10 Perfect TV First Kisses

“Abbott Elementary” joins the all-time cast of “The Office,” “New Girl” and more.

Editor’s Note: This post contains spoilers about… well, a lot of things. But mostly for “Abbott Elementary” Season 2.

Is there anything quite as satisfying as the inevitable kiss in a slow-burning TV romance? It’s a tough one to beat, based on the trope’s popularity, from Sam and Diane’s days on “Cheers” to recent television comedies (before spoilers). Watching two characters kiss episode after episode, or years of romantic and sexual tension, is a reason to celebrate — even if their story is so tangled that they may not yet find the happy ending they’ve been longing for.

“Abbott Elementary” joined the list this week (finally) with “Teacher Conference,” Season 2 Episode 16, written by Quinta Brunson. The episode features a much-anticipated kiss between Janine and Gregory, which delights viewers and no doubt makes life difficult for the cast, as all great TV kisses do.

To celebrate this latest in a string of will-they-won’t-they epic TV kisses (again: spoilers), here are the 10 best comedies of the 21st century.

10. Ned and Chuck, “Pushing Daisies”

You can’t talk about key TV kisses without the show that baked it right into the premise (pun intended). After reviving his dead childhood sweetheart Chuck (Anna Friel) from the dead, Ned (Lee Pace) can never touch him again without killing him for good. It’s a pretty convoluted situation for two people who fall in love almost immediately, but “Pushing Daisies” found countless ways to maintain the sweetness between Ned and Chuck without diminishing the sexual tension. The first and arguably the best? Plastic packaging. It’s only a temporary solution, but it’s really cute, and Ned and Chuck will be back once they figure out it’s safe and fun.

9. Amy and Jonah, “Super Store”

Another multi-year workplace romance saw the resident endgame couple forced together. Jonah (Ben Feldman) and Amy (America Ferrera) are trapped in the Cloud Nine Superstore during a tornado along with many of their co-workers and take cover together when their safety is threatened. Fearing for their lives and unable to deny the sparks between them, they kiss under a shaking counter while the wind swirls menacingly around them. A tortuous year begins before they get together, a pain shared by many on this list.

8. Arthie and Yolanda, “GLOW”

Two women in 80s clothing sit next to each other on a bus;  still from it "IT LIGHTS UP"


Erica Parise/Netflix

There are shy, private, gentle kisses—and there are kisses you share in full wrestling gear in front of a live (and televised!) audience. Arthie (Sunita Mani) and Yolanda (Shakira Berrera) have always had chemistry on “GLOW,” hence their racially charged pairing in the ring, but Season 2 saw that relationship move into romantic territory. After countless hours of bonding, fighting and getting to know each other, they kiss it off in the ring and immediately return to wrestling. “GLOW” was canceled before fans got to see more of their future, but we like to think it was a bright one.

7. Otis and Maeve, “Sex Education”

Otis Milburn (Asa Butterfield) was in over his head when he first fell for easy-going older girl Maeve (Emma Mackey), but love (and sex!) can be strange. By the end of Season 1, that love had turned sour, and by the end of Season 2, Otis finally told her, but a jealous friend deleted her voicemail. But Season 3 gave these horny, crazy kids a chance when they finally work out their miscommunication and kiss while stuck at a gas station on a school field trip (of course, the bus arrives at that exact moment). Otis and Maeve seem easy to get along with compared to some of the couples on this list, but they face their own challenges before the season ends.

6. Jake and Amy, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”

A kiss in the season finale and the coveted fake dating trope? “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” did it all with Jake (Andy Samberg) and Amy (Melissa Fumero), who spend most of the Season 2 finale kissing while pretending to be a couple. When they learn that Captain Holt (Andre Braugher) is leaving the precinct, they steal a moment alone to unpack and process the news. Confused, distracted, and still high from the previous kiss, they really kiss—like Jake and Amy—but before they can unload. that, they are called to meet the new captain. After years of teasing and tension, it took this one episode and one kiss for the two to realize they wanted to be together (even if fans knew it beforehand).

5. Jim and Pam, “The Office”

It’s safe to say that “Abbott Elementary” draws on a lot of what worked in “The Office,” from the mockumentary format to the slow-burn workplace romance to director Randall Einhorn working his magic behind the camera. This extends to the epic first kiss, which has a fundamental similarity to Jim and Pam: an event at work, a little booze, and a stolen moment alone in a place where they find solace. Jim and Pam first kissed in the Season 2 (another similarity!) finale, “Casino Night,” but things were always tricky when Pam got engaged to Roy. Jim tells her on the street that he’s in love with her, and a shocked Pam says she cherishes their friendship – but Jim shakes his head. “I don’t want to do this,” he says. “I want to be more than that.” Heartbroken, they part ways and Pam seeks refuge in the office itself. A few minutes later, while she’s on the phone, Jim walks in, kisses her, and leaves without a word.

4. Ed and Stede: “Our flag means death”

A man with long gray hair and a beard, wearing a black cloak, with his arm around another man in 18th-century wardrobe, standing on a ship's deck in front of an island;  still from it "Our flag means death"

“Our flag means death”

Aaron Epstein/HBO

If you had told TV fans in 2022 that one of the year’s ride-or-die couples would be the pirate Blackbeard and another man, they would have had a few questions. But Taika Waititi’s gentlemanly comedy has won over millions for its softness, none other than the unexpected love between Stede (Rhys Darby) and Blackbeard (Waititi) – or Ed, as he prefers to be known. In one stirring bonding moment, Stede and Ed share , what makes them happy. “I think you make Ed happy,” Ed says. Stede smiles and that’s all he needs; before she can answer, Ed kisses her. “You make Stede happy,” whispers Stede after him. What is real life compared to the life of a pirate – but what is the life of a pirate compared to sailing off into the sunset with the love of his life?

3. Janine and Gregory, “Abbott Elementary”

Installing a TV or not is not an easy thing. It requires precision from writers, directors and actors – not to mention pure alchemy when it comes to working together in front of an audience. But “Abbott” viewers have been swooning over Janine (Quinta Brunson) and Gregory (Tyler James Williams) since the premiere, when he’s charmed by her quirky optimism and can’t help but stay in school. As always, things were complicated; Janine had a boyfriend, Gregory was dating their colleague’s daughter and a student’s mother (that much we know) and ended up dating Janine’s best friend, Maurice. Here’s where things stand in Season 2’s “Teachers’ Conference,” when a freshly dumped Gregory joins Janine at the Pennsylvania teachers’ outpost and they share a few drinks (a gin and phonics and a daqui-read) and a they end up in a classroom made entirely of flowers. Janine shows the same joy and wonder that has always drawn Gregory to her, and finds herself emotional about her past and present: Gardening and teaching. There was no way they actually kissed when they ducked to the ground to hide from safety and smell the flowers, but that didn’t make it any less satisfying—and immediately stressful.

2. Fleabag and the priest, “flea bag”

Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Andrew Scott had no right to create this explosive sexual chemistry between a Catholic priest and an inexplicably attractive woman. From the early friendly banter, to the conversations about why they can’t be together, to the priest’s crumbling resolve in later episodes, this romance is reframed as forbidden at every turn. This includes the first kiss between Fleabag and the priest, which takes place after she confesses to him in church. Fleabag is lost, the priest is a little drunk, but he talks and he listens, then he says one word for goosebumps: “Kneel down.” He does, and she opens the curtain; towering over him in his imposing uniform, but gently as he caresses her face and pulls her up to him. They kiss like expectants who have imagined this moment ever since they met—but before things can escalate too far (Fleabag can’t take her clothes off), a painting falls elsewhere in the church, shocking them both back. to reality and the priest back to his goal.

1. Nick and Jess, “New Girl”

The first kiss heard in the world of sitcoms and television is that of Nick (Jake Johnson) and Jess (Zoeey Deschanel), whose opposites – attract energy – already livened up “New Girl” in the pilot. Trapped in a night of increasingly sloppy drinking games, the duo are locked behind a door and told they won’t be released until they kiss. They try to be adults (a feat for both of them) but fail, prompting Nick to say “Not like that!” and at last he stepped out of the window and walked along the ledge of the apartment. Later, with everyone in bed (and Jess with her boyfriend), they meet in the hallway when Jess thinks she hears a voice. It’s nothing, but before she goes back to bed, Nick grabs her and kisses her, a kiss Jess later described as, “I saw through space and time.” Viewers could see why.

Register: Stay up to date with the latest movie and TV news! Subscribe to our email newsletter here.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *