NOTE: These couples are from currently airing or very recently cancelled shows! This is JUST FOR FUN, so be cool and have a good time!
The first weekend of March Madness has come and gone and, I have to be honest, my brackets took a shellacking. Who could’ve predicted the rise of the mid-majors in the women’s tournament? And the men’s tournament? The miracle take down of a #1 seed by a #16 seed, nearly 20 years to the day of the Harvard women’s basketball team having done the same? Three (3!) of my picks for the men’s Final Four, including my pick to win it all, have been sent packing already. And while the unpredictability of March Madness is part of the allure, getting so many picks wrong in such a short amount of time can do something to your ego. So, today, instead of investing energy in the fickleness of college basketball, I invite you all to invest in something that can truly unite us all: kissing girls.
Forget your ridiculous national championships, I’m on a search to crown the best first on-screen kiss.
With the help of my Autostraddle colleagues, I’ve compiled a list of 64 couples who have kissed on television (on currently airing or recently cancelled shows) and divided them into four regions: Baby Gay, Drama, International and Sci-Fi/Fantasy. Within those regions, the first on-screen kiss is ranked, 1-16, relative to the others in the field, and the match-ups are set. Couples advance through a simple vote by Autostraddle readers. It’s okay if you haven’t seen every show — I haven’t either to be honest — because it really is just about capturing this one moment in time.
Today, the voting commences for the Baby Gay and International Regions. Voting for every round will be open for two days only! Voting in this round will close on Sunday, March 25 at noon EST. The second part of round one — Drama vs. Sci-Fi Fantasy — will take place at that time.
The Baby Gays
#1. Camila and Jocelyn – East Los High (Hulu)
Minutes before Camila kisses Jocelyn for the first time, she starts to undress in front of her best friend. Jocelyn does that thing you do when you first realize your attraction to women…you force yourself not to look at the beautiful woman undressing in front of you, while also wanting nothing more than to be looking at the beautiful woman undressing in front of you…but she doesn’t hide her attraction well. When Camila kisses her, Jocelyn gives in for a moment before pulling back. She’s been resisting this for so long that she can’t just let herself have this. But then Camila reassures her with another kiss and the pair fall into bed.
#16. Courtney and Hannah – 13 Reasons Why (Netflix)
For the most part, I tried to keep my picks and their rankings focused exclusively on the first kiss — completely divorced from whatever else happens on the show — but for this particular show, that was impossible. Focusing on the moment where Hannah kisses Courtney obscures the broader, more noteworthy, issue. As Riese described when she reviewed the show last May, the show isn’t just harmful for its gratuitous violence and romanticization of suicide but for the way it treats Courtney lies as, somehow, worse than what the sociopathic men in that high school have done. It’s just awful.
#2. Elena and Syd – One Day at a Time (Netflix)
The 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary has full entries for 171,476 words that are currently in use and, yet, when you’re falling in love, none of those words feel sufficient…and that’s if you can manage to summon any of them at all. You’re either at a complete loss for words or the words at your disposal just don’t feel like enough. When it comes to Syd, words fail Elena. She can barely make conversation, much less explain these feelings she having so they read that as disinterest. Words fail Elena so she relies on action instead, pulling Syd close and pressing her lips to theirs.
#15. Lica and Samantha – Malhação (Globo)
Just before they kiss for the first time — well, technically, the second time, but the Brazillian network that’s home to the long running soap opted not to broadcast that kiss — Samantha and Lica are talking about a new dating app that matches would-be couples. Samantha doesn’t get it, why can’t people just go after what they want, but Lica’s more amendable…why not embrace something that gives people the courage to find the person they’re met to be with? When the girls try the app themselves, they match.
“I’m not even a little surprised,” Samantha admits and they lean for a quick peck. The kiss itself is short and disappointing but this storyline, which is one of the most popular ever featured on the Malhação, is not.
#3. Adena and Kat – The Bold Type (Freeform)
The bravest thing Kat Edison does the night she shows up on Adena El-Amin’s doorstep isn’t kissing her. It’s admitting, out loud, what she’s been feeling since the moment she first met Adena…that she really, really likes her. Kat’s clearly nervous as she makes the pronouncement — she rambles, she fidgets, she releases audible breaths to calm herself — but she does it: she lets go of every expectation she’s ever had of herself and lets herself fall for this woman. And so, when Adena pulls her into a kiss, Kat responds eagerly, because once you’ve acknowledged who you are and what you want, kissing is the easy part.
#14. Callie and Ximena – The Fosters (Freeform)
For weeks, Callie and Ximena have been working together to secure the renewal of Ximena’s DACA status…and, when their public campaign finally gains traction, with a story on the Huffington Post, Ximena turns an enthusiastic hug into a surprise first kiss. Callie’s clearly taken aback but is polite enough not to say anything. I half expect Ximena to apologize after she does it — I’m sorry, I just got caught up in the moment — but she doesn’t. If you’ve ever wondered what “sorry, not sorry” looks like on an actual person, watch Ximena walk away after she kisses Callie.
And while there’s a legitimate argument to be made that Callie’s straight and, even if The Fosters hadn’t run out of real estate, nothing would’ve come of her relationship with Ximena, I think there was enough reason to hope that Callie would be open to the possibility that the love she’d imagined for herself wasn’t the love she’d ultimately find…that is, after all, the story of this show. Alas…
#4. Kate and Emaline – Everything Sucks (Netflix)
Right before Kate and Emaline kiss for the first time, they slow dance to Duran Duran’s “Ordinary World” on the auditorium stage. As with much of the Everything Sucks soundtrack, it’s a perfect song for the moment. The song — written as a tribute to a childhood friend of the band’s lead vocalist that died — fits here because it’s about adjusting to this new ordinary. It’s about facing the world when forces outside your control have altered it…the innate force that draws Kate’s lips to Emaline’s, there’s no controlling that, though Kate’s tried…and finding a way to embrace the new ordinary.
#13. Molly and Luna – Burden of Truth (CBC, Canada)
It feels wrong that Molly and Luna’s kiss by the lockers is ranked so low on this list because, though the kiss is nothing spectacular, it also feels like the best kiss on this list and the one that teenage me would’ve loved to experience. It’s simple and effortless — a quick peck at Molly’s locker before class — and it’s enviable. There’s a lot in Molly’s life that needs figuring out, namely, who’s responsible for the pollution that is making her and her friends sick, but her sexuality and her relationship with Luna seem solid, and it’s refreshing to see that portrayed on television.
#5. Karolina and Nico – Marvel’s Runaways (Hulu)
“Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today,” Ben Franklin once said…which, I’m pretty sure is doubly true when you don’t actually know that there’s going to be a tomorrow. The world possibly ending gives Karolina the confidence she needs to do the thing she’s wanted to do for a very long time: kiss Nico. She pulls Nico closer, threads her hands in Nico’s hair and then pulls her in for a kiss. There’s a moment of surprise/hesitation on Nico’s part, but then she gives in, returning the kiss with equal fervor. The kiss itself is sweet and romantic — made even moreso by the use of Billie Eilish’s “Ocean Eyes” — but there’s something initimate about the way Karolina’s hands rest on Nico after it’s over…something that convinces you, that had they not been interrupted, it may have gone on for longer.
#12. Jess and Heather – Mary Kills People (Global/Lifetime)
Jess and Heather are a normal teenage romance…well, as normal as you can be, when your mom’s the female Dr. Kevorkian (unbeknownst to Jess, of course) or when your seemingly straight best friend, keeps interjecting herself into their relationship. In fact, when Jess and Heather kiss for the first time, it’s on the heels of an apology. Naomi kissed Jess (again) only this time Heather’s there to witness it. Both Noami and Jess apologize and Heather accepts, before leaning in for a kiss of her own. It’s sweet and romantic and, aside from the meddling friend, it’s everything you’d want it to be.
#6. Dakota and Alexis – Famous in Love (Freeform)
I suppose, having read about how Pretty Little Liars ended, I shouldn’t be surprised by how Alexis’ story on Famous in Love starts. How many harmful bisexual tropes can we squeeze into one hour of television? Apparently, the writers of Famous in Love are determined to find out. That said, the kiss between Dakota and Alexis works because of the thin, and sometimes indistinguishable, line that exists between love and hate. Passion diffuses across that line so easily…and going from publicly rejecting someone to being wrapped up in a kiss with them doesn’t seem that improbable.
#11. Ruby and Sapphire – Steven Universe (Cartoon Network)
I’ll leave description of Ruby and Sapphire’s first kiss in “Jail Break” to Mey Rude:
When Ruby and Sapphire are finally reunited, they run up to each other and embrace. As Ruby cries tears of joy, Sapphire asks “Did they hurt you?” and when Ruby says “Who cares?” she emphatically replies “I do!” Sapphire then kisses Ruby’s forehead and nose as the two embrace again, Ruby lifting and spinning Sapphire until they become one again. Garnet is then so overjoyed that she sings a song (she is voiced by the singer Estelle, after all) that celebrates their relationship and how they’re not single and how when they’re together they can do anything.
#7. Simone and Karen – Star (FOX)
People come in and out of our lives all the time and, on the way to becoming the person that we’re supposed to be, we’ll forget most of them…that’s just the way the world works. When Simone pulls Karen into a kiss, it’s not just a confirmation of her feelings, it’s an assurance that on the way to becoming the person that Simone’s supposed to be, she’ll never forget Karen. Simone pours her heart into that kiss but, given the way Karen strokes her chin before she leaves, it’s not clear that its done enough to make Karen believe.
#10. Laura and Aubrey – Casual (Hulu)
Before Aubrey kisses Laura for the first time, they steal a pair of bikes and race through town. Then, with the city lights shining brightly behind them, they fling the bikes off an embankment and into a ravine. The twisted spokes and broken handlebars are a sacrifice to Cupid, something to satisfy his thirst, so that relationships are free to thrive. Laura slips her hand into Aubrey’s and they stare at each other for a minute, before Laura flashes a half-smile. It’s enough to make Aubrey — who spends most of her time following Laura — brave enough to lead. She kisses Laura, softly, on the lips and when they separate, they smile at each other, their hands are still intertwined.
#8. Zoë and Rasha – Degrassi: Next Class (Netflix)
I’m not sure I can describe this kiss any better than Riese did in the recap of the most romantic TV moments of 2017, so I’ll just quote her:
Rasha kisses her. I didn’t want to be afraid anymore, she says, as melodic acoustic hipster music swelled and the light hits their faces just so. Young love, y’all. Sweet and against all odds and despite all closets and obstacles and fears, there we have it.
Ah, young love…it’s almost enough to make a cynic like me into a believer.
#9. Tilda and Odessa – Into the Badlands (AMC)
The most intimate thing about this scene between Tilda and Odessa isn’t the kiss…which is crazy because, as kisses go, this one is pretty good. Odessa leans in, drops a quick peck on Tilda’s lips and then, drops back, waiting for some acknowledgement that her affections were welcome. Odessa studies her face — watching as Tilda’s gaze flickers back and forth from Odessa’s eyes to her lips — and, getting the permission she sought, Odessa leans for another kiss. This time, though, Odessa returns it fervently.
But, really, the most intimate thing about this scene is the way Tilda lets herself be vulnerable with Odessa. She gifts Odessa her entire backstory in a way that I’m certain she never has with anyone else and in a way that truly reflects her affection for Odessa.
The International Faves
#1. Maria and Daniela – Ingobernable (Netflix, Mexico)
Daniela approaches Maria to tell her not to come a party she’s throwing because she doesn’t know how to act, in public, when Maria’s around. Maria calls her out on her equivocating: Daniela doesn’t want her to come because she doesn’t want to introduce her wife to her mistress and instead of texting her, Daniela delivers the message in person because she wants to see her. Daniela tries to resist but once Maria straddles her leg, clad in only a short terrycloth robe, she’s powerless. She gives into temptation and they kiss and, ultimately, have sex in the middle of the lockerroom.
What’s remarkable about this kiss and what follows, isn’t just that it happens, but that it happens in the first episode…and that it’s how we first meet Maria and Daniela. Before we learn that Maria is the 21 year old daughter of the Mexican First Couple, we know that she’s queer and having an affair with a married woman.
#16. Nasreen and Lila – Ackley Bridge (Channel 4, UK)
When Nasreen and Lila run into each other on a downtown sidewalk, they pretend they’re someone else: Nasreen is “Serena,” an Olympic gold medalist in the javelin, and Lila is “Sonali,” an astronaut who pens novels about cats in her spare time. They laugh about it and chemistry abounds. You wish they could stay like this…that they were really these two disparate souls who shared this amazing chemistry and found each other…because you could cheer for that.
But instead, they turn back into their regular selves and you’re forced to remember that Lila is Nasreen’s teacher and their relationship is all shades of wrong. You’re relieved when Lila resists the urge to kiss her flirtatious pupil but then she turns back and is drawn to Nas like a moth to a flame. If I were able to separate the kiss from the participants, it’d be a noteworthy and deserving of a much higher ranking, but I can’t.
#2. Macarena and Rizos – Vis a vis (Antenna 3/Fox Spain, Spain/UK)
It’s hard not to think about Vis a Vis without comparing it to Wentworth or Orange is the New Black but something feels different about Macarena and Estefania “Rizos” Kabila and you know it from the first moment they kiss.
It starts out innocently enough, Rizos offering Maca use of her phone in exchange for a kiss. Maca refuses — she’ll only kiss someone if she wants to, not because she’s forced — and eventually, Rizos relents. To thank her, Maca does kiss her, cupping Rizos’ face in her hands and dropping a quick peck on her lips. It’s just enough to unlock the passion between them and they just keep kissing until Maca walks away stunned. And, as Rizos is left to contemplate what just happened, she smiles and literally jumps with excitement…and it brings such light to the moment that you almost forget that they’re in prison and this is likely to end badly.
#15. Kate and Rana – Coronation Street (ITV, UK)
“The coast is clear now. You can help yourself,” Imogen told Rana just after her break-up with Kate. Imogen gave voice to all the thoughts Rana had been trying to hide from for weeks: she fancied Kate and she’d been jealous of Imogen for taking the space next to Kate that she wanted so desperately to occupy. It takes a night out with Sophie and Rosie and copious amount of alcohol for Rana to show up at Kate’s doorstep to seize the day. She’s straight and married but none of that matters as Rana pulls Kate into a kiss. It lasts only seconds — not nearly enough time for Rana to savor it — when Kate pushes her away.
#3. Susana and Cátia – Jogo Duplo (TVI, Portugal)
The night they meet in a dance club, neither Susana, a mobster, nor Cátia, the detective, knows what the other does. Susana’s sitting at the bar, impeccablyl styled, sipping a drink and glamorously smoking a cigarette when Cátia approaches. She’s wearing a brown leather jacket because, apparently, no matter what country you’re in, the uniform for lady detectives is the same.
She asks Susana if her drink is too strong and Susana responds back that she likes strong and tough things. Cátia retorts that she’s often been criticized for being strong and tough…it’s cheesy dialogue that shouldn’t work at all on a woman like Susana, but it does, and she steps down from her stool and kisses Cátia for the first time. The kiss escalates and takes them back to Susana’s hotel room where they have sex with Demi Lovato’s “Sorry Not Sorry” playing in the background (it works way better than you think it would).
#14. Farrah and Kim – Hollyoaks (Channel 4/E4, UK)
One of my least favorite TV tropes involves psychologists/psychiatrists getting involved with patients. Even if they’re former patients, there’s something bothersome about the fact that the bond that’s been created was forged in this crucible — where you have to allow yourself to be your most honest and vulnerable — that’s wholly different from the crucible in which we forge actual relationships. It creates an imbalance that seems impossible to reconcile and, yet, TV shows persist in trying to make those relationships happen.
Such is the case with Farrah, the psychologist, who drops Kim from her patient list after both acknowledge that they’ve developed feelings for each other. To quell the disbelief that appears on Kim’s face, Farrah pulls her into a kiss to assure her that the romantic feelings are mutual.
#4. Florencia (“Flor”) and Jazmin – Las Estrellas (El Trece, Argentina)
The first time Florencia and Jazmin kiss, it’s by accident. They’re at a club and Flor goes to kiss Jazmin’s cheek and their lips meet unintentionally when Jazmin turns her face at that moment. But the second time, their lips meet because Flor can’t stop herself. Jazmin’s trying to ease her into the moment, taking great care to ensure that Flor, who’s never been with a woman before, is comfortable, but Flor’s impatient and closes the distance between them with a kiss. Flor’s impatience leads to a deeper kiss, one befitting the romantic dance that Flor and Jazmin have been doing since they met.
#13. Laura and Sash – Fair City (RTÉ One, Ireland)
It seems like the whole of Carrigstown has been waiting for Laura and Sash to get together, in that way that straight people do…as if two lesbians in the same space must be drawn to each other…and, for a while, Sash does all she can to resist the pairing. But a potent mix of alcohol and pain killers from a recent injury forces Sash to drop her defenses and admit that she fancies Laura. The next day, Sash wants to forget all about what happened, but Laura doesn’t. They cross paths again in the lockerroom and, finally, Sash finds the confidence to kiss the girl she likes.
#5. Edie and Amanda – Sisters (Network Ten, Australia)
Before Edie and Amanda kiss for the first time, the colleagues are running a square off: Edie proposes a legal course of action, Amanda pokes holes in her argument and Edie has to regroup and think of an alternate path. As foreplay goes, it’s a bit weird, but it kinda works for me. Exhausted by Amanda’s skepticism, Edie pushes her to acknowledge that her case — a wrongful insemination suit, I suppose you could call it — is on the right side of the ethics, if not the law.
Amanda finally agrees, but adds, “I think anger is exhilirating, hate is exciting, but they aren’t the only options.” As she finishes that last bit, Amanda’s hand slides over Edie’s…over Edie’s left hand, with her wedding ring, given to her by her husband, who’s a partner at the same law firm where both women work. This is not going to end well.
But for the moment, that small show of comfort ignites the passion between the two lawyers and, soon enough, they’re kissing and having sex in one of the firm’s storage rooms.
#12. Charity and Vanessa – Emmerdale (ITV, UK)
One of my favorite TV tropes is watching two people who were once enemies work their way towards romance…and Charity and Vanessa start their journey after spending the night locked together in a bar cellar. Vanessa spends most of the evening trying to figure out what makes Charity Dingle tick…what causes her interject herself in other people’s lives. Vanessa’s so mad at Charity and so drunk, that the words come out harsher than she intended, and she barely notices when Charity’s attitude towards her starts to soften.
Finally, Charity concedes that she enjoys toying with people, even people she likes, and Vanessa likens her to “the little boy who pulled the little girl’s pigtail, wanting her to notice him.” Charity slides in next to Vanessa and responds, “if I want someone to notice me, they notice me.” Then she leans in, lifting Vanessa’s mouth closer to hers, and they kiss.
#6. Andréa and Colette – Dix Pour Cent/Call My Agent! (France 2/Netflix, France)
When Colette arrives at the talent agency where Andréa works, Andrea is immediately smitten. She tries to get Colette’s attention but is rejected each time; Colette refuses to be another one of Andréa’s one night stands. It’s not until Andréa comes clean about the shady dealing at her agency that Colette starts to believe Andréa might be sincere about wanting something more.
“I don’t know how to behave around you,” Andréa admits, completely undone by this person who challenges her to be better. She darts forward and kisses Colette before she has a chance to say no. While it catches Colette by surprise, she gives in easily, returning the kiss and threading her hands into Andréa’s hair. Eventually, though, she remembers who she is and who Andréa is and scurries away.
#11. Amelia and Violet – Harlots (Hulu/ITV Encore, UK)
The connection between Amelia and Violet is wholly unexpected — afterall, the former is a harlot and the latter is the daughter of a religious zealot who spends her days tormenting the brothel owners with her proselytizing. But when Amelia sees Violet stealing from a stranger, she doesn’t report the theft and the two forge a connection.
In a secluded space during one of the brothel’s masquerade parties, Amelia shares the parable of the long spoons, “There’s a story about a feast in hell, where the forks are so long that people can’t reach their mouths, so all the diners starve to death. They don’t figure out that they can feed each other.” It’s a story that the religious tell to remind us of our interconnectedness, to remind us that we need each other.
It’s fitting then, that at that moment, Violet leans in and kisses Amelia. The sheltered girl responds, cupping Violet’s face and pulling her deeper into the kiss, before she realizes what she’s done and runs away.
#7. Mercedes/Mechita and Barbara – Perdona Nuestros Pecados (Mega, Chile)
Upset over an argument with her husband, Barbara finds herself on Mercedes’ doorstep on Christmas Eve. She listens intently as Barbara recounts her husband’s flippant disregard for the work that she and Mercedes do every day. Barbara admits that she and her husband are growing apart and wonders if the sadness that pervades their marriage will just be her lot in life. Mercedes assures her that it’s not, stroking her cheek with her left hand, and admits that she thinks Barbara is beautiful. They’re drawn slowly to each other’s lips like magnets and their kiss, though short, is full of promise.
#10. Franky and Bridget – Wentworth (SoHo/Showcase, Australia)
In one of her early sessions with Bridget Westfall, the new psychiatrist at Wentworth, Franky is asked to imagine herself leaving the prison. She imagines walking through the gates and leaving Wentworth and everyone in it, a smoking pile of ashes. But while life in prison has corsened Franky in many ways, there’s still a bit of hope inside her. She adds, “I want to be picked up by a hot girl in a hot car and driven off into the sunset.”
And, though the road to getting to parole is long and windy, that hope is realized, when she walks outside the prison gates to find Bridget, clad in a leather jacket, waiting in a hot car to drive her off into the sunset. It’s a taste of freedom, both literally and figuratively, when they kiss for the first time.
#8. Sara and Carlota – Cable Girls/Las Chicas Del Cable (Netflix, Spain)
Before they kiss for the first time, Sara saves Carlota’s job and finds her a place to live, away from her demanding father. Why would Sara do this for her, Carlota wonders. Later, they spend time with Carlota’s boyfriend, Miguel, and when Carlota’s notices the chemistry between Sara and Miguel, she encourages her to go for it. Sara leads her into a quiet hall, away from public view, and admits that she likes Miguel.
“Miguel’s a mand with an open mind, which is a rare thing, and I like him,” Sara concedes. She puts her drink down and gently pushes Carlota against the wall, adding, “but I’m more interested in you.”
She cups Carlotta face between her delicate hands and kisses her softly, with Lili Blessing’s “Awake” crooning in the background, leaving no doubt about with whom Sara truly has chemistry.
#9. Astrid and Niska – Humans (Channel 4/AMC, UK)
Sometimes, there’s this incredible realization that comes with your first kiss with a woman: this is who I’m meant to be. A simple kiss can sometimes give you the confirmation that days, weeks and months of processing cannot. Niska is on a search to find out who she is as a conscious Synth and, in a lot of ways, she finds her answers in Astrid. Niska’s had so many people take from her — the scientist who created her, her brother who left her to fend for herself in brothels, and the men who frequented those brothels — that she’s taken aback when Astrid asks her for her consent.
“Are you sure you want this?” Astrid asks, after she gently kisses a stock-still Niska on the lips for the first time.
“You’ll know when I don’t,” Niska answers, before the kissing resumes. Astrid threads her hands in Niska’s hair, while Niska’s hand slide around Astrid’s body, pulling them closer together and deepening their kiss.