Many things have changed in the entertainment world as a result of COVID-19, up to and including the need to replace the good old-fashioned spit that should have featured in the Walker, Texas Ranger reboot with a computer-generated facsimile.
In a move sure to disappoint the spittoon-dinging cowboys we assume make up a core demographic for The CW’s Walker, a USA Today article about the pandemic’s impact on TV includes the detail that the show has had to use “computer graphics to approximate spit.” This comes as part of broader changes to how “intimate scenes,” saliva-filled or not, are shot when productions must take social distancing into account.
While we pity the temporary loss of practical effects—from drool to snot rockets—that CGI spit heralds, Walker’s digital slobber is only one aspect of television that’s been forced to change thanks to COVID. Season orders have been shortened, and renewal notices for GLOW and Stumptown were straight-up retracted. The article also points out that series like S.W.A.T. have had to stop featuring “love scenes” and “hand-to-hand combat because of the physicality of being close,” while other shows have had to rethink the use of costly exterior shots due to safety precautions.
Still, it’s the spit that really sticks in our craw. How are we supposed to believe that anything we see on screen is real anymore now that we know to doubt every sloppy kiss and projectile-based personal insult? How are we ever going to buy into the details of a plot or the emotions expressed on an actor’s face again when every loogie on TV could be made by computers? Truly, it’s a strange time when we can’t even trust the wet, shining gobs of our most beloved celebrities anymore.
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