After news broke that actress Brittany Murphy had died, NBC-owned Hulu.com deleted a clip from NBC's "Saturday Night Live" mocking the actress. In the December 5 skit, SNL castmember Abby Elliott portrays a scattered, incoherent Murphy unable to explain why she was recently fired by producers of the horror flick "The Collar" for being a "detriment to production." Was Hulu responding sensitively to fan outcry — or just covering parent-company NBC's back with revisionist history?
Good riddance: "No wonder they took it down," writes Elizabeth Snead at entertainment blog Zap2it.com. The clip 'seemed unnecessarily cruel" when it first aired. And "it seems really cruel now" that she's passed away. "Let's just hope [Brittany Murphy] never saw it."
"SNL parody video of Brittany Murphy yanked off the internet"
The clip should have stayed up: Bad taste aside, the skit "is simply not funny," agrees blogger Edward Champion on Edrants.com. By deleting it, however, NBC is saying it's "not interested in preserving history," let alone allowing viewers to decide what's funny and what's not. And the network's further attempts to squelch the clip on YouTube has "distressing similarities to Stalinist revisionism."
"Brittany Murphy: Thoughts on the Saturday Night Live December 5, 2009 sketch"
Welcome to the future of internet spin-control: Removing the clip after Brittany Murphy's death may have been "a little awkward," says Michael Roston on True/Slant. But the deletion highlights "an interesting case of the PR problems in the digital age." Before all media was posted online, television networks could simply edit-out "below board" material from the re-runs. But in the "'everything goes' online era," that material potentially exists "in perpetuity ... to remind people what a jerk you might have been."
"Hulu disappears Saturday Night Live episode with Brittany Murphy spoof"
SEE THE WEEK's LATEST COVERAGE OF SNL:
• Jenny Slate's surprising SNL debut
• Video: SNL takes on the White House Gatecrashers
• Video: SNL's Tiger Woods press conference
• Should SNL Have made fun of New York Governor for being blind?
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The latent sexism of the male marriage proposal
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Bush vs. Clinton in 2016 is the perfect way to make millennials hate politics even more
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- The hilarious hypocrisy of Republicans complaining about the imperial presidency
- Don't blame Chuck Hagel: Obama's foreign policy has been a disaster from end to end
- How to adopt the perfect rescue dog
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
Subscribe to the Week