Love is in the air around these parts today (or maybe that’s just the smell of all of the chocolate I’m devouring). It’s Valentine’s Day, and here at NGN our philosophy is that this is a holiday meant to celebrate love in all its forms, including love of media, television characters, and fictional relationships.
So today we’re going to get into the Valentine’s spirit with a countdown featuring one of the most romantic of all moments—the first kiss. So grab some chocolate and a glass of wine, click these links, and get ready to relive some of the sweetest, most romantic, and downright steamiest television moments in recent memory.
NGN’s Top 10 TV First Kisses
10. Chuck and Blair (Gossip Girl)
If you ever need a reminder of the way Gossip Girl earned the “pleasure” part of its “guilty pleasure” reputation, watch this kiss again. This first kiss and so much more is an example of the best this show could be—a decadent ride through New York City with sex appeal to burn right through the screen.
9. Castle and Beckett (Castle)
The “undercover kiss” is a common TV trope, but this is so much more. What started out as a ruse turned into something so much more when Beckett leaned in for that second kiss. Was it part of the act or was it a real expression of feelings? I think that second kiss answers that question plainly enough. After two and a half seasons of waiting, this kiss was like an explosion of sexual tension. But what really makes it one of the best of all time is Castle’s awestruck reaction.
8. Alex and Izzie (Grey’s Anatomy)
A bar might not be a common setting for a fairytale kiss, but that’s certainly the best way to describe this moment between Alex and Izzie. It’s “Old Hollywood romance” at its finest, a kind of kiss that left even viewers watching from their couches breathless and smiling (or was that just me?). And, like Castle, it’s Izzie’s barely-contained glee that makes this moment exceptionally memorable, a true standout among the many, MANY first kisses Grey’s has had over the years.
7. Ross and Rachel (Friends)
This one is a true classic. No discussion of great TV kisses should be without this moment. The way the scene builds from tension to humor to romance is as close to perfection as you’re going to find in a sitcom. After so many years, sometimes it’s easy to forget just how much chemistry David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston had. Watch this and remember.
6. Luke and Lorelai (Gilmore Girls)
“Will you just stand still?” Sometimes a great line makes a kiss great, and this is one of those lines. Luke’s passion and Lorelai’s tenderness as they each said this line still have the ability to bring out the goose bumps. And I don’t know if any TV kiss will ever be cut short in a way that can top naked Kirk screaming and running between them.
5. Chuck and Sarah (Chuck)
The “I have to kiss you because we’re going to die” kiss is another common TV trope, but what sets Chuck and Sarah apart from the pack is both their chemistry and their reactions. The passion in this kiss is more intense than most TV kisses I’ve ever seen. I love that their hands don’t know where to rest, that they keep trying to hold each other tighter even when their bodies physically can’t get closer. But, more than anything, I love that they acknowledged the fallout from the kiss right away, with humor and charm.
4. Kurt and Blaine (Glee)
This kiss was so significant for so many reasons. For one, it was a huge moment of character growth for Blaine, taking him from untouchable teen idol to just another teenage boy falling in love. It was also a moment of joy for Kurt, a character who almost never gets to be happy. And finally, it was a huge moment for kids around the country (and around the world) who saw two boys kissing and falling in love and could see themselves reflected in that image, allowing some in the viewing audience a way to feel less alone and others a way to open their hearts to a kind of love they might not have seen as beautiful and genuine and good without this kiss.
3. Jim and Pam (The Office)
Is there any television comedy episode as emotionally affecting as “Casino Night” was and still continues to be? For me, the answer is no. This kiss builds upon what came before it: Jim’s heartbreakingly earnest confession of love to Pam. That earnestness is what makes this kiss still so breathtaking all these years later. With that kiss, Jim and Pam became one of the most genuinely beautiful couples on television, with a love story millions of viewers are attached to because it feels so real.
2. Nick and Jess (New Girl)
This kiss has everything (said in my best Stefon voice). It somehow found a way to be surprising despite being in an episode that basically had viewers begging for a kiss by the end of it. It happened at the right moment for the characters and the show itself. It’s the perfect mixture of passion and tenderness, lust and love. From the moment Nick pulled Jess to him to those two perfect, soft kisses at the end, everything worked—the movement of their hands, the sound of their breathing, the importance of the moment for Nick as a character. And then there’s, “I meant something like that.” I’m still left speechless when it comes to that line. I try to type something profound and all that comes out is SKDJJGHJFGDKJFGHJKDFG;FDGJH. All I know is I want to be kissed like that—and I don’t think I’m the only one.
1. Sydney and Vaughn (Alias)
It’s been over 10 years, but this kiss still puts happy tears in my eyes. Who knew a spy drama could produce one of the most romantic moments in television history? The dichotomy between the sweeping romance of the moment and the action-movie world around it makes it even better. The slow approach, the circling camera work, and the beautiful score (that I can still hear in my head all these years later) combined to make this the perfect first kiss. There’s still no one on TV who can kiss like Jennifer Garner and Michael Vartan back in the day—they just fit. (Don’t tell Ben Affleck I said that.) Before I get incoherent in my rambling, I’ll just leave the video here to speak for itself.
What are your picks for the best TV first kisses of all time? And from all of us at NGN to you, may you have a Valentine’s Day filled with love and the things and people that make you truly happy.