Everyone remembers their first kiss. Whether it was romantic, unexpected, or just downright embarrassing — your first real-deal, mouth-to-mouth smooch is a memory that you’ll carry with you forever. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you spend years of your young life mulling over and planning — that is, until it actually happens and you’re hit with the realization that this kind of stuff will simply never go as planned.
The only thing better than experiencing your own first kiss is watching your favorite television couples experience their first kiss. There have been countless iconic first kisses in movie history, but we’re arguably even more emotionally invested in those television romances, from Jim and Pam’s secret smooch, to Luke and Lorelai’s long-awaited first kiss, to Lizzie McGuire living our actual teenage dreams and kissing everybody’s late ’90s / early ’00s heartthrob, Aaron Carter. Come on, that is what dreams are made of.
Sit back, relax, and take a stroll down memory lane by reliving some of TV’s most unforgettable smooches.
Mindy and Danny join the mile-high club on The Mindy Project
Airplanes aren’t famous for being the most romantic of places — but Mindy Kaling put them on the romance map with "The Desert," the 14th episode of The Mindy Project‘s second season.
As any fan of The Mindy Project will tell you, it’s pretty obvious just how big of a part romantic comedies have played in Mindy Kaling‘s life. In 2011, one year before The Mindy Project debuted on FOX, Kaling penned an op-ed piece for The New Yorker titled "Flick Chicks" in which she discusses her "favorite kind of movie," the romantic comedy.
"I like watching people fall in love onscreen," Kaling writes. Hey, so do we! That’s why Mindy and Danny’s mile-high kiss will forever be in our hearts. After two seasons’ worth of build-up, grumpy-but-lovable Danny Castellano and everywoman Mindy Lahiri finally gave in to the romantic tension that was thick enough to cut with a knife — or a scalpel. They are doctors, after all.
Alex and Marissa’s steamy Valentine’s kiss on The O.C.
The O.C. was the show that defined what it meant to be a teenager in the early 2000s. Set against a backdrop of beautiful coastal-California scenery and the coolest indie-rock soundtrack, the hit Fox drama featured four teen friends — Ryan, Seth, Marissa, and Summer (along with their parents, who have problems of their own) — falling in love, getting in trouble, and trying to figure it all out.
The show was overwhelmingly focused on the heterosexual experience — so when Alex Kelly, a bi-sexual bartender played by Olivia Wilde, was introduced, fans were delighted to see a romantic relationship unfold between the new girl in town and Ryan Atwood’s troubled love interest, Marissa Cooper. Though Alex was originally introduced as a love interest for the adorably nerdy Seth Cohen, the chemistry between her and Marissa was too obvious to ignore.
That chemistry resulted in what Olivia Wilde told Andy Cohen is her favorite girl-on-girl onscreen kiss. "It was a real, loving, sweet relationship, and it was two young women," Wilde dished on Watch What Happens Live! (via Entertainment Tonight).
Jim and Pam’s after-hours smooch on The Office
The Office premiered on March 24, 2005, and so did possibly the most iconic workplace romance of our generation. It was crystal clear to audiences from the very first episode of the series that Dunder Mifflin’s affable and sarcastic paper salesman, Jim Halpert, and the witty and kind receptionist, Pam Beesly, were meant to be. A first kiss was inevitable — and as Jenna Fischer writes in her book, The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide (via Today), "Everyone on the show wanted [the kiss] just right." And boy, was it ever. While the two technically kissed at Chili’s while Pam was drunk (and high off receiving her Dundie award), it’s not the iconic kiss we’re talking about.
When Jim confessed his love for Pam in the parking lot of Dunder Mifflin at the company’s Casino Night fundraiser, The Office fans everywhere cheered. Pam initially shot him down, only to sneak away to her receptionist desk a few moments later to call her mom and talk through her feelings for Jim (because that’s what moms are for). Suddenly, Jim enters, quietly walks up to his future-wife, takes her in his arms, and plants one of the most long-awaited kisses in TV history. We’re still not over it.
"Merry Christmas, Lizzie McGuire"
"Merry Christmas, Lizzie McGuire."
These four little words simultaneously warmed and broke the hearts of pre-teen girls everywhere in the early 2000s. The year was 2001, and Aaron Carter was the hottest ticket in town. There were plenty of girls who desperately wished the "I Want Candy" singer would show up in their hometown and kiss them under the mistletoe, but that honor was reserved for one very special young lady — Miss Lizzie McGuire herself.
Sure, everything feels like a big deal when you’re a teenager — but this kiss felt particularly iconic. A writer for Lizzie McGuire, Nina Bargiel, shared with MTV how exactly she made the magical moment happen. Step one? Go to a 13-year-old’s birthday party.
"We were told, ‘We want Aaron Carter on an episode. Go to his 13th birthday party, find him, and talk to him,’" Bargiel dished. The Lizzie McGuire writer was 27 at the time, and attending a teenager’s birthday party was probably not what she imagined she’d be doing at that point in her career. Hey, it’s a tough job – but somebody had to set up Hilary Duff and Aaron Carter.
How I kissed your mother
How I Met Your Mother is a classic tale of boy meets girl… told over the course of nine long seasons. Premiering on September 19, 2005, the hit CBS sitcom followed Ted, its hopeless romantic lead, as he recounted to his two children the story of — wait for it — how he met their mother. The show featured an all-star cast including Alyson Hannigan, Cobie Smulders, Jason Segal, Josh Radnor, and Neil Patrick Harris. But perhaps the biggest star of all was the titular mother — the woman who fans of HIMYM waited nine long years to meet.
That wait came to an end during the season eight finale episode when fans were finally treated to more than a slight glimpse at the mother, Tracy McConnell (played by Cristin Milioti). Adorable and spunky, she was all fans had hoped for and more. But there was another wait to be had — the first kiss between Tracy and her husband-to-be, Ted. The long-awaited smooch happened in episode 21 of season 9, "Gary Blauman" — making a Scottish-Mexican fusion restaurant seem oddly romantic.
Michonne and Rick prove love ISN’T dead on The Walking Dead
AMC’s The Walking Dead is known for totally surprising its fans — and while those surprises usually come in the form of beloved characters’ deaths, this particular surprise featured one of the steamiest, most long-awaited kisses television has ever seen.
Michonne, the badass, sword-wielding warrior, makes her first appearance in The Walking Dead‘s season two finale "Beside the Dying Fire." Over the next four seasons, she develops an unbreakable friendship with leader-of-the-pack Rick Grimes. Fans were pretty persistent about wanting the friendship between the zombie-fighting pals to develop into something more — and in the tenth episode of the sixth season, their calls for a Rick and Michonne romance were answered with an unforgettable make-out session.
Danai Gurira, the actress who portrays Michonne, dished to Variety about the relationship. "I think there’s a lot of intimacy there," Gurira said. "To realize this person who is very close to being your best friend is actually also someone who you have feelings for and you find deeply attractive in a whole other way. … They’re deeply intimate friends, and now they’re lovers."
The one where Ross and Rachel finally kiss
If you’re a fan of Friends, you know that Ross Gellar has some of the most quotable lines in television history. But long before there was "We were on a break," there was "You’re over me? But when were you under me?"
This magnificent Ross Gellar musing comes from the seventh episode of the second season of the hit NBC sitcom — which ran for 10 seasons from September 1994 to May 2004 — aptly titled "The One Where Ross Finds Out." But what exactly did the lovelorn paleontologist find out? Oh, just that Rachel Green — the woman he’s been head-over-heels in love with for like, forever — has feelings for him, too. And while audiences were privy to Rachel’s feelings the whole time, the reveal was just as exciting for fans as it was for Ross.
It all came together (both for fans and for Ross and Rachel) at the end of the episode when the adorable will they/won’t they couple shared a steamy, iconic, after-hours Central Perk kiss.
Arizona takes Callie by surprise on Grey’s Anatomy
Sure, Grey’s Anatomy is famous for killing off your favorite characters without blinking an eye. But Shonda Rhimes’ hit ABC drama isn’t just responsible for some of the most mourned losses in television history — it’s also responsible for some of the most celebrated and beloved couples primetime TV has ever seen.
Case in point: Callie Torres and Arizona Robbins. Torres, Seattle Grace’s orthopedic surgeon, had been quite unlucky in love before meeting Robbins at Joe’s Pub. Robbins, the soon-to-be head of pediatrics at the hospital, was smitten with Torres from their first meeting — and while the couple may have (spoiler alert) eventually parted ways, this first kiss remains one for the ages.
Unfortunately, you can’t please everyone — something Jessica Capshaw, the actress who portrays Arizona, quickly learned. She dished to TV Line in 2011 about the backlash the show received over Callie and Arizona’s frequent, steamy make out sessions throughout the course of the show. "It’s interesting because people don’t raise the same questions about the straight couples," Capshaw said. "I’m not really sure where it comes from."
Ned and Chuck are total cutie pies in Pushing Daisies
Pushing Daisies is a show about death, dying, and dead people that will make your heart absolutely swoon. Confused? Well, watch just one episode of the celebrated, short-loved ABC series, get a load of The Piemaker and a girl named Chuck, and you’ll understand exactly why fans of the show are still mourning its untimely demise.
The fairytale-inspired sitcom follows Ned, also known as The Piemaker, who discovers at a young age that he can bring people (and animals) who have passed away back to life with just one touch. The only problem? If he touches them once more, they die again — this time, for good. This wouldn’t be much of a problem if Ned didn’t use his healing powers on Chuck, a girl who he’s hopelessly in love with and can never again touch — or kiss.
Luckily for Ned and Chuck (and fans rooting for their star-crossed relationship), where there’s a will — there’s a way. For these two lovebirds, that way comes in the form of plastic wrap, which Chuck lovingly places to Ned’s face before laying on what would have been a killer smooch — pun intended.
Luke and Lorelai lock lips in the season four finale of Gilmore Girls
There have been plenty of will they/won’t they romantic relationships throughout television history, but few have been as slow-building and rewarding as the relationship between Lorelai Gilmore and Luke Danes from Amy Sherman Palladino’s hit show, Gilmore Girls.
Fans of the show were introduced to the snarky friendship between the two Stars Hollow residents in the very first moments of the series — when Lorelai begs Luke for a cup of his delicious coffee and he (lovingly — kind of) responds, "You have a problem." She’s got a major coffee addiction, and he’s got the best coffee in town. That’s love, folks.
The romantic tension between Lorelai and Luke is thick and spread out over the course of four seasons with little-to-no pay-off (except for one dreamy episode), even though Scott Patterson, the actor who portrayed Luke, confirmed to Glamour that he and Lauren Graham shared something from the very start. "Listen, the whole thing just worked," he said. "The chemistry was there." Thankfully, loyal fans were finally rewarded with "Raincoats and Recipes," the season four finale episode where Luke finally laid a big, wet, romantic smooch on Lorelai. Oy with the build-up already!