with Sarah Michelle Geller guest starring as herself
"Passion Fish" (Episode 16 Season 1) Originally aired 16 February 2001.
Directed by Darren Star (Executive Producer of Sex and the City).
A satire dealing with the lives of five actors who star in a fictional high school drama called "Grosse Pointe". With Irene Molloy and Al Santos. Joley Fisher (Hope Lustig in 5 episodes) was Paige Clark on ELLEN. William Ragsdale (Rob Fields) was Dan in 4 episodes of ELLEN.
Gellar's appearance here seems to have two purposes. The first is an obvious attempt to save this series (which was cancelled at the end of the first season anyway). This was the penultimate episode, and the last ep featured an appearance by Dweezil Zappa. The other purpose might well have been to dispell any rumors that Gellar might be gay. There is a line in this episode from another character to the effect that "there's only room for one lesbian star in this town and Ellen is already here.". Ok that's probably a paraphrase, not a quote.
The episode title is an homage to the 1992 John Sayles film PASSION FISH, which dealt with a former soap opera star, Mary Alice Culhane, who is permanently confined to a wheelchair after a car accident, and her nurse. The film focused on how these two women become friends and help each other heal emotionally. (Sayles also did BROTHER FROM ANOTHER PLANET, and RETURN OF THE SEACAUCUS SEVEN.) Mary McDonnell, played Culhane, and she also was President Laura Roslin in BATTLESTAR GALACTICA.