Not long after the news broke that Brittany Murphy had died on Sunday morning, NBC Universal removed from NBC.com and Hulu clips of a recent ‘Saturday Night Live‘ skit that lampooned the 32-year-old actress.
The seemingly courteous gesture has drawn fire from a few entertainment bloggers who wonder if NBC is trying to “hide” the skit and pretend it was never broadcast in the first place. One network insider, however, assures us that NBC was simply being “sensitive to the fact that it was a not-so-flattering portrayal” of the since-deceased Murphy.
During the Weekend Update segment of the December 5 ‘SNL,’ cast member Abby Elliott showed up as Murphy. Mimicking the actress’ distinct voice and mannerisms, Elliot depicted her as confused about her appearance on the program, mistakenly believing that she (not Taylor Lautner) was the guest host.
The segment was as random as it was prescient, seeing as Murphy had been lying low, far off the pop culture radar. Instead, it played off a minor news report about the actress being fired from a film.
Although the ‘SNL’ bit at worst depicted Murphy as disoriented, 20/20 hindsight has moved some online critics to question why the NBC series satirized the actress at all. A few bloggers have even cast aspersion on NBC’s decision to pull the clip, suggesting it was not a magnanimous gesture but a revisionist one. EdRants.com, for one, has posted a full transcript of the now hard-to-find sketch “so that people can be informed of what NBC is attempting to hide from the public.”
NBC has declined to issue a statement about its decision to remove the clip from web sites.