Reality TV may not be heralded for its realness, but sometimes it does get a little bit too real. When the cameras are constantly rolling, awkward stuff is bound to happen — especially when it involves hormones, attraction, skillful producers, and maybe a little too much alcohol. There’s no denying that these kinds of moments make for binge-worthy television, but it’s almost akin to the way people panic-watch the news. It’s hard to look at, yet we can’t stop.
While some reality TV kisses are the kind of thing that makes us believe in love (like those among the rare "90 Day Fiance" or "Married At First Sight" couples who don’t wind up hating each other six months down the line), most are not. The most reality contestants can hope for is that their cringe-worthy kisses fade into oblivion rather than go viral — but we’re living in a voyeuristic culture. That’s what they signed up for, and fans aren’t going to forget it.
These are some of the most embarrassing kisses in the history of reality TV, from the straight-up awkward to the seemingly pleasant peck that iced over the backstabbing fans saw behind the scenes.
The cabs were really here for Jersey Shore’s Vinny Guadagnino and Angelina Pivarnick
Vinny Guadagnino and Angelina Pivarnick have a storied, smush-hate relationship. Throughout "Jersey Shore: Family Vacation," Angelina was very vocal about the lack of intimacy she shared with her actual partner Chris Larangeira, who she married on-screen in 2019. This made the onslaught of flirtations between the "Jersey Shore" frenemies all the more uncomfortable (and a long-running joke), but the pair’s very first hookup still stands as the most embarrassing. Let’s just say, it was not love at first smush — or at least, they’d never admit it if it was.
Before the pair locked lips (and eventually other parts) during Season 2, Vinny had already dubbed Angelina the "Staten Island Dump" for showing up to the house with trash bags rather than suitcases. Regardless of the nickname, which was equal parts mean-spirited and affectionate, the pair ended up getting absolutely tanked and drunkenly set aside their differences with a sloppy cab ride make-out session. To make it more awkward, they were jammed in the backseat with their fellow castmates.
As recapped by The Hollywood Gossip, this came right after Vinny insulted Angelina by crowning her the "Rob Kardashian of Staten Island." Angelina brushed off the hookup by saying, "You do stupid things when you’re drunk," but with enough sexual tension to endure a literal decade, this relationship seems to be a lot more love than hate. At this point, it’s embarrassing they won’t own up.
Jason Mesnick and Shannon Blair’s snotty smooch on The Bachelor
"The Bachelor" is pretty much renowned for two things: the countless women who miraculously fall head-over-heels for a man they hardly know and embarrassing kisses. Disregarding Season 25, where Matt James even made himself uncomfortable with the way he’d kiss contestants with his eyes open, Season 13 stakes a claim to the most disgusting kiss of all time on "The "Bachelor."
It all went down when contestant Shannon Blair was in absolute tears, as contestants often are, over how much she loved bachelor Jason Mesnick (or Jaaay-sunnnn, as she repeatedly said). Since ugly-crying is basically a snot factory, the contestant began blowing and picking her nose before leaning in to plant a very short-lived kiss on Jason’s lips. He let it happen, but not for long because she had pieces of tissue stuck to her nose and he needed to help her pick them off.
"When I went to kiss Jason, I feel like he kind of rejected my kiss," Shannon said in a confessional. "He just ended it abruptly, and he kept telling me that I had napkin on my face" Excuse us while we try not to gag.
Andrew Jones struggled to find his rhythm kissing Cheryl Maitland on MAFS Australia
Two seasons before the great Ines and Sam scandal, "Married At First Sight: Australia" set the tone for awkward kisses with an uncomfortable beach scene between Cheryl Maitland and Andrew Jones. The stakes had been raised because Cheryl was Andrew’s second chance at love. The star had already split from his first match, asking the experts to pair him specifically with the hair salon assistant, but judging by their kiss, they were not signing the same tune.
The setting was idyllic. The pair sat together on a beach with candles as Andrew serenaded Cheryl with his acoustic guitar. By all accounts, Andrew walked so Jed Wyatt, the guitar-wielding playboy from Hannah Brown’s season of "The Bachelorette," could run (to his secret, real-life girlfriend). Cheryl seemed sort of into it, albeit a little preoccupied with holding her hair down from the wind. When the song was over, Andrew leaned in for a kiss and was straight-up rejected. "I don’t want to kiss you," Cheryl flatly said.
We have to stan a girl who says what she means, but poor Andrew’s ego appeared to be bruised. Let’s not forget, the dude didn’t hesitate to degrade his wife’s appearance on international television, which generally doesn’t make one in the mood for PDA. Needless to say, they’re no longer together, and in an interview with NW Magazine (via The Daily Mail), Andrew claimed he suffers from PTSD from his "Married At First Sight: Australia" experience.
Big Ed and Rose on 90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days
Big Ed Brown parlayed his run on "90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days" into full-fledged internet fame, but that’s largely because the star’s storyline was filled with deliciously embarrassing moments — and not just the mayonnaise he regularly put in his hair. Mostly, fans were transfixed by his Filipino girlfriend Rosemarie Vega, whose face was perpetually contorted into a look of utter disgust (to be honest, you can’t really blame her when her boyfriend was shaming her about bad breath and body hair). This was no more apparent than their infamous first kiss, which may just be one of the most awkward in TLC history.
By the time the pair first sort of locked lips in their hotel room, Ed was already on a veritable apology tour, pouring champagne and rubbing Rose’s feet as an act of contrition. He then asked her how to say "kiss" in her language (it’s halik) before politely asking if he could "halik" her. She, again, flashed her patented stink face, playing dumb and asking if he wanted to kiss her basically anywhere on her face that wasn’t her lips. He finally leaned in and gave her cheek a smooch, but asked one last time for genuine lip-lock, and Rose relented with the kind of peck you’d give your mouth-kissing aunt. It’s safe to say that Ed Brown and Rosemarie Vega did not make it.
Ariana Madix and LaLa Kent got Vanderpump unruly in Tom Sandoval’s car
If there’s one thing fans can be grateful for, it’s that "Vanderpump Rules” lived long enough to see a drunken hookup between LaLa Kent and Ariana Madix right before the series’ ultimate downfall. Nothing brings two friends together like, in Ariana’s words, getting "stumble-out-of-the-bar wasted."
Let’s be clear: this moment was as glorious to watch as it was embarrassing. For starters, Lala was recently engaged to her middle-aged, multi-millionaire boyfriend Randall Emmett (or "her man," as she previously called him to conceal his identity). Ariana had been with her boyfriend Tom Sandoval for literal years. Oh, yeah, Tom was also driving the pair as they hooked up in the back and was not afraid to voice his annoyance at the fact that he had just spent the whole day at a car dealership only to have to babysit the sloppy duo.
To make matters more embarrassing, this was actually a thwarted attempt at a threesome. As Ariana revealed to The Daily Dish, she was grabbing Tom as he drove in hopes that two could become three. She started to sober up mid-way and realized that Lala would probably regret it. Tom, on the other hand, was too annoyed to let it happen. He later blabbed about the incident to his friends, claiming Lala led his girlfriend into the backseat by proclaiming, "I just wanna eat your p***y." Embarrassing.
Is Asuelu Pulaa living happily ever after with his mother or Kalani Faagata?
The "90 Day Fiance" extended universe is a treasure trove of awkwardness that spans far beyond the powers of Big Ed. Asuelu Pulaa and Kalani Faagata are actually one of the rare couples that have endured, which isn’t completely surprising considering the pair’s shared heritage. Nonetheless, they’ve had their fair share of ups and downs, but the real takeaway for fans was Asuelu’s embarrassingly passionate kiss with his mother, who had long been a source of conflict for the couple (let’s not forget when she unabashedly demanded money from her son, even though he was in tears, claiming his children would die as a result).
It’s hard to tell if TLC used careful editing to make the kiss scene even more awkward, but if that’s the case, the producer should be hailed as a true artist. The mouth kiss, which lasted more than 10 passionate seconds as Asuelu sobbed and hugged his mother, who was caressing his back, belongs in the Louvre. It doesn’t get more uncomfortable, especially with Kalani and her sister standing there blinking and forcing a smile.
Michelle Kujawa wanted more from this bachelor and she wasn’t afraid to say so
There’s nothing worse than building up a kiss to be explosively passionate only to have it swiftly fizzle as soon as lips are locked. Just about the only thing more embarrassing is mentioning that the kiss was terrible to the person you asked to kiss in the first place. This sort of bad kiss is like "Fight Club." You don’t talk about it, but that’s just what Michelle Kujawa did to Jake Pavelka during his season of "The Bachelor."
The pair were having an intimate one-on-one conversation when Michelle asked the reality star, "Would it be awkward if I asked if I could kiss you to see if I really feel something, for me?" The question actually wasn’t awkward at all. It was reasonable, but her actions after certainly would qualify. As soon as Jake reluctantly gave her a smooch and recoiled, Michelle balked, "You gotta give me something more than that." His eyebrows almost popped off of his forehead.
To make things worse, Michelle threatened to leave the show twice before Jake sent her home. The pair didn’t even get a one-on-one date. As for the kiss, she later reflected to Ellen DeGeneres (via People), "I was in it full force and I didn’t feel anything back from him so why waste each other’s time?"
If you call Francesca Farago the bad guy, she’s going to act like it
Francesca Farago and Harry Jowsey made themselves the villains of Netflix’s "Too Hot to Handle" from the very beginning. The pair couldn’t even wait 24 hours before costing their team thousands of dollars with what might just be the most embarrassing kiss in the series. As fans know, the couple did ultimately make it to the end, only for their relationship to implode when the cameras stopped rolling and kisses no longer had the high stakes of a $3,000 toll. Either way, their first kiss — and the events that unfolded after — were nothing short of uncomfortable.
Harry and Francesca’s first kiss, which was decidedly passionate after some intense deliberation, wasn’t all that embarrassing until it devolved into childish backstabbing. As outlined by Cheatsheet, it cost the group $3,000, which was a small sum compared to the $20,000 the couple lost in Episode 6. The castmates demanded to know who was at fault, and Harry ultimately blamed Francesca, even though he was the one to initiate the kiss. They all believed him, which turned Francesca into the house’s resident villain, and she struggled to make friends.
Francesca was so frustrated that she purposely cost the group more money by kissing castmate Haley Cureton as revenge. When the truth was revealed, Harry looked like an absolute child. In short: it wasn’t a shock that they eventually broke up, even though it took a while.
Tinsley Mortimer’s TMI made this RHONY kiss uncomfortable
Tinsley Mortimer and Leah McSweeny were more like the Real Wild Children of New York than the Real Housewives. Beyond the skinny dipping incident that infuriated Ramona Singer (did Leah really need to javelin a lit tiki torch?), the pair also shared an awkward smooch — but what made it embarrassing wasn’t the kiss itself. It was Mortimer’s TMI, which led up to the kiss.
During a getaway to Newport, Rhode Island that played out in a 2020 episode, Tinsley and Leah became fast friends. Leah’s sister, Sarah McSweeney, ended up joining them for some of the trip, and the trio was filmed giving each other cheek kisses as they took selfies. This shouldn’t have been awkward, but Tinsley decided to take it the extra mile.
Per The Sun’s recap, Sarah joked that "Leah always gets a little too sensual with me at moments," and Tinsley randomly blurted out, "I have made out with my sister." Thank you for sharing, girl. Fans immediately pictured that scene from "Eurotrip," and Tinsley backtracked, saying they only kissed as a joke (if making people’s skin crawl is hilarious). Ultimately, this was a weird lead-up to Tinsley and Leah’s steamy make-out later in the episode. The whole thing delivered so much second-hand embarrassment that it landed a headline on PageSix. It’s never a good thing when tabloids feel the need to explain.
First is the worst when it comes to Carly Waddell and Evan Bass’ embarrassing Bachelor in Paradise kiss
Evan Bass and Carly Waddell’s disastrous kiss was truly paradise for one of these "Bachelor In Paradise" contestants, and that’s what made it so embarrassing. When the pair finally locked lips for the first time, it should’ve been fireworks, but Carly was skeptical from the beginning, telling the cameras, "Would he be aggressive, would it be soft, would it be easy, would it be weird, or would it be wonderful? I want someone who kisses me and I can tell that this is a passionate kiss." Instead, her expectations were shattered. After the pair locked lips, Carly revealed in a confessional that it was "so terrible" she couldn’t understand "how this man has two children."
Her phrasing was cold, but it’s even colder after hearing Evan’s perspective. In his words, the kiss was "incredible." "It was butterflies and explosions. It was perfect," he said. All in all, the massively cringey smooch didn’t seem to do much to keep the couple apart. Carly eventually accepted Evan’s proposal during the Season 3 finale, and according to Us Weekly, they went on to have two children. Clearly, his kissing skills have improved, though the pair have since gone their separate ways.
At least Josh Basili turned his embarrassing smooch on Love at First Kiss into a cottage industry
"Love at First Kiss" is inherently a breeding ground for embarrassing kisses. How are you supposed to be a good kisser when you’re kissing someone you don’t even know? The series, which launched in 2016, basically redefined what it meant to have an uncomfortable, on-screen make-out, but Josh Basili basically told the other contestants to hold his beer.
Josh, who was in his late 20s when his episode aired, had never been kissed before. As Vice pointed out, his first on-screen smooch was merely uncomfortable. They described it as "a toothy, closed-mouthed encounter," but who’s first kiss isn’t? By Josh’s age, most people have a decade of experience.
The real trouble came at the second smooch. If the first was uncomfortable, the second was unbearable. It was so bad that TLC uploaded the clip in a YouTube video titled "Cringe at First Kiss." They did, indeed, do him dirty. Sadly, Josh appeared to be confident going into his lip-lock with Emily, only to lose his nerve at the last second and end up awkwardly kissing her hair before darting out without even making eye contact. The clip went viral, triggering a wave of second-hand embarrassment across its more than 10 million viewers. At least Josh managed to turn his embarrassing kiss into some cold hard cash. As Vice notes, he sold self-deprecating merch after becoming internet famous.
Connor Durman’s kiss with Sophie Piper became a Love Island punchline
With the sheer volume of smooches, it’s not surprising that the UK version of "Love Island" is host to some of the most awkward kisses in reality TV history. Anything involving teeth is decidedly awful, but it’s hard to keep the same precision as you’d have in an intimate hangout when you’re in the midst of a tense physical challenge. Connor Durman learned this the hard way when he locked lips with his love interest Sophie Piper, and basically turned himself into a meme.
In the episode, which aired in January 2020, the pair were taking part in a challenge where Sophie had to pick a person to kiss by placing them in a specific part of the course. As DigitalSpy points out, the reality star was in a love triangle with Connor and Connagh G — but she ended up choosing Connor. He was, of course, hyped. Unfortunately, when it was finally his moment to shine, he accidentally smashed his teeth into hers during their steamy kiss.
This did nothing to thwart the almost constant jokes from fans about the star’s blinding white veneers. The Tab went as far as calling them "Ross Geller level bad," but after the incident, fans couldn’t stop laughing on Twitter. Nonetheless, Connor and Sophie did manage to have a relationship that lasted until the pair found themselves in the midst of a national lockdown.
New York didn’t love watching this embarrassing Flavor of Love make out
Anyone who’s lived through the early aughts knows that New York is both a place and a person of infamy. The reality star first burst into fame as the runner-up on two seasons of VH1’s "Flavor of Love," where she dated famed Public Enemy rapper Flavor Flav before eventually landing her own dating show spinoff. This was back in the golden era of reality TV, where seemingly any unhinged idea was greenlit. Of course "Flavor of Love" gave us one of the most embarrassing on-screen kisses of all time (and the intimate knowledge that Flavor Flav alleged wears a clock in the bedroom).
To push the cringe factor the max, VH1 put New York on a double date with Goldie. After New York greeted the rapper, she sat down and was forced to watch him passionately make out with the other contestant. It was such an egregious display of PDA that it’d be a spectacle even if it didn’t happen in front of New York, who we got the pleasure of seeing with a displeased grimace when the camera panned. The whole package is just a chef’s kiss of reality TV cruelty and embarrassment all around.