With the ubiquity of crime scene investigation on television these days, odds are you’ve watched a few either out of interest, boredom, or just giving up on finding something on air that didn’t involve super smart, super attractive lab geeks. Whether you’re talking about Law & Order, CSI: Insert City, Dexter, or any number of others, the game remains the same: pretty people touching ugly things.
When one touches ugly things, be it SVU styled semen-stained sheets or a room soaked in blood, you’ve got to protect your manicured hands: enter the rubber glove. Meant to keep all that nasty goo off of your hands for many reasons: cleanliness, sanitary reasons, disease protection, fetishism. From the Coroner in Castle to Dexter on Dexter, in any hour of television you’ll probably see someone slip on the glove. Then you’ll probably see them contaminate all sorts of shit.
In my younger years I worked in an unclean environment, as a butler at the Miller household. Just kidding, they couldn’t afford me then. Or now. But I did work a job that involved plenty of nasty and plenty of rubber gloves. The rubber glove is there to get dirty for you. If your hand comes in contact with a dead body, a pile of shit, a puddle of piss, or a splatter of blood, your skin remains unsullied. The glove, however, is dirty as shit.
So, after wiping the blood from the brow of a dead body and scooping away a handful of maggots, when our crime scene investigator grabs their pencil, jots down a note, and then slips the pencil back over their ear, they’ve just put all sorts of nasty on the ear and in their hair.
How many times has Dexter gone from dealing with puddles of blood to pulling his cellphone out of his pocket? Gross. How many crime scene investigators brush their hair out of their eyes? Just how often are these people, wearing gloves to protect themselves from the nasty, go about life as if they weren’t even wearing the gloves, touching that nasty all over themselves? Real damn often.
This is a relatively minor pet peeve, like the way coffee cups are always empty in movies and TV. This is a pretty simple thing that can easily be taken care of – have the actor take the gloves off first. Have a bunch of pairs of gloves around for them. That’s how it’s really done – touch the nasty as much as you need to. Need to do something else? Take the gloves off. Need to go back to the nasty? Put on a new pair.
Once in awhile someone may do this – but they’ll often take the gloves off wrong. You see, the glove is still covered in nasty, so you don’t want to touch it. The proper way to remove contaminated gloves is to peel back one glove until it’s mostly off and inverted, but still covering the fingers. Use that glove to to fully remove the other glove. Then, touching the non-nasty inside of the glove, pull that one off. What you often see on film and TV is someone just pulling off one glove and then using their bare hand to pull off the other. Whoops. Covered in feces again.
So seriously. It’s not a huge deal, but the devil is in the details. Actors. Directors. Prop masters. Let’s get on the same page here. There is a reason the character put the gloves on. They want that nasty shit far away from their skin – they don’t want it on their pencils, their sandwiches, in their hair, on their phones, in their pockets. When a character dealing with some grossness fails to remove their gloves before touching something and spreading the nasty around, I spread my boiling point all over.