Will ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Take After Soap Operas When Filming Romantic Scenes Now?

As the entertainment industry resumes production, TV viewers are noticing that their favorite shows are looking different than usual. A reflection of our own world, television shows are adapting to filming while maintaining social distancing guidelines and ensuring that actors and crew members are masked up whenever possible. 

As a result, production crews have had to get a little creative. And who set the stage for filming tricky moments like intimate scenes? Fittingly, the soap operas did! As one of the first types of television shows to get back in action during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, soap operas have gotten creative with filming romantic scenes, and fans are wondering if mainstream shows like Grey’s Anatomy, also known for its romantic moments, will follow suit. 

(L-R) Shannon Wilcox and George Gerdes dancing and smiling
(L-R) Shannon Wilcox and George Gerdes | Ali Goldstein/Getty Images

How soap operas have handled social distancing

Soap operas are known for their dramatic moments. And what provides more drama than love and romance? Soaps would be nothing without their twisted love triangles and crazy couples, so it was clear they couldn’t get rid of those intimate scenes altogether. 

Instead, film crews found ways to maintain social distancing while filming kissing scenes. Rather than filming romantic scenes normally, crews are swapping out actors for blow-up dolls and mannequins. By using wigs and makeup (and some creative camera angles), soap opera viewers can tune in and think they’re seeing two actors kiss when they’re actually seeing one actor kiss a blow-up doll. 

Another option some shows are turning to is bringing in an actor’s spouse or significant other to film romantic scenes. Since film crews are used to using body doubles and stand-ins during close-up shots, this seems like a no-brainer for pandemic filming. Of course, actors and any extras brought in to shoot are also tested regularly for coronavirus, to be safe.

What other shows are doing

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The entertainment industry has been greatly affected by pandemic closures, but that doesn’t mean it’s halted completely. General protocols have been adapted for television and film crews to be able to resume filming while keeping the risk of coronavirus transmission at a minimal.

While cast and crew members were able to freely mingle with one another pre-pandemic, they’re now separated into smaller “pods” of people they’re allowed to directly interact with. Zones are established on and off-set for each pod to hang out in. Additionally, only essential crew members are allowed on-set at any given time; actors are mainly isolated in their trailers when they’re not needed, according to The Washington Post.

Will Grey’s Anatomy take after the soaps?

As more and more shows are releasing new episodes (finally!), television fans are noticing some of the changes. Some shows, like Grey’s Anatomy, have the advantage of being able to simply incorporate the pandemic into their storylines. As People reports, Grey’s star Ellen Pompeo talked about the next season, “We’re going to address this pandemic for sure. There’s no way to be a long-running medical show and not do the medical story of our lifetimes.” Because they’re a medical drama, the cast will simply be able to wear PPE while filming, since the show takes place in a hospital.

But what about for all the other scenes Grey’s Anatomy is known for? In its 17th season, the medical drama has had almost as many love triangles as a soap opera, so fans think it’s likely they’ll be using some of the same techniques the soaps are using. In a recent thread on Reddit, viewers speculated that the show will likely have to use dolls and significant others just like other shows because there is no way Grey’s Anatomy can exist without those romantic moments we’ve all come to know and love. However they make it work, we’re just glad to have new episodes coming.