We get to watch the Rachel McAdams and Jennifer Anistons of the world get epically kissed on an annual basis. (We hear McAdams’s smooch scene in The Vow was pretty great this year.) But how often do you see an undead vampire rip an entire living room apart with his loving (à la Dark Shadows), or a prostitute fall for a dwarf (Tyrion and Shae!), or Liz Lemon get married in a Princess Leia costume? 2012 was a year filled with memorable kisses, and here we present 15 of the best, from Downton Abbey to The Hunger Games and more.
‘The Amazing Spider-Man’
Though not quite as iconic as that other Spider-Man kiss, The Amazing Spider-Man held its own in the kiss department. Peter Parker (James Garfield) reveals his superpowers to Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) by spider-web-lassoing her into his arms and then planting his lips on her utterly confused face. He then jumps off a building to go fight crime, leaving Stacy totally smitten—and more than a little apprehensive. “I’m in trouble,” she breathes.
‘The Hunger Games’
Was it real? Was it fake? How does Katniss really feel about Peeta? And what about Gale?! The Hunger Games featured a pseudo-romance (or was it?) between Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), the tributes from District 12 who are forced to fight to the death in The Hunger Games. The two pretend to be star-crossed lovers to attract sympathy (and thus sponsors’ gifts in the arena, crucial to survival), but the line between fiction and reality begins to blur—especially after this kiss.
You know what they always say: the best way to teach someone a lesson is to strip nearly naked and start cleaning the house, or something. In the Mad Men fifth season episode “A Little Kiss,” Megan (Jessica Paré) is upset with Don for his sour reaction to the birthday party she put together for him. In an apparent attempt at retribution, she strips down to her underwear and begins cleaning the apartment, telling Don he “doesn’t get to have this” and all he’s allowed to do is “sit in a corner and watch.” That’s not what happens.
Much like the rest of Dark Shadows, the big Eva Green/Johnny Depp kissing scene left us feeling mostly confused and uncomfortable. But once witnessed, you’re not likely ever to forget it—or listen to Barry White the same way again. Hence its place on this list.
The dumbfounded look on Jessa’s face after prim and proper Marnie abruptly plants one on her (for no reason other than to feel reckless) summed up our initial reaction to this kiss, too. But then we got kinda into it. HBO’s Girls features young women making a lot of ill-conceived decisions, and this is no exception—but it felt important. Bonus points for Chris O’Dowd throwing around “Missy Maloo” and “Mary Poppins” as insults.
Ugh. We haven’t seen Claire Danes in this toxic a relationship since she pined after Jared Leto in My So-Called Life. Carrie and Brody mash their faces together in this episode, prompting Brody to ask, “Is this for real?” It’s like he read our minds—is this for real, Homeland? Is it?!
‘Parks and Recreation’
Who’s cutting onions? Ben’s proposal to Leslie on Parks and Recreation was equal parts sweet and hilarious—perfect for the union of their characters. He technically doesn’t even finish the proposal before the kiss happens, but by then your vision will be blurry with happy tears anyway.
Ever wondered what it looks like when Nicole Kidman leans in to kiss you? Lee Daniels’s The Paperboy is here for you, buddy. Witness Kidman’s pink, puckered lips come in for a smooch.
‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn—Part 2’
The final installment in the Twilight movie series was loved for many reasons, not least of which was that it at last signaled the end of sparkly vampires and baby-loving werewolves onscreen. Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, as vampire couple Bella and Edward. won their fourth MTV Best Kiss Award for their smooches in Breaking Dawn—Part 2, one of which is featured here.
‘Game of Thrones’
Some might give the Game of Thrones Kiss Award to Robb Stark and Talisa, the noblewoman who forsook a lady’s life and now works as a medic—they finally surrendered to the sexual tension and kissed for the first time in Season 2’s “The Prince of Winterfell.” But nothing beats the surprising tenderness on Tyrion Lannister’s face as he bursts into Shae’s room and attempts to warn her about the dangers brewing around them. “I would kill for you, do you know that?” he says, with a look of utter anguish on his face. It’s a weird contrast from his usual jokester, cunning demeanor—and it’s completely awww-worthy.
Granted, it was their second time exchanging vows, and it went down approximately four seconds before Chuck got arrested, but there was a satisfying sense of finality to this Blair and Chuck Gossip Girl wedding. The series finale episode served up a double dose of “I dos,” with Serena and Dan also putting an end to their dramatics and tying the knot.
These two could put Blair and Chuck’s dramatic stunts to shame. Lady Mary and Matthew finally set aside their insecurities (and memories of their deceased former lovers—but hey, who doesn’t sleep with and accidentally kill a Turkish diplomat, Mary?) in order to finally come together as the couple we always knew they could be. Now if only we could get them to stay together. (Don’t leave Downton, Dan Stevens!)
‘Snow White and the Huntsman’
Thor kissing Bella Swan and bringing her back to life definitely makes our list. Kristen Stewart plays a not-so-helpless version of Snow White in Snow White and the Huntsman, with Chris Hemsworth as the royal hunter who spares her life and devotes himself to keeping her alive. No prince swoops in for the final chapter of this Snow White tale—it’s the huntsman who gets the kiss.
What the what!? After five seasons of Liz Lemon’s wacky, slightly deranged ex-boyfriends—a pretty illustrious list: Matt Damon, James Franco, Jon Hamm, Steve Martin, and Jason Sudeikis have all played ex-Lemon-boy-toys—and two seasons of Criss Cros (James Marsden) as Lemon’s fiancé, the 30 Rock wedding finally came. And the gown Liz chose? A Princess Leia outfit—perfection.
‘Silver Linings Playbook’
We couldn’t find a video of Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) and Pat (Bradley Cooper) kissing after their big dance scene in David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook, but it was so good that we’re including it anyway—and throwing this trailer and GIF at you instead. Though she develops feelings for Pat somewhere between stalking his jogging route and forcing dance lessons on him, Tiffany continues to work with Pat on the condition that she help him get back together with his ex-wife. When the opportunity finally comes for Pat to reconcile with his former spouse, he doesn’t. He runs out after Tiffany and tells her he’s staying with her instead. This kiss was important, guys. This kiss felt like justice.