Published On: Thu, Feb 25th, 2021

NBC “Cancels” Nurses Episode For Awful Depiction of Orthodox Jews

Some people call this cancel culture.

NBC Show Nurses Achilles Heel

NBC has buried an episode of its hit show “Nurses” because it gave a negative, inaccurate and entirely offensive portrayal of orthodox Jews. The Canadian show follows the lives of five nurses who all work together in the same hospital. The episode titled “Achilles Heel” aired just two weeks ago.

Some people call this cancel culture. But in this case no one person was canceled, nor was the show itself. The network simply decided not to rebroadcast a specific episode.

This is not anything new. Live streaming services like Hulu and Netflix have removed episodes of many popular television shows from their services. Do you love shows like “30 Rock” and “Community”? Well each has had episodes removed from viewing because they contained racially insensitive content such as people in either black or brown face makeup.

Many people are tired of this cancel culture. But their outrage is usually reserved for when someone loses a job or has their career stifled because of a comment that they made years ago. And usually the comment was not considered offensive at the time that it was made.

But this case is different. Inaccurate and outright stereotypical portrayals of Jews on television shows has been the standard for decades. Just think about Debra Messing’s character Grace Adler from “Will and Grace.” She is the paradigm of the Jewish American stereotype. There is also Fran Drescher’s Franie Fine on the “Nanny.” And if you are even just a “cultural” Jew, try watching the “Friends” holiday armadillo episode which is somehow supposed to be about Hanukkah.

Such depictions of Judaism are usually created by Jews themselves. They are the writers, producers and even actors behind these shows. And since these people do not generally come from an orthodox background, they tend to have stereotypical and even negative views of religious Jews.

So what happened now? This episode of “Nurses” really went way too far. It depicted orthodox Jews as backward, opposed to modern medicine, sexist and even racist. The plot centers on a young Orthodox Jewish man who need to have a bone graft in his leg. This entails transplanting a section of bone taken from someone who died.

Upon hearing this the man and his father act like Jews somehow oppose any transplants. “You want to put a dead leg inside of me?” What is more, they imply that Judaism somehow prohibits a man from accepting a transplanted organ which came from a woman’s body. And not just from a woman, but an organ from a non-Jew as well

The man also said to the doctor, “A dead goyim leg — from anyone. An Arab, a woman?” Upon hearing this a nurse mutters, “Or God forbid an Arab woman.” Was this supposed to be funny?

The Simon Wiesenthal Center responded to the episode in a statement saying, “The writers of this scene check all the boxes of ignorance and pernicious negative stereotypes, right down to the name of the patient, Israel—paiyous (side curls) and all. In one scene, NBC has insulted and demonized religious Jews and Judaism.”

If you are looking for a realistic portrayal of orthodox Jews in a medical setting then you should see the episode of “House” titled “Don’t Ever Change” from 2008. The season four episode has Laura Silverman playing an orthodox Woman who collapsed at her own wedding. While Dr. House treats the orthodox Jews with his usual cynicism and atheistic disdain for all thing religious, he is no different with them than he is with everybody else. And the episode provides a respectful portrayal of orthodox Judaism.

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