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If you wanna knowThat's where it is, oh yeah!
If he loves you so
Its in his kiss!
—Betty Everett, "It's In His Kiss"
Alice and Bob are friends, and maybe one of them has a crush on the other. They decide to do a test to find out whether they should start a relationship. What does the test consist of? Their First Kiss, of course!
However, the fact that they aren't sure about it to begin with says something. When neither party (or only one) feels that crucial something, they say its because there are No Sparks between them. This bad kiss could be the impetus for one of them to seek another mate, or to give up on a crush he or she has outgrown.
This trope appears in many romantic comedies in which there are two or more love interests. It's especially common when someone is having doubts about an upcoming wedding.
In test kisses, the experimental nature of the kiss is emphasized. However, both parties don't always know it's an experiment. Often, what one party is testing is his or her own feelings, and sometimes their own sexual orientation. Without this experimental focus, or perhaps some stakes attached, it's just any old getting-to-know-you kiss.
Sometimes a character will suggest a test kiss because he/she sure that the other loves him/her, but she/he is denying/suppressing it for some reason. In these cases, the kiss is meant to be a wake-up call, proving to the oblivious/taken/heroically withholding character that they can no longer ignore their feelings.
Related tropes: No Sparks, Will They or Won't They?, Relationship Upgrade, Unresolved Sexual Tension. Not to be confused with Practice Kiss, where characters kiss to test something other than their own romantic sparks.
Anime and Manga
- In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Asuka decides to kiss Shinji because she's bored (or so she claims). She pinches his nose because his breath tickles, causing him to turn blue while she kissed him. Afterwards, he's left gasping for breath, while Asuka is in the bathroom gargling soap. Asuka is later revealed to have taken the fact that Shinji didn't hold her as a rejection.
- In Twenty Seven Dresses, Katherine Heigl's character kisses her boss, who she has crushed on for years, and finds she doesn't feel anything for him.
- Every kiss in The Princess Diaries is a kind of test kiss. Mia has a theory that a good kiss causes ones foot to pop, and when she kisses the Wrong Guy First, it is kept from popping by used gum or a fishing net.
- In The Princess Diaries 2, Mia kisses her fiance to see if they have chemistry, and they don't.
- In Spider-Man 2, Mary Jane asks her fiance to kiss her upside down, reenacting her awesome kiss with Spiderman. He feels it; she doesnt.
- The trope is invoked again a little later in the movie, when Mary Jane asks Peter Parker to kiss her, knowing that it would prove he does, in fact, love her, though he just denied it. This is a special case of Test Kiss, because she is testing his identity as well as his love for her. They're interrupted by a car crashing through the window of the diner they're meeting in.
- In Bring It On: In It To Win It, one of the male cheerleaders comes out as straight (apparently, he liked the fact that girls would change in front of him). Nobody believes him, so one of the girls grabs him and kisses him, which cues this line:
Chelsea: Okay, he is not gay!
- Janis and Damian's kiss in Mean Girls. Intentionally comical since it is Damian is gay and Janis is rumoured to be a lesbian.
- In the P.S. I Love You film, Holly and her friend Daniel kiss beofre quickly pulling away, laughing and claiming it was like kissing a sibling.
- Also, Holly's friend Denise often randomly asks guys a few questions and kisses them to see if they were meant to be. Hilariously inverted when her future husband did this to her and that's how they met.
- In Hatari Dallas (Elsa Martinelli) is a bit more direct about it. She walks up to Shawn (John Wayne) and asks him how he likes to kiss. She lays one on him, and he seems to like it (until they're interrupted by Pockets (Red Button).
- A rather extreme one in Batman and Robin as Robin lets Ivy kiss him to find out if they're really in love or if Batman's telling the truth about her pheromones and Kiss of Death. Good thing he was wearing fake rubber lips.
- In Back to The Future, Marty McFly's mother test kisses him in the car before the Enchantment Under The Sea dance, only to realize that Marty isn't the boy for her, because kissing him was like "kissing her brother."
- Jacob forces Bella into this in Eclipse, book 3 in the Twilight series. It's a rare example because it's a good kiss, but not a happy ending for Jacob. She figures out that she does love him, but she loves Edward more, and she's not going to leave him for Jacob.
- In Dinoverse, Bertram and Canadayce's First Kiss doesn't entice Bertram at all, although he'd been nursing a crush on her before - he speculates that it's like kissing a sister, which dismays her. She later tries again, and again it does nothing for him. It's worth noting that at the time, he was an Ankylosaur and she was a Leptoceratops, and both kisses were awkward beak-claspings. Upon returning to their proper time and bodies, she tries a third time and produces the desired effect.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, Daenarys is considering an Arranged Marriage with political advantages. She asks the suitor to kiss her. She doesn't feel anything, and tells him as much. He is not particularly upset by this, and persuades her to go ahead with the marriage anyway because it's the best way to stop her city getting torn apart.
Live Action Television
- In The Big Bang Theory, Leonard and Leslie decide to skip all that pointless date business and proceed directly to the goodnight kiss--no sparks fly.
- Leonard and Penny do a version of this after Sheldon gives both of them far too too much advice about Schroedinger's Cat (i.e., their relationship currently has equal potential to be "alive" or "dead"), and Penny declares that "the cat's alive."
- This happened at least twice on Boy Meets World.
- Topanga and Corey had broken up. She was dating another guy, and when he kissed her she felt nothing and realized Corey was her soulmate.
- Shawn and Topanga kissed for a film project and Corey was extremely jealous. Angela (Shawn's girlfriend) tried to convince him it didn't mean anything, but ended up having to throw him down on the bed and lay one on him to show him that it's different with someone other than your one true love.
- In the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Cordelia and Wesley finally kiss after half a season's worth of Unresolved Sexual Tension. The kiss is incredibly awkward, they pull apart, say some polite goodbyes, and never consider the idea again.
- In a rare example of a Test Kiss being an actual test, Crichton and Aeryn from Farscape once kissed in a test for genetic compatibility. Positive!
- This is done via the use of a chemical placed on each person's tongue. If the kiss is sweet, the pair are genetically compatible. This also occurs after Crichton is almost forced into marriage with a Sebacean princess because their test kiss came back positive.
- Played with on The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Amy worries that she might not be a good kisser after a guy doesn't call her after their date. Her baby daddy Ricky offers to kiss her to calm her fears, and practice her technique if need be. When the two of them kiss, it quickly becomes clear that it's not practicing, but the resolving of UST.(Though they initially tell their friends that they're just friends and it really was just practice)
- It also happened during season four with Ricky and Adrian. She had a great kiss with her new guy, but she felt she needed to kiss Ricky to be sure she's really over him. He reluctantly obliges and neither of them feel anything. She was ecstatic, but her new boyfriend was not pleased, and thought she disrespected herself and him by having to kiss someone to make sure it's over.
- Monica from Friends did this with Pete (the millionaire) to see whether there was a spark, just before they finally got together after a long time of Will They or Won't They?.
- Glee plays with this. After kissing each other while drunk during a game of Spin the Bottle, they both feel sparks, causing Blaine to doubt he's really gay, and Rachel to fall head over heels. When Kurt says that there's Incompatible Orientation, Rachel kisses him again to prove Kurt wrong. Due to the absence of alcohol, Blaine feels nothing, and reaffirms that he's gay, and Rachel has something to write a song about, so all is well.
- Zack and Jessie did this on Saved by the Bell. They found out they didn't like each other, but Kelly and Slater walked in and got the wrong idea.
- A variant on Sex and the City- Miranda was Mistaken for Gay by someone in her law firm who tried to fix her up with another woman that she ended up taking to a formal function put on by her firm (being more accepted as a lesbian in a relationship than she would straight but single). She eventually admits the truth, and in an awkward elevator ride down with the lesbian she kisses her, then concludes "Nope... definitely straight."
- In the third season of That 70s Show, Jackie and Hyde do this, and state that they felt nothing - though it looks like Hyde is not entirely sincere. They still get together in the fifth season.
- The West Wing: C.J. and Danny, who have had UST buzzing between them for quite some time, do this so CJ can convince herself that one kiss will "get it out of [her] system" and things can then go back to normal. Since she winds up married to the guy, obviously, her plan doesn't work so well; in fact, they're so hot for each other they keep randomly grabbing and kissing each other pretty much throughout the show.
- In ER, Carter and Lewis make one. They remain good friends after it.
- Dok Go Jin in the Korean Drama Best Love, to see if he is really attracted to Gu Ae Jeong.
- On the last episode of That's So Raven, Eddie and Raven share a test kiss. The results were ambiguous...
- In Misfile, Emily (girl) kisses a sleeping Ash (boy turned into a girl due the titular misfile)...and subverts the trope by lamenting that the kiss didn't help clear things up at all.
- In Shortpacked!: Ethan is just starting to realize that he's gay. Robin insists on a test kiss, which has inconclusive results. Then Mike kisses him, and Ethan looks down at himself...
"Looks like we have a winner".
"You can't do that! You're straight!"
"I'm whatever you don't want me to be, baby."
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: Katara and Aang are trapped in a cave and separated from the rest of their party. The following dialogue occurs.
- Peggy Hill from King of the Hill lost her virginity to a friend while testing if he was gay or not. She concluded that he was gay. Very, very gay.
- Stan of American Dad tries to become gay in order to speak at a republican convention. After kissing his gay neighbor Terry, he is shocked to find that he doesn't feel anything and learns that being gay is not a choice.