Ellen and Izzy: A Tale from the WGA Strike

05/25/2011 12:15 pm ET
  • Sherman Yellen Screenwriter, Playwright, Lyricist, author of forthcoming memoir of a New York boyhood, "Spotless."

Just when you thought nothing worse could happen to Ellen DeG after her unfortunate canine adoption caper, comes the writer's strike bringing fresh grief to America's TV Sweetheart. It appears that the endearing talk show personality is one of the few stars who continue to cross the picket lines to satisfy her fans craving for her electronic company. She is known in the trade as crack for retired schoolteachers and aging break-dancers who cannot go a day without being exposed to Ellen moving her shoulders in her inimitable oohlah-boolah dance and watching her pass out parcels of peanut brittle and self-help books to her audience. Because Ellen crossed that picket line she received some harsh words from a few angry members of the WGA who regarded this as an act of betrayal by a colleague who claimed to support the writers in their efforts to get a fair share of the TV peanut brittle. Well, we have been advised by our sources at the WGA that Ellen has tried to make amends. She has gone to the Guild to adopt an unemployed writer who is suffering homelessness because of the strike -- the strike of '88. Thus she took Izzy Unterrmeyer who last worked as a staff writer on I Love Lucy home with her to help him get by during these hard times.

At first all went well. Izzy traded jokes with Ellen and rolled his eyes like Groucho at the gorgeous Portia to everyone's amusement. Laughter and joy resounded through the charming and congenial DeGeneris cottage. Then it was discovered that Izzy was eating the cat food out of the cat bowls every evening when the women were busy crocheting sweaters and knitting socks for the chilly WGA picketers. When faced by the bellowing cats who looked accusingly at Izzy, the guild-ridden guilt-ridden writer confessed that he had been living on a steady diet of Fancy Feast for at least twenty years, since he received no residuals from the Lucy show, and the only other job he had was as a staff writer on the Roseanne Show -- a gig that lasted less than a day. He sorrowfully expressed his regret at having stolen food from the porcelain bowls of the famished DeGeneris-DiRossi cats. But this proved too much for Ellen and Portia and their felines; their hospitality had been sorely abused so Izzy was sent to live with Ellen's chiropractor (who is on her weekly payroll should her shoulders ever be wrenched by her energetic lunar dancing). That chiropractor had a young daughter who developed a real love for Izzy, a grandfather figure who regaled her with tales of Lucy and Ethel and how Fred Mertz broke wind noisily whenever Desi sang and Lucy danced in an effort to break them all up. Alas, the WGA found out about this new placement for the hapless Izzy, done without their knowledge or consent, and came to take him back to headquarters where he was placed with a very nice family of kindly Scandinavian Dry Cleaners in Burbank who keep him provided with Tender Vittles in the shape of Swedish meat balls -- no Fancy Feast -- but Izzy is adjusting nicely to his new home and diet.

The question arises, will Ellen now go on TV and weep copiously for the lost Izzy, and the poor chiropractor's child who so misses Izzy's tales of Lucy and Ethel and Fred and the foul mouthed grandfather figure she had come to revere? And will the weeping Ellen's outraged fans threaten the WGA with violence for intervening in this matter and making the soft hearted Ellen suffer more grief? Or will Ellen learn that a picket line is no picket fence for those who march? It's about survival.

Read more about the strike on the Huffington Post's writers' strike page.