Searching For Meaning In The Meaningless Celebrity Kiss

Illustration for article titled Searching For Meaning In The Meaningless Celebrity Kiss

Were you aware that celebrities sometimes kiss onstage to get attention? From Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes, to Sandra Bullock and Scarlett Jonahnsson, to Miley and some dancer, stars can't stop exchanging loveless liplocks! But what does it all mean?!

A recent New York Times article investigating this strange new phenomenon starts out:

Kristin Chenoweth's knees buckled after Sean Hayes wiped her mouth with his tongue at last week's Tony Awards. Days earlier, Sandra Bullock cradled Scarlett Johansson's tousled mane, tenderly pressing their lips together at the MTV Music Awards. That came on the heels of Miley Cyrus's awkward kiss of a female backup dancer on a family-oriented British talent show.


As the Times explains, the first two kisses were just "stunts to cope with a controversy" — Hayes and Chenoweth were mocking the Newsweek article on gay actors playing straight roles, and Sandra kissing ScarJo was meant to convey that she's over the cheating scandal (though it's unclear what that has to do with kissing a female friend).

Miley doesn't belong in this group since she wasn't diffusing a scandal (unless there's some group criticizing her for being too relentlessly heteerosexual I'm unaware of). According to the Times she's just exhibiting "a certain level of gender-bending cultural cool" by kissing a woman — and you can't write a trend piece unless you have three examples.

Not that there aren't other actors partaking in this rapidly-growing fad. The Times asks: "Why else would Dustin Hoffman and Jason Bateman, the unlikeliest bromance east of Hollywood, lock lips for the Kiss Cam at the N.B.A. Finals?" Because that's what you do on the Kiss Cam and Hoffman thought it was funnier than kissing his wife? The article continues: "It's enough to make Adam Lambert's enthusiastic man-on-man smooch with a band mate at the American Music Awards last year seem passé." Yes, because that happened a year ago. But then again, "Almost every onstage kiss pays homage to Madonna's 2003 kiss with Britney Spears."

But, things have changed since this hot new trend started seven years ago. Hollywood marketing expert Terry Press says, "Its shock value has worn down. At this point you would have to kiss Dick Cheney to have a ‘woo hoo' moment." Or you could try an actual homosexual kiss.


Perhaps we're desensitized to all this celebrity PDA because we know it's totally innocuous. Miley kissed a woman in an ill-advised attempt to shed her Disney image, and the others were just trying to get a laugh. That's why Adam Lambert is the only celebrity to suffer serious repercussions for his onstage display; A gay man was French kissing another man. Apparently Americans (and Good Morning America) are still threatened by male homosexuality. Sean Hayes chose to make his point about the Newsweek piece by kissing a woman, so his response came off as funny and good-natured. If he and Jonathan Groff, another openly-gay actor mentioned in the article, had chosen to make a stand at the Tony Awards by passionately kissing each other, it definitely would have gotten more than a "woo hoo," from Americans, and the censors.

For Celebrities, A Kiss Is Not Just A Kiss [NYT]
From Glee To Sean Hayes: Gay Actors Play Straight [Newsweek]

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Slay Belle

Why does everyone always neglect to mention that Madonna kissed Xtina right before Britney during the same performance? It's like it never happened.

Poor Xtina. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride.