You should start watching Ally McBeal, Ellen. You’re gonna f*cking love Ally McBeal.

At TCA, Ellen told the One Big Happy panel:

“It’s a very funny show — it just happens to have a lesbian character on it. What’s going to be great about this show is [the characters are] people you’ll love and watch, and you won’t think twice about any of it being ‘weird.’ It’s obviously a more accepting world that we live in, for the most part … But I don’t focus on that. I just look at it as a funny show.”

She also said by 2030, we’ll be ready for a broadcast TV show with all gay main characters and a token straight person. (I guess she doesn’t watch Pretty Little Liars?) The show lands on March 17th on NBC and the tagline is: “Gay mom. Straight dad. New wife.”

Oh, and you’ll be happy to hear Lizzy gets pregnant without actually having sex with Luke. Now if she makes it through the first season alive and gets herself a lady-love interest to kiss with an open mouth, we’ll be blowing those queer TV tropes right out of the water.

Thoughts/feelings/hopes/dreams about One Big Happy? I’m excited! But let’s talk it out, like we do.

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Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1718 articles for us.


  1. Okay the Dad-Husband hand gesture bit was really funny. The guy character reminds me of the guy character on Reba who marries Cheyenne. Why can’t I remember any of these people’s names? I’m getting old.

    • I think maybe my initial optimism was mostly related to this strudel I was eating, because now the whole strudel is gone and my stomach aches a little bit from being too full and I am less and less excited because once again I am reminded that mostly we live in a patriarchal racist cisheteronormative wasteland.
      I miss you, optimistic strudel!

  2. I’m willing to withhold some judgment, but I feel like I’m going to hate her guy best friend..

  3. Not excited at all, a knocked up lesbian, main characters a straight couple. No relationship for the lesbian. We do not have sex with men, you see a lesbian is a women who dates, loves and has sex with women. The producers of this seem to have forgotten that small detail.

    • I hear you, but just because she doesn’t currently have a relationship doesn’t mean she won’t eventually. There are plenty of us lesbian/queer women who aren’t currently partnered, and I know at least a handful who were like “screw it, I’m not gonna wait for a partner to have a baby.” So I’m hopeful that they will show her navigating dating as a single lesbian momma.

      • That is true, I think my reaction is just a gut reaction to the usual stereotypes. I do like Liz and Ellen though, so maybe I’ll just record them, then read the comments about it and decide if I want to invest my time. I hope I am wrong about my gut, and if I am I’ll be happy to eat my words.

    • And it does say that they don’t actually have sex in order for her to get pregnant! So that’s good at least.

  4. I feel so conflicted about this, because, like…Ellen. And Elisha Cuthbert. And I’m probably the only one ever to say this, but I LOVVVVVE Nick Zano immensely, from way back when he was bffs with Amanda Bynes on What I Like About You.
    At the same time, I think this show relies on a shitload of stereotypes and seems to focus more on the straight couple than the lesbian. She’s just an awkward third wheel. And ALSO, I’d rather see a lesbian using a known sperm donor as just that instead of intending to coparent with him.

    • From the trailer it actually felt like the straight girl was the third wheel and the whole her getting naked in the kitchen bit was the only part that felt off. Like, she’s only going to be here for giggles, between their real and solid friendship. I don’t know.

  5. I’m sorry, but this looks awful. It feels trope-y and mainstream (“ask a lesbian if you’re hot”? Really?). Ellen, you can do better.

    ….that said, a lot of us (myself included) wrote off “Faking it” which turned out to be not horrible. But I still maintain: Ellen, you can do better.

  6. Slightly off-topic, but saying “in case your eyeballs and ears aren’t working” is pretty othering to Deaf and blind community members. Please be more mindful of your language in the future.

  7. I’m a little frustrated that people keep slamming the show with comments about what it “should” be. It’s pretty common for writers to write about their own experiences, and if this is her story, she shouldn’t be shamed for creating something from a place of truth.

    Also, Liz Feldman is hilarious. I’ve always enjoyed her standup and “This Just Out,” so I can at the very least watch the show before I judge it.

    The fact that Erin Foley’s also on board as a writer is another bonus. THIS COULD BE FUNNY.

    • I agree with you wholeheartedly! I am coming into this show as a fan of Ellen, Liz Feldman, and Erin Foley. I particularly love Liz Feldman – “This Just Out” helped me gain the courage to come out.

      I am not going in with blinders, I am going into this with a tentative hope and optimism.

      I just don’t see a point in trashing something until I’ve actually seen it.

  8. It would be so much better if it was the pregnant lesbian who got married and they live with the straight guy best friend.

    • Yeah! I wanted this to be about a lesbian couple. Not about a straight couple with a lesbian 3rd-wheel. We already have that in Marry Me. Oh well. At least we’re slowly creeping into the mainstream.

  9. Things I am trying to keep in mind: 1. comedy trailers aren’t (in my experience) strong predictors of how funny something will actually be, 2. Elisha Cuthbert’s presence usually is, 3. it’s based in an actual human’s experience, which hopefully will mean good things

    This does not look good

  10. Hannah Hart had an interesting take on this on tumblr today, though I think she may have forgotten this is based on real life experiences of a gay woman.

  11. Look, I don’t know which TV exec is working on my life story, but they have so many of the details wrong. I introduced my best friend and his girlfriend BEFORE we decided to have a baby together, he’s the bartender, not her, and my hair is not that long.

  12. I know it’s based on a true story, but that doesn’t guarantee it’s interesting. As others have said, it sounds dated and a bit derivative. But it’s got Ellen Piwer TM, and she’s learned a thing or two about TV, so who knows? Conflicted.

    Marginally related but not really: I was playing MASHIT (no, my age is not at all relevant here) and got Ellen as my wife. But I don’t want to break up her marriage, so does a Sister Wives thing seem reasonable? Based on the 100% accuracy of that game.

  13. Yikes at that suicide joke in the trailer. Not a good look.

    Lesbian main character aside, the whole thing feels pretty stale and underwhelming. I’d love to be proven wrong, though.

  14. Can this show be used as compost to grow better lesbian shows? Turn it back into the soil and use to nurture better storylines and jokes.

  15. Did you mean “semi-annual”, as in happens twice a year? It doesn’t make any sense for new TV shows to be shown to the press every two years.

  16. Since Kelly Brooke has no previously discernible acting talent, I’m not convinced on this one. Also, from the stills I’ve seen (uk poster) the guy looks like a dude bro, which also makes it look less than fun.
    Finally, I’m so over the pregnant lesbian trope.

    So, all in all, meh!

  17. Basically, I’m in agreement with Steph on this one.

    Wow! A show written and produced by two of our most talented out and proud ladies!? A show centered on a lesbian who decided to have a baby with her best friend? And our community isn’t excited and supportive? What is with all the negativity in response to this trailer? This show is based on a real lesbian’s life and we are already knocking it down? I just don’t understand. Maybe because I’m older and I remember when Ellen came out on her sitcom and the resulting crash of her career. Then she rose like a beautiful lesbian Phoenix and is slowly changing the world and the reception of us gays everyday.

    So obviously lots of you are bored with the pregnant lesbian theme… My partner and I, who are using our best friend’s sperm, are def not bored with it. I doubt we are the only lesbian couple interested in watching a family with a lesbian at the head of it.

    I am not saying you have to watch and enjoy every queer themed show or movie just because you’re family. That’s silly…. But keep in mind that every negative thing you say is already being said thousands of times by people that don’t want us to be viewed as “normal.” Why add fuel to the fire? If you don’t like it, that’s totally fine. But please wait until it airs before you start tearing it down. And please be constructive in your criticism.

    • SB,

      Maybe because we are still waiting to see our stories told, and it has nothing to do with age, I am older too. I love Ellen & Liz and I remember the impact on her career coming out had. I am being constructive in my criticism, I think it’s just a lot of gut reactions because the last year hasn’t been kind to lesbians. Killing us off in record numbers just when we get attached to the characters and the storyline. I’m going to record it and read the comments before I choose to watch. I want a show I can relate too. There are enough family sitcom shows, I didn’t want another Will and Grace. I didn’t like that one either.

  18. is it necessary to call it a “lesbian” sitcom? Is it on the same night as “straight” drama SVU?

  19. Excited, definitely! One of the things that’s always turned me off from sitcoms is tasteless sexuality jokes, but coming from an actual queer person like Ellen I’m definitely optimistic about this one. I’ll definitely watch it.

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