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.”
Voting for Sci-Fi/Fantasy is on page two!
#1. Kelly and Yorkie – Black Mirror: San Junipero (Netflix)
“I don’t know how to do this,” Yorkie admits to Kelly, just before they kiss for the first time. “Can you just make this easy for me?”
There are kissing scenes that earned their seeds in this tournament by being — for lack of a better word — hot, but San Junipero‘s kissing scene appeals to me because it unmasks our vunerability. Admitting the things that you don’t know is hard — no matter what it is — but to admit that you don’t know, in front of the woman you so desperately want to be worthy of, that’s even harder. It makes you feel weak, at the moment when all you want to be is strong.
But, honesty and vulnerability, wins every time…it’s impossible to watch this scene and now be drawn to Yorkie.
#16. Elsie and Clementine – Westworld (HBO)
There’s a stark contrast with how Elise treats the hosts and how her mentor, Bernard does. To him, they’re just machines, meant to entertain, who he describes with professorial detachment, while Elise engages with the hosts, particularly the female ones, with gentle affection. While observing Clementine, Elsie notices a “reverie” that the host performs where she grazes the bottom of her lips with her fingertips. According to Bernard, the gesture is tied to a specific memory and gives the host a subconscious.
When Bernard leaves, Elise’s countenance softens and she kisses Clementine/. It’d be almost sweet if Clementine was in any state to consent to the kiss. After she does it, Elsie smiles and mimics Clementine’s earlier gesture — she drags her fingertips across her lips, embedding that moment in her subconscious forever.
#2. Freya and Keelin – The Originals (The CW)
“There’s always gonna be a spell to do or an enemy to fight,” Keelin tells Freya, after she insists that things are done between them. “But when that is all finished, you deserve someone who gets you.”
Keelin offers her a home, a refuge, and even though, accepting that forces Freya to be a person she doesn’t want to be — someone with something else to lose — Freya gives in. When she kisses Keelin for the first time, she finds her home and accepts that whatever risk the future holds is worth the reward.
#15. Marilyn and Val – Ghost Wars (SYFY)
There are first kisses in the field that are the start of something but there are others, like this one from Marilyn and Val, that are just the continuation of something. A simple kiss shared between people whose lives are so intertwined that the next kiss—maybe later today after you get home from work—is already promised.
#3. Alice and Robin – Once Upon a Time (ABC)
When show’s err in their depictions of LGBT characters, we rightly hold the creative team, particularly the writers, responsible. They usually aren’t small errors — we excuse a lot in pursuit of representation; they’re huge glaring errors that are, at least, highly offensive or, worst, dangerous. Autostraddle writes articles about it, fans express their displeasure to the show’s creatives on social media and, eventually, most of us give up…we move onto to the next show and hope for something better.
I mention this because, I imagine a lot of what you think about the kiss between Alice and Robin will be vested in whether you feel like you can trust OUAT again, after they blew it so spectacularly the first time. Has what you’ve heard from the show’s creators or read about in Carmen’s recaps been enough to re-establish your faith?
#14. Sarah and Katie – Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams (Channel 4, Amazon)
When we first meet Sarah, she’s doing her best to outrun her own trauma. She’s carrying survivor’s guilt for having lived through a massacre that took the lives of several of her fellow officers. She’s become increasingly despondent and detached and her wife, Katie, suggests a vacation to help Sarah take her mind off things. But Katie doesn’t mean a topical getaway; instead, she hands her wife a headset that offers you the chance to step into the life of someone else.
“You’re not just gonna be somewhere else. You’re gonna be someone else,” Katie explains, “But it will be someone based on your own thoughts and dreams drawn directly from your own subconscious. It’s a vacation from your life.”
That sounds pretty good to Sarah right now so she agrees. Katie places the headset on her wife’s temples and kisses her for the first time, before leaving her to enjoy her vacation.
#4. Barbara and Tabitha – Gotham (The CW)
Figuring out what to do with Gotham was difficult…on the one hand, the first on-screen kiss between Barbara and Tabitha is undeniably sexy…the clear “morning after” vibes, the leather, the boots, the whip, the way Tabitha pulls Barbara aggressively towards her. It’s all very alluring and, if you’re judging on this kiss alone, then Gotham deserves its place on this list.
But, on the other hand, it’s important to acknowledge that that kiss is an anomaly — that even before that short clip ends, Barbara and Tabitha are kissing again, this time expressly for the male gaze. Given Gotham‘s history (RIP Renee Montoya), I imagine future kisses between the pair are more like the latter than the former.
#13. Cassandra and Estrella – The Librarians (TNT)
At the time of this submission, Riese’s list of dead lesbian and bisexual characters on TV has reached 194. That’s nearly 200 dead characters that LGBT fans who just want to see themselves reflected on television have had to mourn. After having to deal with all of that loss, there’s something especially alluring about Estrella offering Cassandra immortality to escape death.
Ultimately, Cassandra decides that immortality isn’t for her but she promises that she’ll never forget Estrella or her offer. Estrella brushes the hair from Cassandra’s face and pulls her into a sweet, storybook kiss.
#5. Camille and Amanda – Stitchers (Freeform)
Before Camille kisses Amanda for the first time, she admits to her co-worker, Linus, that she’s reluctant to trust people — a necessary trait for someone to someone working for the NSA, I’d imagine. Linus advises her to give whomever she’s met a chance because, “everyone deserves to be trustred until proven otherwise.” While Camille acknowledges that’s a horrible policy, she considers it…after all, who wants to be known as the second queer brunette on TV to let go of the amazing chemistry she has with an alluring part-time DJ?
When a work project goes awry, and Linus’ horrible advice proves to be as horrible as Camille thought it was, you think Camille will give up on pursuing Amanda, but she doesn’t! She goes to the club where Amanda’s spinning and holds the DJ’s gaze from across the room. Amanda takes a break and goes to meet Camille at the bar…where, with no words exchanged, they kiss for the first time.
#12. Clare and Baldwin – Counterpart (Starz)
When you first meet Baldwin, she seems impenetrable…she’s a stone-cold assassin, intent on taking out all the targets on her kill list. She moves from one kill to the next with surgical precision, only pausing momentarily to take care of her own injuries. But once she’s brought face to face with her counterpart from another dimension and is forced to watch her die, Baldwin’s emotions rise to the surface. In any other situation, Baldwin would’ve seen Clare coming — she knows what a threat she poses to her bosses now — but, still reeling from the loss, Baldwin accepts the one human connection she’s been offered.
“It’s a choice, loneliness,” Clare says, taking fully advantage of Baldwin’s vulnerability, “You’re the only one who knows who I really am in this whole fucking world, and I would never let anyone hurt you.”
Baldwin wants so desperately to believe that so she kisses Clare at that moment. Clare pushes her away initially, but seeing an opportunity to further seduce Baldwin, she takes it.
#6. Sara and Ava – Legends of Tomorrow (The CW)
I’ll give Valerie the floor for this one:
Ava confronts Sara about bailing, but Sara says she bailed because of work too. They fight, and Sara finally shouts that she should have known she could never be in a normal relationship because she’s not normal. At which time Ava shouts back that she wouldn’t want Sara to be this “normal” she speaks of. And then the tension bubble in the room bursts and Sara looks at Ava, bewildered, and asks, “You don’t” and Ava responds, “Hell no,” and the music swells and they rush into each other’s arms and they kiss like it’s the end of a black and white movie and the screen is shrinking all around them.
And just when you think it can’t get any more perfect, pirates interrupt their kiss so they take up weapons and get ready to fight side by side.
#11. Nicole and Waverly – Wynonna Earp (SYFY)
Valerie sums up Nicole and Waverly’s kiss better than I ever could:
After throwing up every wall she could think of between herself and Nicole, Waverly cracked and stormed into the sheriff’s office and shut all the blinds and crashed herself into Nicole so hard they stumbled back onto the couch and kept on kissing and panting like something out of a fan fiction. I mean. Y’all. They kissed for like a good two minutes. In between which Waverly confessed that she’s always wanted to skydive and swim with sharks and eat weird food, because she likes to be scared, but when the thing she’s scared of the most is the human lady right in front of her, it’s a little too real. Adorable-sexy is my favorite kind of sexy, and these two are perfect at it.
#7. Seyah and Aneela – The Killjoys (Space/SYFY)
There’s something both alluring and worrisome about having two lady villains make a romantic connection. On the one hand, it feels revolutionary…queer people shouldn’t always be tasked with saving the world, especially a world that’s been so cruel to them historically. But, on the other hand, they’re ultimately villains and, at some point you know there will be a choice between continuing the villainy or the romance and we all know that doesn’t always end well. That ending seems particularly likely on The Killjoys where Delle Seyah is repeatedly warned that Aneela tends to break her toys once she tires of playing with them. But, I digress…
When Delle Seyah and Aneela kiss for the first time, it’s because Seyah’s impressed by the extent of Aneela’s villany. Seyah leans in to kiss Aneela but before their lips can meeting, Aneela pulls back. She pauses and reasserts herself as the powerful one — this time, she does the leaning — and she kisses Seyah.
#10. Cosima and Delphine – Orphan Black (Space/BBC America)
The first kiss that Cosima and Delphine share is a mistake or so it seems. Cosima misreads the signals she’s been getting from Delphine and kisses her, prompting Delphine to make a hasty exit. It’s a simple kiss but it’s enough…enough to linger in Delphine’s mind, enough to make her rethink everything she’s ever known about herself.
“I can’t stop thinking about that kiss,” Delphine admits when she visits Cosima again. Ever the scientist, she continues, “I’ve never thought about bisexuality, for myself, you know. But as a scientist, I know sexuality is a spectrum. But, you know, social biases…they codify attraction contrary to biological fact.”
Then Delphine reaches out and caresses Cosima’s face, brushing her fingertip across Cosima’s lips, and then draws her in for a passionate kiss.
Never have the words of the immutable Jesse Pinkman seemed more appropo: “Yeah Science!”
#8. Vanessa and Susan – Van Helsing (SYFY)
Right before the Vanessa and Susan kiss, on-screen, for the first time, Susan asks if she can bunk with Vanessa for the night because the place they’re staying in gives her the creeps. I catch on this for a second — there’s a vampire apocalypse going on outside and this is the thing that gives her the creeps?! — but forget about the second the pair curl up next to each other and get nostalgic about their shared past.
Susan chuckles after sharing a story about her father and Vanessa admits, “I always loved that about you, how you could laugh, even when everything is shit.”
“Everything is always shit unless I’m with you,” Susan says before pulling Vanessa into a kiss. She attempts to deepen it, but Vanessa stops her, urging her to rest instead. They cuddle against each other and fall asleep together. You know this is going to end badly — did I mention that they’re being hunted by vampires?! — but there’s something nice about this tiny bit of light being brought into such pervasive darkness.
#9. Alex and Maggie – Supergirl (The CW)
Everyone tells you how scary coming out can be and that’s true — there’s no way around that — but there’s this moment afterwards that’s the greatest high you’ll ever experience. You have conquered this incredible, imposing thing, and now you’re rushing through the world, like you just collected a Super Star. For this short period of time, you are invincible.
And that’s why Alex pulls Maggie into a kiss…because in that moment, Alex Danvers is as close to having a natural superpower as she’ll ever get . But the Super Star eventually wears off and, once again, you’re susceptible to the world’s harms, including the heartbreak that Maggie metes out when she rejects Alex’s advances.