‘Little House on the Prairie’: Melissa Gilbert Was ‘Completely Grossed Out’ by This Kiss Scene

Melissa Gilbert wasn’t a fan of her Little House on the Prairie co-stars’ on-screen make-out scenes, prompting them to make it even more over-the-top to “drive her crazy.” Find out why Gilbert was so turned off by what she called a “disgusting” display.

Melissa Gilbert as Laura Ingalls, Melissa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls
Melissa Gilbert as Laura Ingalls, Melissa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls | NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images

‘Little House on the Prairie’ co-stars showed off their chemistry

In her book Confessions of a Prairie B*tch, Alison Arngrim, who played Nellie, shed a little light on the on-screen chemistry she shared with co-star Steve Tracy, who played Percival. One of their kissing scenes, in particular, made Gilbert very uncomfortable — so uncomfortable, that she refused to watch them lock lips.

“Steve was a hit with the audience,” Arngrim wrote. “When he marched into the Mercantile and told Mrs. Oleson to ‘be quiet!’ he instantaneously became a national hero.”

“And boy, could he kiss,” she continued. “When Nellie declares her love, and Percival asks her to marry him right there in the street, we both agreed to just go for it. It was a full, open-mouthed lip lock. It made sense to me and Steve. Nellie clearly had a lot of pent-up emotions she’d been suppressing for a really long time, and Percival was a grown man, not a shy teenage boy.”

“They were madly in love, so we figured these two would be the kind to kiss their brains out when given the chance,” she added.

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Melissa Gilbert was annoyed by her co-stars’ kissing

Arngrim and Tracy’s passion in that scene left Gilbert completely grossed out.

“Melissa watched from the wings and was scandalized,” Arngrim recalled. “’Stop that!’ she hissed at me between takes. ‘Stop what?’ I laughed. ‘Stop kissing him like that! You look like a fish! It’s disgusting! Close your mouth, for God’s sake!’ I couldn’t stop laughing. ‘We’re supposed to be in love,’ I insisted. ‘And besides, I like kissing boys; it’s fun!” 

She continued, “Melissa refused to watch the rest of the scene being shot. She was completely grossed out. So from then on, whenever she was around, Steve and I made a point of ‘overdoing it’ just to drive her crazy.”

The show’s producers wanted Laura and Almanzo to have better chemistry

When Gilbert’s character and her romantic lead were compared to Arngrim and Tracy, their lack of chemistry was evident. So much so, that Arngrim said the producers had circulated a “secret memo” hoping that the Laura and Almanzo characters would kick things up a bit.

“Melissa wasn’t the only one who noticed our gusto,” Arngrim explained in her book. “A couple of months in, Steve and I found out about a ‘secret memo’ discussing the various romantic couples on the show that was circulating among the producers. They were concerned that Laura and Almanzo didn’t really look ‘passionate’ enough.”

She continued, “Melissa and her husband, played by Dean Butler, were sweet together, but she looked so young, and he was so delicate with her, that it didn’t really generate what you would call sparks. It only became really noticeable that these two were mismatched when the next scene showed me and Steve happily slobbering all over each other.”

“‘Can’t they turn it up a bit?’ the execs wanted to know,” the actor recalled the memo noted. “’Now, Nellie and Percival — those two look like they f*ck like crazed weasels!’”

“I nearly died,” she added. “We were sorry we couldn’t tell everyone about this wonderful ‘review,’ but it was supposed to be top secret. We really wanted to show up to work in T-shirts reading ‘Crazed Weasel 1’ and ‘Crazed Weasel 2,’ but we figured the producers would kill us.”