The Good Wife’s upcoming season reportedly features an envelope-pushing oral sex scene. From L.A. Law’s first lesbian kiss to teen orgies on Without A Trace, watch TV’s most groundbreaking and hottest moments.
First Lesbian Kiss: L.A. Law
In a 1991 episode of L.A. Law, C.J. Lamb (Amanda Donohoe) and Abby Perkins (Michelle Green) touch lips in prime-time TV’s first steamy lesbian kiss scene—which, of course, ushered in many more hot, ratings-baiting lesbian kissing scenes. From Sarah Jessica Parker and Alanis Morissette on Sex and the City in 2000 to Jennifer Aniston and Winona Ryder on Friends in 2001 to Mischa Barton and Olivia Wilde on The O.C. in 2005 to Teri Hatcher and Eva Longoria in Desperate Housewives in 2009, girls locking lips has gone from groundbreaking to cliché in a matter of two decades.
First Oral Sex Scene: 90210
When the hit teen soap opera 90210 reemerged in 2008 with a reincarnated series on the CW, it was all about pushing sexual boundaries. In the premiere episode, Annie Wilson (Shenae Grimes) spots her ex-boyfriend Ethan Ward (Dustin Milligan) through the windshield of his parked car when—lo and behold—a girl’s head pops up from underneath the dash. The blowjob scene, tame as it may be, didn’t sit well with fans, critics, or alumnae. Former 90210 cast member Jennie Garth told Entertainment Weekly, “Aaron Spelling [the original series’ creator] is rolling over in his grave right now.” And the Parents Television Council attempted to have viewers boycott the network. “It’s such a sucker punch to viewers and a lot of families,” the advocacy group said, via the Los Angeles Times, seemingly without an intentional pun. “No one tuned into 90210 thinking, ‘Hey, maybe I will get to see [oral sex].’”
Dennis Franz' Bare Butt: NYPD Blue
ABC’s NYPD Blue caused a stir when it first aired in 1993—a few organizations boycotted the show and several affiliate channels refused to air the first episode. The reason? Sexual situations—which, in the second season, included the bare butt of Detective Andy Sipowicz (Dennis Franz). In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Franz called the scene “one of the most memorable things on the show.”
First Gay Kiss: Dawson’s Creek
Dawson’s Creek characters Jack McPhee (Kerr Smith) and his crush Ethan (Adam Kaufman) offered teen audiences a passable, if not passionate, male-on-male kiss—the first of its kind on a prime-time TV show—in a 2001 episode. Entertainment Weekly described the mushy moment as “a groundbreaking but disappointingly quick peck.” But unlike most of his same-sex-loving female counterparts, Jack continued to actively date and kiss men on the show, paving the way for future TV characters, from Kevin and Scotty on Brothers & Sisters to Justin on Ugly Betty.
First Interracial Couple: Star Trek
In a 1968 episode of Star Trek, Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) broke racial barriers—and, no doubt, turned heads—when the twosome smooched in what’s been cited as TV’s first interracial kiss. “I’m so frightened,” Lt. Uhura says in character breathily before the make out. “That’s the way they want you to feel,” Captain Kirk retorts with double meaning. Not surprisingly, considering the civil-rights tensions at the time, the scene wasn’t without controversy. Stations throughout the southern United States banned the episode and England allegedly refused to run it for nearly 25 years.
First Lesbian Sex Scene: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
In the third-to-last episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Kennedy (Iyari Limon) became the first characters ever to be shown having lesbian sex on a network TV show. Over its seven-year run, Buffy increased lesbian representation on television, but did not push the envelope in terms of physical affection until the 2003 episode. In the groundbreaking scene, the couple kisses, snuggles, and then, Kennedy puts her pierced tongue to use on Willow’s neck. In a later montage, Kennedy wiggles under the covers and Willow’s eyes grow larger.
First Orgy: Without a Trace
In a 2004 episode of CBS’ Without a Trace, a teenage girl recalls a raunchy orgy that led to murder, complete with horny harems of underage, half-clothed high-school students. It was the first such sex-filled party in TV history and it led to quite the scandal. Complaints from the Parents Television Council, as well as the American Family Association and the FCC, quickly followed, and in the end CBS was fined $3.6 million for the portrayal.
First Gay Daytime Television Sex Scene: One Life to Live
ABC aired daytime TV’s first-ever gay sex scene in a 2009 episode of One Life to Live. In the highly anticipated episode of the soap opera, Oliver (Scott Evans) and Kyle (Brett Claywell) light candles, kiss, take off each other’s shirts, (insert zoom in on candles in during which they presumably get down) and then spoon. “There was no sugarcoating what happened here,” worldofwonder.net’s James St. James writes of the scene. No, but still, it was sweet.