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March 15 2010

AfterEllen.com's Top 50 Lesbian and Bisexual Characters. Willow comes in at 7, Tara at 15, Kennedy at 49.

Didn't Willow and Tara also have the first lesbian kiss on television? I know Willow and Kennedy was the first sex scene, but I thought the kiss was a first as well.
Nope, L.A. Law had the first lesbian kiss in 1991 (in the U.S. market at least). For other lesbian smoochies that happened pre-Buffy, see this page.
I'm pretty sure there were lesbian kisses on TV before 2001, whether they were as beautiful as Willow and Tara first onscreen kiss I don't know.
Well to be fair, the L.A. Law kiss was between a bisexual and a bi-curious colleague. The first between two lesbian characters would probably have been on ABC's short-lived Relativity in 1997. The Roseanne/Mariel Hemingway kiss in 1994 was shot in such a way as to block it.
If I google first lesbian kiss, I get a show called Relativity or LA Law., and I know I Rosanne had one ages before BTVS, but seeing as Joss Whedon wrote on that show too...

Willow and Tara aren't famous for being the first lesbian kiss. They're famous for being one of the the most well written lesbian romances, not a sensationalist ratings grab like Ally McBeal.
Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit back in 1989?
Not quite, in fact the first lesbian kiss on British TV was 1988, when the BBC aired an adaptation of DH Lawrences’ The Rainbow, apparently.
And Janet McTeer and Cathryn Harrison as, respectively, Vita Sackville-West and Violet Trefusis in "Portrait of a Marriage" in 1990 ...
Willow and Tara <3

Shame we never got Angel VS. Riley though. ;)
Hmm, on another glance, also finding mention of Auntie Beeb airing Girl, a 1974 play, claimed as including the first lesbian kiss on British television. If that's true, it's quite a jump back in time from the other "firsts".
Though I think the most famous British kiss would the Brookside one back in 1993 (featured a young Anna Friel). I found a very interesting essay about it in passing.

Link:
Terrible picture of Tara.
That is a picture of Amber Benson, but it is not a picture of Amber Benson as Tara Maclay.
Actually, it's a UPN promo pic of Amber as Tara - example or more directly.
I wish they would have said why each character made the list. They seemed to have become tired of explaining after the first few. Did they just feel the need to reach 50? I personally never liked Kennedy as a character, so I'm interested in the opposing opinion and would really like to know why they included her.
Question: does anyone do an RSS feed for AfterEllen for livejournal? I follow the feed for afterelton but can't find the afterellen one.
Zeitgeist: it may be a UPN promo pic, but Amber is not in character as Tara. Not unless someone has written a fanfic where Tara starts imitating Faith.
I'm really amused by the idea that Willow was the first lesbian to have sex on mainstream primetime TV, as if she could have pulled off that feat independently of Tara's involvement. Plus I'm well aware that Willow is more prominent but it seems like there was some fuzziness about whether there was an honest portrayal of her being bi?

Like I was under the impression they were somewhat heeding fans who were concerned Willow being a lesbian would just end up being a phase, but they may have gone a bit too far in the other direction by suggesting there were no circumstances in which she could possibly have interest in men at all ever. (One example being that jock with the accidental love potion who she was going to turn into a girl)

I was about to make the argument that in light of that Tara might be bumped up a few notches but she sort of fits into that archetype of awkward/reserved crunchy granola wicca-good-and-love-the-Earth lesbian and it took awhile for Tara to get a bit more of a spine beyond being the really nice Scooby.

Trying to rationalize Kennedy's place on the list but maybe they just really enjoy Buffy? I really don't feel like there was much to the character we got to learn about when the series was still on but she probably deserves some credit for being so self-assured and somehow managing to survive the TV series?
"Like I was under the impression they were somewhat heeding fans ..."

Who is the they you refer to?
Like I was under the impression they were somewhat heeding fans who were concerned Willow being a lesbian would just end up being a phase, but they may have gone a bit too far in the other direction by suggesting there were no circumstances in which she could possibly have interest in men at all ever. (One example being that jock with the accidental love potion who she was going to turn into a girl)


Though I do agree with you with regards to the ridiculousness of wanting to turn the jock into a girl (a love spell would override even her sexual orientation wouldn't it?) I don't agree that the PTB went to far in the other direction. I know many lesbians that, after dating men, because that's what you do, once they accept their attraction to women, don't feel an attraction towards men again. And I know lesbians that feel attraction towards both but prefer to date woman. Personally, I feel attraction towards men, because I love beauty and there are some very beautiful men out there, but it's not something I have any desire to act on, ever. Sexuality is a broad spectrum and I don't have a problem with the way Willows character was portrayed once she came out of the closet.
I always thought that was an odd promo pic as well, mr_waterproof .... the clothing style is so far removed from anything Tara wore in the show. But of course she looks gorgeous as usual, and I like that she and Willow still feature prominently on lists like this, even though the show's been off the air a while: I think it speaks to the emotional resonance of the characters & the relationship. (Then again, Helena from The L Word is on there too, and I found the writing for her character bizarrely and bewilderingly inconsistent. So who knows.)

Also the article about Brookside was cool (even though I've never heard of the show before and thus had little context for it: I was ten at the time, and not watching any TV whatsoever. Except maybe the Olympics. I had a strange childhood.)
Willow and Tara are still my favourite romantic couple.
No love for Mel and Lindsay? That makes me sad.

There was a kiss on Deep Space Nine, but hey, Trills.
I'm definitely in the "Willow and Tara forever" camp. They're both my personal #1 on the list.

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