26: “Smart, Clean, Totally Decent Human Being… Gay!” – The Birdcage, Ellen and In & Out


Come one, come all, and COME OUT ALREADY for When We Were Young’s most same-sex-loving episode yet! In honor of Coming Out Day, Episode 26 takes a furtive glance back at the gay 90s, which marked a sea change in pop culture’s depictions of people who are — yep! — gay.

First, our hosts coop up in The Birdcage, Mike Nichols’ 1996 comedy that pushes Robin Williams and Nathan Lane back in the closet to appease Ally McBeal’s right-wing parents. Next, we touch on Ellen DeGeneres’ game-changing “Puppy Episode,” the coming out party heard ’round the world. And finally, we celebrate the 20th out-iversary of In & Out, starring Kevin Kline as a small-town teacher outed at the Oscars, and Joan Cusack as his increasingly desperate bride-to-be.

Plenty of social progress has been made in the days since Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and DOMA, so how do these mid-90s gay characters hold up in 2017? Practice your John Wayne walk, book some therapy with Oprah, and stop dancing to “I Will Survive,” because our hosts’ opinions of these films are definitely NOT homogeneous.

When We Were Young is a podcast devoted to the most beloved pop culture of our formative years (roughly 1980-2000). Join us for a look back to the past with a critical eye on how these movies, songs, TV shows and more hold up now. You can follow us on Twitter at @WWWYshow, on Facebook at @WWWYShow, you can Email us at, and don’t forget to subscribe and review us on iTunes!

You can help us defray the costs of creating this show, which include purchasing movies/shows/music to review, ordering delivery food to eat our emotions, and producing & editing in-house at the MFP Studio in Los Angeles CA, by donating to our Patreon account at