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Most Awkward Love Scenes In TV History

Just as television idealizes various jobs, living situations, and eras of history, it often depicts romantic and sexual encounters as magical moments where nothing can possibly go wrong. Everyone looks good from every angle. No one ever interrupts heartfelt proposals. Neighbors are never ruining the mood by blasting show tunes at full volume. Real life, as we know, is rarely so perfect. Love (and all that goes with it) is, in fact, one of the messiest parts of life. 

But today, we're not interested in impossibly perfect depictions of grand, romantic gestures and midnight encounters. We're taking a look at the moments when television didn't make things sexy and heartfelt, only really, really awkward. As awkward as your worst date, first time, and your high school prom. Some of these love scenes are uncomfortable on purpose. Some of them are utterly in earnest. All of them are horrifically, unforgettably awkward. Brace yourself and read on.

Jaime and Cersei Lannister -- Game of Thrones

To the uninitiated, Jaime and Cersei don't appear to be a strange pairing at all. Nothing wrong with a married couple getting physical with one another, right? What's that you say? They aren't married? Well, why do they have the same last name?

For the five of you out there who have never watched Game of Thrones, Jaime and Cersei are brother and sister. Twin brother and sister. And they have sex on Game of Thrones a lot. Like, a lot. The very first episode ends with them getting discovered in flagrante delicto by Bran Stark (who is maybe seven, at the time), who Jaime immediately pushes out a window. What about Cersei's three kids with Robert Baratheon, you might ask? Nope, they're all Jaime's kids — a fact that Ned Stark discovers and threatens to expose. It's no coincidence he ends up beheaded.

Basically, the forbidden love between these two starts the ball rolling for all the terrible stuff that happens in Westeros. Just keep it in your pants, you two.

Pretty much every scene in the episode "Noretta" -- How I Met Your Mother

For as straight as it typically plays most sitcom tropes, How I Met Your Mother takes some really deep dives into absurdity and subversion. Few episodes showcase this attitude as well as the season seven episode "Noretta." Even though the awkward scenes are in the characters' heads, it doesn't make things any less bizarre.

The premise of the episode is that everyone starts to realize how much their partners remind them of their parents. This leads to a long series of cringe-inducing scenes in which characters get involved in various stages of intimacy with their parents. Nothing like simulated incest on a prime-time sitcom!

The whole episode serves as a way to cram older actors into strange clothing and have actor Jason Segel almost kiss actor Bill Fagerbakke. The imaginary parent swaps are well done, and you do genuinely laugh when each character realizes how much their partner acts like their parent. It's a classic sitcom setup executed to perfection: Sort of the MO for How I Met Your Mother as a whole. But that doesn't mean we'll be revisiting "Noretta" any time soon.

"The One Where Joey Moves Out" -- Friends

Friends set the bar for a lot of classic sitcoms, often by combining its good-natured comedy with intense awkwardness. One of the most memorable early examples of this type of humor comes when the show romantically pairs Monica with a friend of her father's named Richard, who is 20 years older than Monica's actress, Courtney Cox.

Pairing older male actors with younger actresses is hardly unheard of, but Friends goes all in with ratcheting up the awkwardness in this May-December romance. The worst offender has to be the season two episode "The One Where Joey Moves Out."

Where to even begin here? Monica's parents discover their friend is dating a much younger woman but don't know it's their daughter. Monica's dad makes jokes about letting Richard drive his car so he can take Richard's new friend for a spin. Monica has to hide in a shower while her parents get busy on the other side of the curtain. It's a masterclass in discomfort from every angle. Ah, romance.

Obama -- Fleabag

Fleabag is a wonderful show, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge deserves all the plaudits she receives for it: It's an unflinching look at just how messed up everyday life can be. Well, it's unflinching for the writers and actors — for the audience, it's nearly impossible not to flinch at pretty much everything Fleabag throws at you.

One of Fleabag's most infamous scenes comes very early in the show's run, when Waller-Bridge's character is lying in bed next to her sleeping boyfriend. She is watching Barack Obama give a speech and ... something about it really gets her motor running. Trying not to wake up the man lying right next to her, Fleabag decides to take care of her physical needs. Of course he wakes up, and finds his lady friend masturbating next to him while she watches Barack Obama on screen.

It's bizarre, hilarious, and awful, which could also basically serve as a tagline for the entire show. The scene was made even funnier when Obama named Fleabag one of his favorite shows of 2019. He made no mention of his cameo, to everyone's relief.

Liz shoots for hospital nookie -- 30 Rock

Few comics get awkward as successfully as Tina Fey, who hits way too close to home over and over again as Liz Lemon on 30 Rock. One of our favorite awkward love stories involving Fey's character (and there are certainly a lot to choose from) comes courtesy of the season three episode "St. Valentine's Day," in which Lemon attempts to romance her neighbor, Dr. Drew Baird. She's nervous, but we can't blame her — she is trying to sleep with Jon Hamm.

The first date that ensues is one of the worst ever depicted. Liz accidentally schedules the date for Valentine's Day. Drew walks in on her sitting on the toilet. Drew's ex-wife drops off their daughter. They have to make a surprise trip to the hospital to visit Drew's dying mother. After Drew leaves the room, the woman reveals to Liz that she's actually Drew's grandmother, and the woman he believes to be his sister is actually his real mother.

It's a lot. Even after Drew's mother dies, she tries to sleep with him. At the hospital. As Liz herself would say, blerg.

Diwali -- The Office

Not all of the scenes in this list directly involve sex. There is plenty of awkward nookie on television, but making a grand, romantic gesture fall flat is just as impressive a feat of acting. That sort of nightmare is the domain of Michael Scott, The Office's nightmare of a boss, who never met a girlfriend he couldn't embarrass publicly. That brings us to "Diwali."

This season three episode is a classic, and for good reason: It braids together multiple character arcs, puts The Office crew in a unique situation, and demonstrates the show's mastery of cringe comedy. Things kick off horribly when Kelly invites the entire office to a Diwali celebration. Michael, thinking that Diwali is essentially "Indian Halloween," invites then-girlfriend Carol as his date. Carol dresses up as a cheerleader.

This is humiliating on its own — but it gets worse. Michael decides to propose to Carol during the festival. He is shot down, as it is only their ninth date. Later, he tries to kiss Pam, who also shoots him down. It's a parade of embarrassment from beginning to end, in pure Office style.

The virginity stories -- New Girl

Losing one's virginity is a mythologized moment — just think of all the movies built around a quest to have sex for the first time. For many of us, however, the first time is awkward, anxiety-plagued, and far from the magical experience that it is "meant" to be. A big reason the season two episode of New Girl, "Virgins," works so well is because it acknowledges the awkward reality of most first times to cringe-inducing effect.

Each character in the episode tries to one-up each other with their personal tales of of how they lost their virginity. There's an awkward after-prom date. Mick Jagger is involved in one. There's a gigantic tub of lubricant. And, because of our characters' ages, there is a whole lot of sexy 90s music, a la "I'll Make Love to You" by Boyz II Men.

It's a really strong episode, successful because it reminds us of how awkward people can be when their brain chemistry is thrown askew by sexual desire. Now, if you'll excuse us, we've got some Lisa Loeb to listen to.

Adam Driver's fantasy -- Girls

Girls has never shied away from exploring some of the less-than-ideal aspects of sex. It's usually played for comedic effect, but it also genuinely explores some of the weirder and more embarrassing aspects of the act. This brings us to Adam, played by Adam Driver, and the things he likes to fantasize about.

Adam and Hannah say a lot of strange things during their sexual encounters, but Adam really takes it over the top in episode two of the first season. He begins to relay to Hannah the things he wants her to imagine: She's a young prostitute carrying a Cabbage Patch lunch box and he's going to send her home to her parents covered in ... well. You get the picture.

The fact that it's Adam Driver — now best known as Kylo Ren — saying these things makes it all the more bizarre, as is the fact that Hannah seems fine with it. It's weird as all get-out, but hey, that's kind of the point of Girls.

Lethal Weapon 5 -- It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has one of the most unlikable ensembles in television history, and that's exactly the point. Dennis, Dee, Charlie, Mac, and Frank all have different episodes to showcase their depravity, but the season six episode "Dee Reynolds: Shaping America's Youth" manages to show all of them in a bad light. The episode's crowning jewel, however, must be Frank Reynolds' awkward love scene.

You've got to hand it to Danny DeVito — he's an Oscar-nominated actor, but he's totally unafraid of getting absolutely weird as Frank on It's Always Sunny. In this particular episode, the gang shows their fan-made film Lethal Weapon 5 to a group of high school students. They debate the merits of blackface and try to take down a Native American casino owner, played by Frank.

That's bad enough, but at one point, there's an extended sex scene. Frank grunts and distorts his face while, according to the gang, actually having sex with the woman onscreen. It lasts for far too long, and DeVito really makes your skin crawl with his vocalizations. Vile. 

First of her name -- Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones kee[s audiences titillated with gratuitous violence and sex as it tells the story of a fictional world at war. Initially, the series sticks close to George R.R. Martin's books — which makes for some very uncomfortable scenes. In the very first episode, for example, Daenerys Targaryen gets married to Khal Drogo and consummates the union outdoors.

The show makes no mention of it, but the books certainly do: Dany is only 13 years old when she gets married. For fans of Martin's books, that makes for some really awkward viewing as the showrunners certainly didn't leave the union to the audience's imagination. Moreover, the encounter in the show is depicted as far more violent than it is in the books — though of course, Dany in the books isn't exactly making a free choice either.

Now, the show deliberately avoids getting into age specifics. Daenerys seems certainly older than 13 in this early episode. Still, it's astounding to think that one of the biggest television series of all time featured both this bit and two twins having sex (and trying to murder a child who witnessed it) in its very first episode.

The National Anthem - Black Mirror

Often when trying to convince people to watch Black Mirror, fans tell them to skip the first episode and come back to it later. Sure, "The National Anthem" can be a great litmus test, but it can also scare people away — the idea of every episode being like "the one with the pig" can be tough to sell some people on.

A big part of what makes Black Mirror so impressive is just how plausible some of its stories seem. Here's the idea behind this one: Britain's princess is kidnapped, and the kidnapper releases a video to YouTube saying she will only be released if the Prime Minister has... relations with a pig on live television.

Because Black Mirror is Black Mirror, nothing can prevent this, and PM Callow (a thankless role played by Rory Kinnear) goes through with it. There are a lot of words to describe the circumstances of the episode (and the wrenching scene of Callow vomiting in a toilet after the deed). "Awkward" is certainly one of those words.

Faking it - Sex Education

Trying to pick one scene out of Sex Education as the "most awkward" is like trying to pick a "most delicious" Michelin-starred restaurant — it would be hard to argue with any of your picks. For our money, it doesn't get much more cringe than the opening moments of the show's very first episode.

A lot of movies and television (surprise!) don't depict sex the way it actually is. Sex Education makes a point to show that sex isn't always completely mind-blowing — though it's hopefully enjoyable, there's a lot of room for strange happenings. In the show's first episode, we see two inexperienced people getting to know one another. It starts strange, as the girl in the scene, Aimee, is quite obviously imitating something she's heard in porn and the guy, Adam, is... not sure about it. Apparently his performance wasn't believable, either, as Aimee ends up demanding proof.

The scene is already awkward before the (non) climax, but that detail really blows it over the top. Sex Education is the first time we can remember seeing a faked male orgasm onscreen.

A very creepy threesome - House of Lies

This one is unique, because the awkwardness doesn't occur onscreen — it comes from an interview that star Kristin Bell did much later. House of Lies had quite a few pretty standard sex scenes, and there's nothing wrong with enjoying the sight of good-looking people like Bell and Adam Brody getting frisky. However, Bell later told Conan O'Brien that there was something a little extra going on while she filmed those scenes: she was seven months pregnant.

Pregnant women are more than welcome to enjoy all the sex they want, but Bell and Brody had to go and make it weird. She told O'Brien, "I was pretending to act in a sex tape, and now I can forever look at my daughter and say 'Oh, you were present for that.'" She also said Brody "affectionately refers to our sex scenes as our threesomes."

Kristin Bell has found quite a bit of success in straight-faced awkwardness, and it's good to see that it isn't just an act. She really does seem like a lovable weirdo.