comedy couples from sitcoms all on a blue background

‘Abbott Elementary’s Slow Burn Joins the Ranks of All-Time Sitcom Greats

My favorite thing about sitcoms is the couples. There are just some kisses between sitcom couples that really connect with you, and Abbott Elementary‘s take on the sitcom kiss in the season 3 finale did not disappoint!

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The slow burn is an art form, and sitcoms have mastered it. Maybe it is a sitcom’s ability to spend more time with two characters jokingly flirting with each other, or maybe it is just that sitcoms do it better, but whenever the slow-burn couple figures their stuff out and kisses for the first time? And they mean it? It feels like my entire body is lighter. I believe that love is real and that nothing can harm me.

It takes skill to make a kiss like this work and now that Abbott Elementary has joined the ranks of the best of them, let’s talk about some of the best sitcom kisses out there.

Jim and Pam

jim and pam standing back to back on the office

As a young college woman, my roommates and I used to put on “Casino Night” from The Office any time we were upset. It was a barometer for how everyone was feeling about their love lives. Now, it stands as one of the most heartbreaking yet beautiful beginnings to a relationship.

Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) had a crush on Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer) from the start of the series, but she was with Roy (David Denman) at the time. While Jim tried desperately to get over his crush, it never quite worked out. Their kiss in “Casino Night” is one of those moments on The Office that still hits. Jim and Pam flirt all night at a casino-themed event for Dunder Mifflin. When Jim finally decides to open up about his feelings, it doesn’t go well, but when they both end up back in the office, they kiss each other and … well, the rest is history.

Ben and Leslie

ben and leslie kissing each other

Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott) comes into Leslie Knope’s (Amy Poehler) life on Parks and Recreation when Pawnee is on the brink of bankruptcy. At first, she hates him. But the more she learns about the former teen mayor from Partridge, Minnesota, the more she falls in love with him. Unfortunately, they weren’t allowed to date each other because of Chris Traeger’s (Rob Lowe) rules about inter-office dating, which just makes their eventual kiss even better.

It is clear in “Road Trip” that Ben and Leslie can’t really fight how they feel about each other, especially when Ben admits to Leslie that he loves the town’s blonde hair. Still, they are afraid of losing their jobs so they pretend like they can let this crush go. As Leslie brings some receipts to Ben, he takes them from her hands and kisses her, making for one of the hottest first kisses on television.

Nick and Jess

nick and jess kissing in each other's arms on new girl

Nick Miller (Jake Johnson) and Jessica Day (Zooey Deschanel) started out as roommates on New Girl. When Jess moved into the loft with all the boys, she ended up being the best friend they all needed. Even though she had boyfriends and Nick was trying to find the right girl, it was inevitable that the two would eventually figure out their feelings for each other.

After Nick and Jess play a game of “True American” with their roommates (and after the guys say that Jess is essentially a cockblock), they retreat back to their bedrooms. At this point in season 2, Jess is with Sam (David Walton). But when Nick grabs her arm, turns her towards him, and lays one on her, I don’t think any of us could really be mad about it. It is one of the best kisses ever in media and just a sight to behold.

Gregory and Janine

gregory and janine kissing each other standing

Now, Gregory and Janine have kissed before. In season 2, the two kiss while on a trip with their students but decide that they can’t do anything about their feelings. Out of the two, the kiss in the season 3 finale is much better, and it gives me “Smallest Park” energy from Parks and Recreation.

In the episode “Party,” Janine tries very hard to make sure her party is perfect for everyone she invited. Gregory, who still thinks that Janine is maybe dating Manny (Josh Segarra), leaves the party with Jacob (Chris Perfetti) and the rest of their friends. It isn’t until Jacob points out that Manny also left the party and that Janine asked Gregory to stay longer that it registers with him—he can’t keep pretending like he doesn’t have feelings for her.

Gregory goes back and knocks on her door right as Janine was about to come look for him, and they kiss. The moment is an instant classic.

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.