Saved By The Bell recently made headlines for airing inappropriate jokes about Selena Gomez’s kidney transplant operation. NBCUniversal immediately apologized and now its streaming service Peacock had edited them out of the episode.
The reboot series, which premiered last November 25, is a sequel to the original 90s hit sitcom of the same name. In its episode 6 titled Teen-Line, multiple jokes were made regarding Gomez and the news around her transplant. Specifically, two female students in one scene are seen arguing over who donated Gomez her new kidney. In another scene, a graffiti on a wall behind two students embracing in a hallway is used as a background. It reads, “Does Selena Gomez even have a kidney?”
Gomez went through the operation in 2017 due to complications with the autoimmune disease Lupus. While she has not commented on the situation herself, appeals from fans to NBC led the network to eventually apologize. They claim that it was never their intention to make light of Selena’s health. In a report by Uproxx, Peacock is said to have edited out the jokes from Saved By The Bell episode already. Furthermore, a donation in their name will be made to the Selena Gomez Fund for Lupus Research at USC.
Saved By The Bell Reboot: A far comparison from the original
When showrunner Tracey Wigfield said the reboot was less focused on referencing the past series, we hoped this isn’t what she meant. It is questionable as to why Saved By The Bell chose a health struggle as a topic to generate laughs. Watching the two students argue whether Demi Lovato or Justin Beiber’s mother was the organ donor doesn’t come off as a joke. Instead, it most likely appears as a trigger for Gomez, who has just recently braved showing off her resulting scar. Not only are the jokes disrespectful to the pop singer, but also to others dealing with autoimmune diseases.
The original Saved By The Bell is notable for its sensitive portrayal of important social issues. It previously explored topics like drug use, trauma, loss, and drunk driving yet dealt them with utmost seriousness and consideration. Without losing its core as a comedy show, it managed to discuss some heavy and sensitive topics.
With the jokes now edited out, Saved By The Bell reboot series had to learn its lesson the hard way. The apology and re-edit of the streaming episodes were rightful steps toward a better direction. On the downside, being one of Peacock’s most popular original shows, the reboot may have to bounce back harder from the controversy.