We’re back with part two of the Autostraddle March Madness. We had a great response to voting in the Baby Gays and International regions and now it’s time for part two, featuring the Drama and Sci-Fi/Fantasy regions. Just like last time, I’ll provide brief summaries of the couple’s first on-screen kiss — follow the links in each post if you’re interested in spending an inordinate amount of your free time watching women make out (I can attest, it’s not a bad way to spend your time) — and then you can find the voting module down below.
Voting for every round will be open for two days only! Voting in this round will close on Tuesday, March 27 at noon EST. Soon thereafter, we’ll update the bracket, set the new match-ups and you can vote for all your faves all over again.
#1. Piper and Alex – Orange is the New Black (Netflix)
Piper and Alex’s first on-screen kiss, as described in Autostraddle’s first ever recap of OITNB, upon which I cannot improve:
“…a lot of series that have queer characters in their secondary lineup can take their sweet time getting to the token LGBTQ storylines. Within those storylines, we’ll be lucky if we get a kiss, and if we do get a kiss, we’ll be lucky if any sex scene that follows isn’t weirdly chaste or largely made up of implication…
So how long into the series do we have to wait to see full-on unquestionably girl-on-girl action? Nineteen seconds. Nineteen seconds and there’s two naked ladies tongue-kissing in the shower…In 19 seconds, Orange is the New Black said hey, guess what? We’re not going to play that ‘Our main character kissed a girl once and we’re going to tease you with it the whole season to bait the queer audience and keep them tuning in’ game. We’re going to be upfront about our characters’ sexualities and it’s going to be pretty to watch. Like, super pretty.”
#16. Eleanor and Mandy – The Royals (E!)
Everything about this scene says that there will be no happy ending for Eleanor and Mandy on this show that I’ve never watched and probably never will again. That said, the kiss between Eleanor and Mandy provoked a serious bout of nostalgia for me. Some of the first same-sex kisses I ever witnessed in person — and, eventually, would take part in — happened because of the shotgun. The intimacy of the exchange of smoke always makes the exchange of fluids seem a bit more inevitable.
#2. Izzy and Emma – You Me Her (Audience)
When Emma meets Izzy for the first time, she’s looking for answers. Why did her husband, Jack, solicit this escort? What about Izzy made her so alluring that compelled Jack to open up to her and to make out with her? Emma gets the answers to those questions when she lets Izzy give her a footjob under the table soon after they meet. And when she kisses Izzy passionately against the bathroom wall, she gets answers to questions she’d stopped asking herself.
Later, she confesses to her husband, “I met Izzy today. We made out. After she gave me a footjob under the table. And I probably should’ve told you this a long, long time ago, but, um she wasn’t my first girl. Or my second.”
#15. Maggie and Lauren – Younger (TV Land)
The only thing I know about Younger is what Heather includes in her BOYT recaps…and even then, I always find myself thinking, “what’s Debi Mazur doing making out with someone who isn’t Gabriele?” What can I say…when I’m not watching girls kissing girls, I watch a lot of Cooking Channel. But I digress…
Just before Lauren kisses Maggie for the first time, both Maggie and Liza are trippin’ on molly. Liza tells Maggie she looks like Wonder Woman (she doesn’t) and Maggie responds that she should start wearing big gold belts (she shouldn’t). Then Lauren swoops in like Supergirl, fitting her body against Maggie’s, and kisses her. Relishing her triumph, Lauren says afterwards, “There. I did it. I finally got to kiss the person I wanted to.”
#3. Izzy and Stella – StartUp (Crackle)
I am a sucker for a public kiss between two same-sex characters. Given how often LGBT characters, and their showcases of intimacy, have been relegated to being behind closed doors, kisses in front of crowds of on-lookers — but not for the benefit of those on-lookers — still feels like a triumph to me. But StartUp goes beyond the typical public kiss.
It’s a public kiss at a party Stella was never invited to — she hacks her way in — and it’s with her ex, Izzy, who’s now engaged to someone else. Throw in the beautifully lit poolside and Alex Vargas’ “Tidal” soundtracking the entire scene…and the first on-screen kiss between Stella and Izzy becomes so alluring.
#14. Kristina and Parker – General Hospital (ABC)
When Kristina falls for her married lesbian English professor (natch), it throws her life into disarray. But while she’s confused about how to identify herself or how to tell her overbearing parents, she never doubts that what she feels for Parker is real. She never second guesses it and she chases their connection, even to her own detriment.
Right before Kristina kisses Parker for the first time, you think she’s finally letting go and accepting that, as badly as she wants this thing to be something more, it can’t be. But then she kisses Parker, and for a split second, Parker kisses her back, and her hope is reignited.
#4. Ali and Syd – Transparent (Amazon)
There’s something ethereal about the moments before Ali finally kisses Syd. The combination of the reading of Leslie Mackinaw’s poem (or, Eileen Myles’s poem, if we’re being real) and Django Django’s “Found You” whispering softly in the background sets the stage beautifully for the kiss that follows. Both the poem and the song are about understanding the ways in which we are connected to each other…and Ali finally gets it when she kisses Syd for the first time.
Back in 2015, Heather ranked the romance between Ali and Syd as one of the best queer storylines of the year…deservedly so.
#13. Petra and Jane “JR” Ramos – Jane the Virgin (The CW)
When I finalized the rankings for the DRAMA region, Petra and JR hadn’t actually kissed yet. At that point, their romance was, entirely, a very vivid figment of Petra’s imagination and so I didn’t know if it was fair to rank it at all. Ultimately, I decided the promise of what was to come merited a spot in the region but one of the lower seeds. I thought it was a fair compromise…that is, until I saw the first actual kiss that Petra and JR shared.
Petra goes to confront JR after thinking she’d failed Petra’s trust exercise but JR kisses her instead and it’s enough for Petra to forget why she was mad in the first place…and enough for me to kick myself for doubting that a kiss featuring Rosario freakin’ Dawson wouldn’t fall in the DRAMA Region’s Top 5.
#5. Jules and Gina – Imposters (Bravo)
When Jules and Gina kiss for the first time, it’s the most honest thing that either of them has done since they met. At the moment that their lips meet, Jules is pretending to be straight, with a boyfriend whose sister is about to marry Gina’s brother. Gina is pretending to be an insurance investigator and Jules is pretending she doesn’t already know what Gina really does for a living. It’s all lies…all except the attraction that sends them crashing into each other as soon as the motel door closes.
#12. Valencia and Beth – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (The CW)
When we first meet Valencia she’s with her boyfriend, Josh, who she’s been dating, on and off, since high school. For Valencia, who wants so much more than Josh is willing to offer, their relationship has become performative…an assurance to everyone else (especially Rebecca) that everything is fine.
Fast-forward 40 episodes and we witness the first kiss that Valencia and Beth share on-screen. Yes, it’s noteworthy that it’s Valencia’s first kiss with a woman — the first acknowledgment of her character’s bisexuality — but what’s more noteworthy to me is that it’s not performative at all. There’s no song and dance, no real interest in who’s watching or talking about them…it’s just Valencia and her girlfriend, canoodling in a booth, and it’s perfect.
#6. Luisa and Rose – Jane the Virgin (The CW)
So, I took a little bit of creative liberty here and didn’t choose to highlight Luisa and Rose’s first on-screen kiss; instead, I chose their actual first kiss, which the show flashes back to midway through the first season. Rose is supposed to be in town on business — conning Luisa’s father into marriage and into using his hotel as a front for her shady business — but when she spots Luisa at a bar, she’s immediately drawn to her. There’s a lightness to Rose that Luisa provokes…and Rose seems genuinely taken aback by the depth of her attraction. They kiss and there are fireworks, figuratively and literally (it’s the 4th of July).
#11. Lena and Stef – The Fosters (Freeform)
The kiss that Lena and Stef share in The Fosters is, in and of itself, unremarkable. It’s effortless, the kind of quick kiss you share with your partner after a day apart or the kind that of quick kiss you share when you take for granted that they’ll be another…and another…and another. The best thing about the kiss, for me anyway, is what happens after: Callie’s surprise and Jesus reading her surprise as being about Stef being a cop, not his moms being lesbians. In that one kiss, and the response to it, the world that will exist inside that house over the next five years becomes abundantly clear.
#7. Nova and Chantal – Queen Sugar (OWN)
Soon after Nova meets Chantal for the first time, Nova compliments her on a necklace she’s wearing. When Chantal takes the necklace off and fastens it around Nova’s neck, the flirtatious heat between them grows. The next time we see them, Chantal’s sneaking out after their night together, but Nova pulls her back into the bed and leans down for their first on-screen kiss. It feels so authentic and honest…a stark contrast from Nova’s last relationship (and all her subsequent ones, TBH) which forced her to make herself smaller.
“I’m feeling something I haven’t felt in a very long time,” Nova admits, after kissing Chantal again.
#10. Mariah and Tessa – Young and the Restless (CBS)
Mariah Copeland isn’t one for surprises — she’s had enough of them to last an entire lifetime — and, yet, when she finally musters up the courage to kiss Tessa, no one’s more surprised than her. Sure, she’d been thinking about it for weeks but, doing it…actually sliding her hand against Tessa’s face and drawing her into a sweet kiss…is something she couldn’t fathom. She’s her brother’s girlfriend, for chrissakes. But she does it, and Tessa responds, and, suddenly, maybe, surprises aren’t all that bad after all.
#8. Annalise and Eve – How to Get Away With Murder (ABC)
When Annalise Keating shows up on Eve’s doorstep, crying, you don’t know what to make of it…the display of emotion seems almost out-of-character for the person that we’ve come to know. I wonder, “is this just Annalise’s way of manipulating Eve into getting what she wants?” And yet, what you learn from the scene that follows and from the first on-screen kiss they share, is that while crying might be out-of-character for the Annalise that we see with her students, Nate or Sam, it’s not out-of-character for the Annalise that’s with Eve. Love allows Annalise the freedom to be vulnerable.
#9. Callie and Arizona – Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)
After enduring one romantic disappointment after the next, Callie Torres finds herself in the bathroom at Joe’s crying, when she’s interrupted by Arizona Robbins. People talk at SGMH, the peds surgeon reports, which isn’t news to anyone who’s ever watched this show and is also probably the last thing that Callie wants to be reminded of at this precise moment. Arizona assures her that the talk is good — that, from some corners, the talk is really good — and that when Callie’s ready, she’ll have people lining up for her.
Callie chuckles, in disbelief, and says, “you want to give me some names?” And then Arizona does…just one…hers…which she confirms with a gentle kiss. My favorite thing about the kiss — which is short, but sweet — is the way that they both look afterwards. Callie’s face is like, “okay, okay, this is a thing,” while Arizona, who takes a few swagger filled steps back before turning to leave, is like, “yeah, I got you.”