Sex Scenes in the Pandemic: Funny Pics From ‘Riverdale,’ ‘This Is Us,’ More


    Not an easy task. As TV shows resume production after shutting down months prior due to the coronavirus pandemic, actors are faced with the problem of filming love scenes while maintaining cautious health practices.

    Soap operas — including The Bold and the Beautiful — were among the first to return to set, with stars using their real-life partners as stand-ins for romantic onscreen moments. “My husband [Aaron Phypers] has stepped in, which has been fun,” Denise Richards explained during her August 2020 appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show. “I’m really grateful that Aaron is able to come, and it’s been fun for all of us to see everyone’s husbands and wives on set.”

    The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills alum noted that the switch-up has “been really fun” before revealing how the cast films other scenes. “And then when it’s any other actor and we’re within eight feet of each other, we have to have a mannequin,” she said. “So the mannequins are eye-line and then the other actors are off-camera reading lines for us.”

    Richards then added: “It’s been a lot of work, but it’s been so great, and I’m so grateful that we’re even able to be back in production because a lot aren’t.”

    Other series chose to embrace the cultural shift. This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman confirmed in August 2020 that season 5 of the hit drama will cover the pandemic.

    “Some vague #ThisIsUs answers (sorry),” he tweeted at the time. “Not sure yet on production start. Not sure when new eps will air. Yes on Covid. We’ve decided to attack things head on. Very proud of @ThisIsUsWriters.”

    As actress Chrissy Metz detailed on the Q.10 web series in May 2020, the move was somewhat inevitable. “We are a contemporary show so we have to address it,” she said. “Our show is sort of a blueprint on how to go through anxiety and issues and loss and grief.”

    NBC later announced that season 5 will premiere earlier than expected in late October.

    Scroll down to see photos from the sets of RiverdaleThis Is Us and more shows as they shoot sex scenes during the pandemic.

    This Is Us

    “A 2020 television sex scene,” Fogelman captioned a Twitter photo of Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia standing feet away from each other in September 2020. “We’re back. #ThisIsUs.” 

    Moore, who is expecting her first child with husband Taylor Goldsmith, and Ventimiglia play married couple Rebecca and Jack Pearson on the drama. Precautions taken on the set include masks and making actors wait in individual “shower stalls” between scenes. 

    Metz told Entertainment Tonight in September 2020 that the actors likely will not get close enough to lock lips. “I don’t think we’re going to be kissing,” she said. “I think we might [do] like the side church hug or something, but I don’t know if we’re going to be kissing, y’all. I doubt it.”

    Courtesy Dan Fogelman/Twitter


    KJ Apa (Archie Andrews) revealed in September 2020 that he and costar Camila Mendes (Veronica Lodge) were required to use mouthwash before kissing. “Our new normal is washing our mouths before every take of a make-out scene,” the actor wrote via Instagram. Castmate Lili Reinhart (Betty Cooper) shared her take in the comments section, replying: “That s–t burns.” 

    Riverdale — along with several other CW shows — paused production later that month after delays in COVID-19 testing.

    Courtesy KJ Apa/Instagram

    The Bold and the Beautiful

    The CBS soap allowed actors to shoot love scenes with their real-life partners. In addition to Phypers helping out Richards, Kayla Ewell stood in for Jacqueline Wood for intimate moments with her husband, Tanner Novlan. Wood and Novlan play love interests Steffy Forrester and Dr. John “Finn” Finnegan, respectively.  

    “When Mom & Dad get to work together,” Ewell, who starred on The Bold and the Beautiful as Caitlin Ramírez from 2004 to 2005, captioned a September 2020 Instagram selfie with Novlan.

    Courtesy Kayla Ewell/Instagram

    The Young and the Restless

    While many cast members were forced to keep an uncomfortable distance from their love interests when production resumed in July 2020, Bryton James (Devon Hamilton) and Brytni Sarpy (Elena Dawson) are together in real life and on the soap opera. Therefore, the pair are allowed to shoot scenes as they did before the pandemic.


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