The trailer for Greta Gerwig's film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's 1868 novel Little Women hit the internet on Tuesday, sending hardcore fans of the Civil War-set drama into a bonnet-induced tizzy. Franky, the Monet-esque cinematography, vague Disney Channel Anne of Green Gables feel, and seeming expansion of these characters into even greater feminist figures makes me personally want to sit on the Little Women trailer and smoke a cigarette. However, there is one major concern shared by fans of the 1994 film version, which starred Winona Ryder and Christian Bale: Will Gerwig deny us the iconic spit-bridge from Jo and Laurie's first kiss?
Little Women revolves around the four March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy—and their mother, as they live in genteel poverty in Massachusetts while their father is out fighting for the North in the Civil War. They spend their days being Nice Girls, performing original plays in their attic like a bunch of sweet dweebs, and, for Jo, dreaming of pursuing a writing career. The progressive March women are all fierce in their beliefs in more equitable treatment and opportunities for women. Their home is a warm, loving space where their new neighbor, rich teenage boy named Laurie, finds comfort and family. It must be noted that Amy, the youngest of the March sisters, is a total bitch. But overall, it's a heartwarming story that was ahead of its time and still resonates with feminist readers.
In the 1994 version, Jo (Ryder) and Laurie (Bale), who are best friends with a mild romantic undercurrent, are hanging out in the warmly-lit woods when Laurie, compelled by his years-long love for Jo and recent college graduation, proposes. Jo is... not feeling it, and when she pulls away Laurie raises his finger to her lips in the classic R&B video "shh don't fight this, girl" style and leans in for their first kiss. The kiss is, well, the sort of impassioned lip-lock shared between two people where only one person is into it. When their lips finally detach from their awkward suckle, a glorious spit-bridge of their recently swapped saliva stretches momentarily between their mouths, glistening in the lush forest sun, then rips apart like a gooey elastic band that finally succumbed to resistance. Spit-bridge may be the wrong term. It's a yarn of spittle, if you will. Or a drool ribbon. A glimmering, juicy web of sloppy slobber.
A jump to 1:08 will provide you, dear reader, the iconic moment in film kiss history, and subsequently weird mouth dribble history, second only to the alien from Alien 3 dripping its nasty mouth sweat all over Sigourney Weaver.
That super-wet kiss is vital to the film, and if Greta Gerwig did not ensure that Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet, who stepped in as Jo and Laurie, delivered a swamp-mouthed, drool-heavy first kiss, there's going to be a real problem. She better had made them think about lemons right before the make-out scene, or used Pavlovian conditioning over the course of weeks so that their mouths would become little jacuzzis bubbling with warm spit at the sound of the word "action!"
That spit-bridge exemplifies the awkwardness of first kisses—the messiness and fumbling that makes them exciting and completely embarrassing. I have to assume Gillian Armstrong, director of the 1994 version, left that dribbly kiss in the final cut purposefully because of this; you really can't miss that spit. But as a kid watching that scene, it showed me that a kiss didn't always look like the ones I'd see on contraband VHS tapes of highly inappropriate R-rated movies at friends' houses where the parental supervision was minimal. Those R-rated kisses freaked me out, to be honest, even if they informed the horniness of my adult years. But Jo and Laurie's drool-covered smooch looked like the kisses I would actually have when I finally worked up the nerve to transfer my own pre-adolescent spit into some gangly kid's mouth. Losing that moment would be detrimental. Greta Gerwig, I am speaking to you directly now: if there's no spit in Jo and Laurie's first kiss, I implore you to go back to the editing room and CGI it in. It's vital to their characters, but mostly, we're just gonna need to see that slobber.
Alex Zaragoza is the senior culture writer at VICE. Follow her on Twitter.