It just may be the cruelest, most frustrating thing a writer could ever pull. Two characters are finally about to bring all their shippers' dreams to fruition. They're about to resolve all the UST and cross the Just Friends line, at last. They're staring mesmerized into each others' eyes, inching forward ever so slowly, less than a millimeter away from lip-to-lip contact. This is it, the fans scream in their minds. They're finally going to kiss! And then...
Were they interrupted by a knock on the door or falling meteor? Did one of them remember the dead Temporary Love Interest they promised never to forget? Was the thought of a Relationship Upgrade suddenly just too scary? Well, for some reason, no doubt connected to Status Quo Is God, they can't or won't go through with it. They may be giggling afterwards, or they may be crying a river.
The sad thing is, the Almost Kiss says as much as a kiss, anyway, since we can see they both want it. But this way, the tension and dreams of shippers remain for the writers to continue to take advantage of.
Sometimes referred to as a "near-miss kiss."
Study the Moment Killer for a larger concept.
In shows aimed at a younger audience where a kiss is a big deal, there is usually a big relationship-sealing kiss saved for the finale, preceded by several "almost" moments during the earlier episodes.
Asuka: I know you tried to kiss me while I was sleeping! Shinji: You cheat! You were awake?! Asuka: Oh, my gosh! I was just kidding, did you really kiss me?! Shinji: I didn't! I stopped! Asuka: Pervert! Fiend! Idiot! I can't believe this!
Mazinger Z: Kouji and Sayaka do this in the Mazinger-Z vs Great General of Darkness, right when Kouji is going to sortie with Mazinger-Z to fight a battle he knows he can not win, and thinking he'll die. Sayaka stops him to give him his little brother's birthday gift, and both stare into each other's eyes for a long while... and then Kouji turns around and leaves. Cue millions of fans groaning in exasperation. (In the manga version of that moment, though, they DO kiss.)
Love Hina: Naru and Keitaro have several of these, always interrupted by their friends.
There's at least three of these between Sachie and Rakuto in every volume of Wild Ones. It gets frustrating after a bit.
She has another near-miss kiss with Yuuichi in a later episode, except she stops because she has realized it's all part of Yukariko's Lotus-Eater Machine, and thus just wishful thinking.
In the last episode, Mai and Yuuichi are about to kiss when Mai stops, having noticed that Shiho and several of Mai's friends are watching them.
In Mai-Otome Zwei, Akane and Kazuya are about to kiss when Mahya pops up and tells them they are not to be within three meters of each other
In Rosario + Vampire, this is a Running Gag. Usually "interrupted" due to Moka suddenly biting Tsukune in the neck, or by Kurumu pushing Moka before she gets a chance to bite him.
Chobits: After Hideki finally finds Chii, she walks over to him, glad that he's back with her again and attempts to kiss him. She is instantly interrupted by becoming unconcious.
Detective Conan: Takagi and Sato, so many times. Finally resolved when Takagi is in the hospital. And not before he openly lampshades the trope via mentioning how many times they couldn't kiss and hoping this won't be another one.
Konoka and Setsuna in Mahou Sensei Negima! has one of these when Setsuna found her resolve to kiss the girl through a (admittedly questionable) Confessional. Maybe a subversion since it was a pactio, of which the (somewhat) unromantic nature of was partially the cause of Setsuna's resolve and the fact that there was no actual build-up since we're shown this from Asuna's (the interrupter) perspective. Akamatsu then goes for several volumes to facilitate a proper pactio for the two in order to satisfy the legions of KonoSetsu shippers. Until chapter 252.
Running Gag in Eureka Seven. The only times Renton gets to actually kiss Eureka are in the final episode. Not that he isn't often tempted or doesn't try...
Both episodes 41 and 42 of Cardcaptor Sakura, Sakura and Syaoran being interrupted both times by the highly inopportune appearance of a Clow Card.
Planetes: Just as Hachimaki is about to kiss Tanabe on the beach at sunset his brother and Yuri launch a moderately large rocket. It swerves as it starts to break, flying erratically to the point where it nearly hits Hachimaki and Tanabe, forcing dive out of the way just before they kiss. The moment is certainly ranks among the more interesting and dangerous almost kisses in recent memory.
A late chapter of Hana-Kimiactually subverts this. Sano and Mizuki have finally admitted their feelings for each other and they're this close to kissing... when Noe knocks on the door. Mizuki turns away to answer it, but Sano basically refuses to let the moment be ruined and spins her around and kisses her anyway, initiating the most intense make out in the entire manga. It was amazingly satisfying after twenty two volumes of UST between the two.
The first is with Rin and Sia: When they get separated from their friends during the Beach Episode, they act like they've crossed into another world where they're alone and go for the kiss. Hilarious in that Primula walks behind them looking for seashells; both parties ignore each other's presence.
The second instance is when Rin walks Asa home after the latter twisted her ankle. Both are sitting on her bed, and Rin is getting teased. When the poor girl stands up, she trips and falls on Rin, pinning him to the bed. She leans in for the kiss, but her mother comes home and goes up to the room; when she opens the door, we see the two separated, with Rin sitting at the desk (as is, of course, proper for a gentleman).
Happens a few times in Ai Kora. In chapter 77, for example, Yukari (in disguise, and under her gaming alias Fantazma) orders Maeda to give her a kiss as penalty for losing her gaming challenge, but the two are stopped by a horde of jealous fanboys.
Gunslinger Girl (manga). Before the assault on the bell tower in Chapter 61 it looks like Triela is standing up on her toes to give Hilshire a peck on the cheek before a couple of GIS troopers barge in on them.
Happens in one of the earlier Naruto episodes between Naruto and Sakura (while Naruto is disguised as Sasuke). Sakura is leaning in for the kiss, when suddenly Naruto's stomach acts up due to drinking expired milk that very morning.
Occurs between Daisuke and Riku at the end of the "Second Hand of Time" arc, as Daisuke confesses that he's practicing painting so that he can do her portrait one day. We realize that this has happened as Riku opens her eyes, confused at what's taking Daisuke so long... to find that he has fled the room after his nervousness led to his turning into Dark.
InuYasha: Very early on in the story, Inu-Yasha almost kisses Kagome because he's thinking of Kikyô. Kagome pushes him away, though, and due to the circumstances, it doesn't represent a mutual acknowledgement of their feelings. Much later in their relationship, they have a more traditional Almost Kiss, but Soutawalks in on them before anything can happen.
Played for Laughs in One Piece regarding SanjiandZoro in the filler episodes. The first time was when both of them were sleeping side by side and a dreaming Sanji, thinking he saw Nami, puckered his lips for a kiss. Zoro's reaction was unforgettable. The second time was Zoro and Sanji were hit by Foxy's Noro Noro beam while Sanji was jumping towards Zoro (for knocking Nami out of the way) and hilarity ensues.
Lawrence and Holo in season one episode four of Spice and Wolf. It was interrupted by Holo herself because that wasn't her reason for getting into his bed.
In the finale of Special A, Megumi and former Big Bad Yahiro's kiss is interrupted by Tadashi zipping by on his bike. Yahiro lampshades this, shouting at Tadashi for ruining the atmosphere.
After the time skip in Fairy Tail, Jellal and Erza. The tension lasts three whole pages, coupled with a sunrise and symbolic plants. They even get a Big Damn Kiss action shot... but Jellal mentions his fiancée. He was trying to ruin the moment... but c'mon!
The writer actually states that maybe they did kiss for a short moment. It's open for the reader's interpretation.
Natsu and Lucy nearly kiss in an omake(at Asuka's "request"), but Lucy freaks out and puts Happy in the way at the last second.
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann only showed us the two kisses Yoko gave out before their respective recipients died shortly afterwards but Lagann-hen gave us one instance of this trope: when Nia accepts Simon's proposal of marriage, the two of them almost kiss but are interrupted by Nia switching to Anti-Spiralmode.
In the five-part miniseries Wasted Minds by Rumiko Takahashi, Tamuro asks Yura which country's trash she wants to teleport to (He has the power of teleportation, but can only teleport from trash pile to trash pile). She tells him "France" and they lean in to kiss each other, only to be interrupted by Mr. Sekoi calling out:
I brought some bread and milk!
In Mirai Nikki Nishijima and Minene share an almost kiss but are interrupted by a Walkie-Talkie. Kinda sad once you realize that Minene and the 2nd world's Nishijima never get another chance.
A running gag of sorts in Ah! My Goddess, given that the relationship between Keichii and Belldandy always teeters on the brink of romantic action but never crosses the threshold, making these inevitable.
Occurs in Bokura no Kiseki between leads Harusumi and Takao in chapter 12. Harusumi chickens out because he's not sure if Takao's feelings for him are actually romantic or not. (It's complicated.)
In the Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle movie Syaoran and Sakura accidentally lean on each other extremely close while hiding in a barrels. In the manga, Sakura performs a charm in Syaoran which requires her to connect their foreheads but are interrupted by Mokona. The two downright deny any romantical implication but Mokona is sure "It's love!"
In Love So Life, Shiharu and Seiji come close to this very early on, but are interrupted by the twins' antics.
Subverted in the Blue Monday Valentine's special, Lovecats. The UST between Clover and Victor finally climaxes in their first kiss, but their attraction goes straight back into the closet when their friends show up.
Peter and MJ share an Almost Kiss early in Ultimate Spider-Man after Peter tells her he's Spider-Man, before they get interrupted by Aunt May. It's effectively a kiss anyway since they officially start going out from there and proceed to kiss a lot.
In the first issue of Avengers: The Children's Crusade, Wiccan and Hulkling are about to make out when Speed interrupts them. The two have been dating since day one, so it's probably safe to assume that they've kissed before, but never on-panel.
At one point in Day of Vengeance, Ragman and Enchantress are talking away from the others. They discover they have some things in common and then they fall silent. Then Ragman moves in, and Enchantess pulls away and asks him what he thinks he's doing. She than completes his embarassment by announcing this to the others.
Enchantress: Rory tried to kiss me! He thought we were having a "moment"!
Ariel has to achieve a True Love's Kiss with the prince in order to win her bet with Ursula and not get turned into Ursula's prisoner. Ariel and the prince have a very romantic ride on a boat, and are about to kiss... when the two eels who are working for Ursula overturn the boat, so as to keep Ariel from winning the bet.
And when Ariel is reunited with him on the third day, she and Eric are just about to kiss when the sun sets — which was the time limit Ursula had decreed, so the smooch is interrupted by her changing back into a mermaid...
Chicken Run has this as a running gag, largely because the animators couldn't figure out how to make two chickens kiss. For the big kiss at the end, their heads were strategically placed so the beak-action was hidden and therefore didn't have to be animated.
In the last two minutes in Surf's Up, Cody and Lani were about to kiss when Arnold (one of the little kids that the crew interviews) interrupts them. Turns out, in "Arnold's Zurfinary" (a four-minutes video on the DVD that teaches you surfer slang), that he has a crush on Lani.
Another Disney example can be found in The Princess and the Frog, where Naveen and Tiana almost kiss... then Tiana pulls away when she remembers Naveen is supposed to marry her best friend.
Aladdin: Aladdin and Jasmine almost kiss in his hideaway before they're interrupted by the palace guards. This happens a lot for these two; in the first movie alone their lips almost connect more times than they actually do!
The first time Flynn and Rapunzel nearly kiss in Tangled, Flynn gets distracted by seeing his former partners-in-crime out of the corner of his eye and pulls away. The second time was when Flynn was dying and in order to save Rapunzel from Mother Gothel, he pulled her close enough for him to cut her magical hair.
Cinderella has the title character and the Prince leaning forward for a kiss after their Dance of Romance, only for the bell to ring for midnight, signalling to Cinderella that she had to leave before the spell breaks.
In Rio, following a Dance of Romance, Blu and Jewel almost kiss, until they are interrupted by invading marmosets.
In All Dogs Go To Heaven 2, after Charlie and Sasha sing "I Will Always Be With You", they're about to kiss, unfortunately the sun sets and the collar Red gave Charlie wears off (the collar allowed the wearer to be visible until sunset on the next day), and Charlie becomes a ghost again.
Played for laughs with the cats Danny and Sawyer at the end of Cats Don't Dance. At the end of their glorious impromptu stage debut, Danny extends his right hand at Sawyer, who takes it with her left. They close their eyes, move their heads closer, pucker up and kiss. But not each other: director Flanigan put his head between them to start gushing about the performance. Danny can't push his tongue far enough out of his mouth, and poor Sawyer almost whooped her cookies.
Films — Live-Action
This is a genre standard in Bollywood films. Up until very recently, kissing in movies was censored in India (it is still seen as racy), so filmmakers perfected the art of showing the leads caressing with lips oh-so-close to each other. (This is especially common in dance numbers.) Note that, unlike in other instances of this trope, an actual kiss (or more) is usually implied to have taken place.
Aha! This explains the occurrence of this trope — lampshaded in that the line before it happens is "...almost kiss" — in the Season 4 Preview Music Video of Felicia Day's webseries The Guild, entitled "Game On"; the entire piece is a giant Bollywood number
Subverted in 2012: Dr. Heimsley and Laura are about to kiss when they are interrupted by a broadcast. They ignore it and continue their business.
Happens in Dragnet (the 1987 movie) twice with Joe Friday and Connie Swail.
Don't you mean The Virgin Connie Swail?
Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Happens twice between Dolores and Eddie, while in the movie theater and toward the end of the movie after reading the will, when Roger intervenes.
Mulder and Scully almost, almost kiss in a hallway, but Scully gets stung by a bee just before it happens.
In the DVD commentary, Chris Carter tries to peddle the idea that the emotions from the almost kiss in the hallway plus the CPR scene later in the movie equals a kiss. Not surprisingly, nobody buys that.
The Pretender movie "Island of the Haunted" has an especially frustrating example of this where Ocee (a blind old woman) interrupts a special moment between Jarod and Miss Parker. Fans were not pleased.
A Running Gag between Troy and Gabriella in High School Musical 2, to the frustration of preteens everywhere. They made sure to make up for it later, though.
In Back to the Future, there are three instances where Marty and Jennifer are about to kiss — but it gets interrupted. Marty is about to kiss Jennifer, when someone interrupts them for donations for the clock tower — and again when her father honks the horn of his car. At the end of that movie, Marty is about to kiss Jennifer again — but is interrupted by the sonic booms that precede entry of the time machine. Towards the end of Part III, Marty and Jennifer finally kiss on the veranda of her family's house.
In Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century, Zenon and Greg are sitting side-by-side, facing the same direction, with awkward silence. Zenon tells Greg if he wants to kiss her he should get over it and just kiss her. After a pause, they both turn towards each other at the same time — and accidentally smash their faces into each other.
In Iron Man 1, Tony and Pepper share a nervously awkward dance, leading to getting some air on the roof, leading to... this. And then it led to Pepper's stammering request for a drink right after that freeze of realization.
Occurs three times between the title character and Angela Dodson. (1) When he's putting the protective amulet around her neck, (2) When he pulls the knife out of the floor after rescuing her, and (3) during the rooftop meeting, while handing her the Spear of Destiny. Notably enraging, because even after the tension has become thick enough to cut with a chainsaw, they never actually kiss.
This one may not completely count but it comes very close: When Angela is about to take her first plunge into hell, she asks Constantine if she must take off any more close and he just stares, which leads to this exchange.
Angela:(in her shirt and pants) So should I take off the rest of my clothes or can I keep this on. (Constantine stares) Angela: John? Constantine:I'm thinking. (beat) Angela:(blushing) John? Constantine: On is fine.
The Mummy has a number of these, most notably when Evie, inebriated, leans forwards to kiss Rick, and just as they're about to kiss, she faints.
Dantes Peak contains a rather silly example: Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton are about to kiss, when suddenly some random extra drives by and shouts "Hey, you two!" One scene later, another kiss is prevented by Linda Hamilton's daughter complaining that she's thirsty, although that turns out to be a plot point, because that's when they find out that all the tapwater is discolored.
Spoofed in Spaceballs, when Vespa and Lone Starr are interrupted by Dot's Virgin-alarm.
Dot Matrix: It's programmed to go off before you do!
The Avengers (1998). While Steed is helping Emma Peel on with her boots, they are close to kissing when Father breaks in and arrests Mrs. Peel.
The Brothers Grimm has an interesting variation. Jacob uses True Love's Kiss to wake Angelika and break the spell. When he sees that his brother Will hasn't woken up, he assumes that he needs to do the same to him. He gets very close and apparently would have actually kissed him if Will hadn't said, "Not. You."
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. After Ron walks out on them, Harry tries to cheer Hermione up with a dance that ends with a moment of sexual tension... then Hermione guiltily turns away. Harry's Like Brother and Sister comment from the book is noticeably missing from the scene after Ron destroys the Horcrux (which had been taunting him with illusions of Hermione loving Harry).
Tina and Stanley twice in The Mask. The police were the spoilsports each time.
Tina almost kisses Stanley while visiting him on jail, then the guards say "Your time is up, lady!"
Right after Stanley frees Tina they're about to kiss when the police arrive.
The film adaptation of Autopsy Room Four by Stephen King. Two doctors about to do an autopsy lean in to kiss, only for their plastic face shields to bang into each other.
Seen in the gag reel of Hot Fuzz. Spoofing their buddy cop Ho Yay, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost almost kiss repeatedly before eventually pretending to snog passionately in the graveyard scene.
In Zombieland, Wichita and Columbus are slow-dancing and about to kiss... and then the otherwise-awesome Tallahassee barges into the room to ask for their help in building a furniture fort.
Parodied in Bam-Bam & Celeste. Jane Lynch'sButch Lesbian character has been flirting with Celeste (Margaret Cho) non-stop. Finally, Celeste looks as if she's wet her panties and is trembling as she leans in to say goodbye to her. Lynch just says goodbye, and turns around to leave.
In Dragon Ball Evolution, Bulma and Yamcha almost kiss in a bar, as they talk about how the world is about to end. The moment is ruined by a loud guy nearby and both nervously laugh it off.
In Speed Racer, Speed and Trixie nearly kiss while relaxing in Speed's car. They're interrupted when they hear Sprittle making gagging noises in the trunk.
In the film adaption of Hitman, After Agent 47 has killed the man he's going to impersonate later and taken Nika back to their hotel, Nika, who is pretty drunk begins to seduce 47, going as far as undoing his pants and straddling him on the bed. Just when they get close enough to kiss, Agent 47 jabs her in the neck with a sedative.
Played straight in My Name is Bruce between Bruce and love interest Kelly. Bruce gets frustrated at the constant interruptions.
Bruce: For the love of god man, I can smell her chapstick.
In Freaky Friday (2003), Anna in her mother's body stops the mother's fianceé from kissing her by pretending to have a cold sore.
In the 2011 Jane Eyre, Rochester is "thanking" Jane for saving his life but Jane pulls away before their lips could meet.
In Now You See Me, Dylan and Alma were sitting very close to each other after discussing the history of magic, leaning forward before both of them backed off, nervously laughing.
DEBS. While Lucy Diamond and Amy are in a Bad-Guy Bar, they get to know each other and become intimate. Then they lean in and are about to kiss before Janet barges over with Scud, effectively murdering the moment.
In La Belle et la Bête the Beast, after chasing Belle across an icy lake, is crouched over her; their faces come very close and she actually seems to lean up to kiss him - and then she falls through the ice.
In Cool as Ice the eponymous Ice and random chick are about to kiss/straight up have sex when the little brother walks through the unlocked door and interrupts.
Occurs in Imagine Me & You after Luce and Rachel get back from their "date". They're at Rachel's apartment, and Rachel is barely an inch from Luce's face when a car loudly speeds by.
In Belle, Dido and Mr. Lavinier get very close to kissing in Vauxhall Gardens, but break away at the last second.
In Malinda Lo's Adaptation Reese and David almost kiss several times
In the first episode of the second season, Willow and Xander share a sweet and believable exchange, before a sexually tense Almost Kiss. It's interrupted when they are attacked by a vampire.
Averted later in the same season when Mr. Giles and Ms. Calendar have a sweet romantic talk right before class. They're about to kiss, only to be interrupted by the school bell — but they don't let that stop them.
At the beginning of "Hush" Buffy and Riley are about to kiss when a nervous Buffy does a Moment Killer by babbling about something inconsequential. Fortunately the Monster of the Week steals the voices of everyone in Sunnydale, so the two communicate the only way they can.
Subverted in Sports Night: The fans almost start pulling their collective hair out after an Almost Kiss between Casey and Dana, and then Casey does a one-eighty, grabs Dana, kisses her seductively, and walks away with fists raised in triumph.
In Farscape Aeryn and John spend a lot of scenes face-to-face, body pressed to panting body...and they don't kiss. Also notable in that, when they do kiss it could sort of still count as an Almost Kiss because they are always either interrupted or Aeryn freaks out.
Sam Tyler and Annie Cartwright have at least one of these in just about every other episode of Life On Mars — if someone doesn't barge in or start yelling, one of them (usually Annie) will think better of it at the very last minute. No lip contact is made until the last five minutes of the series finale.
Also seen in Ashes to Ashes many many times between Gene Hunt and Alex Drake, with the same resolution. Arguably, one party was unconscious for three of these.
In the Series 5 finale episode of Skins, Franky and Mini share a moment alone and as they lean into kiss, a car horn blares and they break apart. Mini shows increasing signs of a crush on Franky through this episode yet this moment is never mentioned again as they are Ship Sinked
J.D. and Elliot closing in for a kiss as he was about to have a child and she was about to get married was a season finale cliffhanger. First minute of the next season? It's an Almost Kiss.
Another unique variation had Dr. Cox and his Ex-wife's brother Ben Sullivan almost kiss, with Cox breaking away with less than an inch to spare, Ben delaring "I am the king of gay chicken!"
Variation in Psych, where Shawn and Jules instead end up... talking, very close. Almost lip to lip. And then discuss the fact that their lips are not quite touching.
The first episode of Pushing Daisies has an unusual one, where Ned decides to kiss Chuck one last time, as the touch that will re-kill her... but can't bring himself to actually do it, and ends up keeping her alive.
In the Frasier episode "Daphne Hates Sherry", there's a brilliant almost have sex scenario with Niles and Daphne, three years before their actual hookup. Filled with Tennessee Williams references in the title cards and elsewhere. The Moment Killer is particularly cruel, as Frasier points out to Niles at the end of the episode that if his brain had been in gear (for obvious reasons, it wasn't), it could have been completely avoided. In similar episodes such as "Moon Dance", "Mixed Doubles" and "First Date", Daphne is as oblivious as ever, but in this one, she seems completely ready to jump in. The whole thing is forgotten completely by the next episode.
In one of the last episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Mary and Lou attempt to kiss, but both dissolve into hopeless giggling.
In Babylon 5, Captain Sheridan and Delenn have an almost kiss moment — before being interrupted by a message from Ivanova, showing her usual bad timing.
Obnoxiously overused in the CBSBeauty and the Beast television show from the late '80s. In practically every episode Vincent and Catherine start to engage in a kiss, but at the last moment they always wince and just hug each other instead. After a while, it didn't feel like "the characters always come to the realization that their love is not possible," so much as "the producers were afraid of outcries of bestiality." When he finally did kiss her, it was after she was dead. Arrgghhh!
In the British comedy Spaced, Tim and Daisy have one of these during a conversation about how things "happen when you least expect it" after getting locked out of their flat. They are interrupted by their dog who has just happened to have found Tim's keys lying on the curb and drops them at his feet.
Sadie and Ben in the Canadian show, Naturally Sadie, had a total of eleven almost kisses, and when they finally did kiss, it is one of two possible scenarios and it is never made clear which one happened.
This happens in the episode "Captain Jack Harkness". Jack and the real Jack Harkness almost kiss, but stop when the rift suddenly opens. However, subverted when Jack runs back and kisses the real Jack anyway.
Jack gets another almost-kiss in "Fragments". He falls on Ianto, they laugh, roll around, and share an intense moment where their faces get really close... and then Ianto stands up and starts walking away.
Jack and Gwen have an Almost Kiss in "Something Borrowed", but the moment is killed when Jack sprouts fangs and claws; it's not really Jack, it's the shape-shifting nostrovite.
At the school dance, much to the frustration of fans as this have been building up for literally the whole show up till then (okay, it was only the end of the first season) before interrupted by a tornado warning.
Clark and Kyla when he lies on top of her to shield her from falling rocks.
There is a romantic moment where Clark and Lois almost kiss while dancing at Chloe's wedding, but they are interrupted by the reappearance of Clark's ex-girlfriend, Lana.
Tony and Carol from Wire in the Blood come thisclose to kissing not once but twice in the episode "Justice Painted Blind". The first comes when Carol abandons dinner with her boyfriend in favour of discussing possible motives for the murders with Tony, the second when the pair are lying on their stomachs in Tony's living room discussing dominance and submission. Both moments are broken when neither of the two can seem to gather the courage to take their relationship that extra step.
Parodied in the "Diwali" episode of The Office, when Michael tries to bond with Pam over them both being "victims of broken engagements" and then moves in to kiss her, only for her to move back and reject his kiss. Rather than showing them as mutual love interests, it shows humorous shows Michael's belief that life is like a television show and that his coworkers are much closer to him than they actually are.
A Running Gag in SM:TV Live's Friends parody "Chums": Dec and Cat are always interrupted when they are about to kiss by the doorbell.
Watch the gag reel; if anyone forgets their line and ends up just staring they will start moving in.
There's also an interesting variation in universe. Robin and Barney are talking about an Almost Kiss they had in the rain when her cell phone rang and ruined the moment. While they're laughing about what a bad idea that would have been, they end up actually kissing - among other things.
The almost kiss is a running gag with Barney and Robin—they nearly kissed during Punchy's wedding, and again during 'Splitsville', interrupted by a badly timed phone call each time.
Obverted by Victoria in the episode "Drumroll Please," where she, during her first encounter with Ted at a wedding, insists they intentionally stop short of the kiss, as the lead up to the kiss (the "drumroll") is the most romantic part, and the kiss itself could be disappointing.
Joss Whedon: Oh, thank you very much, Book. Way to ruin the kiss!
Played darkly and subtlely in Robin Hood. Guy of Gisborne has just proposed to Marian and been accepted. He moves in for a kiss, but she looks tearful and uncertain, and both turn their heads away fractionally. (Reasons being that he's just threatened her with execution after accusing her of being in cahoots with Robin over a missing necklace. She proves him wrong by producing it - Robin has just passed it to her through the window, and is privy to everything that goes on inside the room).
Coupling's walking relationship-dictionary Jeff Murdoch gives us the self-explanatory phrase "Nose Avoidance Tilting".
General Hospital's Sonny and Carly's first non-hate kiss after the incredibly awkward sex talk with Emily and Juan. They get thisclose and Sonny's phone rings.
Get Smart: The first few episodes use this with 86 and 99.
Apart from The Movie example (see above), one episode of The X-Files has Scully being seduced by a shapeshifting guy who has turned into Mulder. They're in her apartment, just about to kiss, when the real Mulder bursts in, spoiling the mood. Probably the only example where the kiss is technically interrupted by one of the participants. Also probably one of the only examples where the Moment Killer was appreciated by shippers!
In Kyle XY, Kyle is FINALLY about to kiss Amanda at the dance when Jessie blows a fuse... literally!! The ensuing light show throws them off their first kiss at the very last nanosecond. Audience's head's assplode.
In Downton Abbey, Sybil and Branson many times through season 2, possibly in the last episode of season 1, too. Mr. Bates and Anna quite a few times towards the end of the first season, as well.
Many, MANY times on House of Anubis. Pretty much every pairing had this happen to them before.
Made into a Running Gag in the two-part season 4 finale of Cougar Town. Travis and Laurie's First Kiss keeps getting interrupted: by his roommates, by a phone call about his grandfather having Alzheimer's, by his sleeve catching fire, etc.
Star Trek: Voyager. While possessed by a male Body Surf alien, Kes is about to kiss a female follower ("his" wife) when they're interrupted by a messenger.
In the final episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Worf and Troi are about to kiss before they're interrupted by an agitated Captain Picard, who's convinced he's moving back and forth in time. Later Picard kisses Beverly Crusher and you'd expect one of these time jumps to interrupt events, but this doesn't happen because it's meant as foreshadowing; when Picard jumps into the future, it's revealed he married (and later divorced) Beverly, whereas Worf never got together with Troi because her previous relationship with Riker got in the way.
The "Bollywood" ident from BBC 1's "Rhythm and Movement" series (used 2002-2006) referenced this trope as used in Bollywood movies.
Fringe: Peter and Olivia. Later, Peter displays some surprising maturity for a fictional character by approaching Olivia to discuss it, hoping to assuage her discomfort (although her recent awkwardness around him had nothing to do with the near kiss. But hey, he tried).
In the WWF in 2001, Spike Dudley and Molly Holly had a number of Almost Kisses. The funniest had a brain-damaged Perry Saturn popping his head up between them.
Rotor and Cabin: shot down and stuck in an abandoned house with a few other people, got one such moment where they started to get intimate and almost kissed only to be interrupted by Mac on current events.
Amanda and Rex had a number of Almost Kisses during their Wartime Wedding, with each kiss being interrupted by an attacking dinosaur. Fortunately, after these Almost Kisses, they finally got their Big Damn Kiss.
In Devil May Cry 3, immediately after battling Lady, Dante leans in, Lady stares into his eyes... and turns her head away at the last second. See the comments section here for viewers frustration! Given Dante and Lady only knew each other for a grand total of 10-15 minutes in that game (and this is being generous), them not kissing was probably for the best.
Even more frustrating in Devil May Cry 4 with Nero and Kyrie. The Big Bad has been defeated, the world is at at peace, Nero saves the girl he loves... what better mood to lean in and go for it? Unfortunately just a few millimeters away, Nero pulls a gun at a swarm of demon baddies determined to interrupt, and ends up telling Kyrie that kiss is going to have to wait. You never see it. If one protects her competently during the credits, it's strongly implied that they go through with it.
In Mass Effect 1, this happens toward the end of the game between Shepard and his/her love interest when Udina locks out the Normandy. The interrupter in this case, is Joker, who lampshades the whole thing.
The second game has the attempted romance with Samara. You actually get pretty far along in the romance, but when the time comes, she turns away. She makes it clear that though she feels attraction to Shepard as well, she's too dedicated to being a Justicar to get involved. Another character mentions how upset she gets after the incident.
Jak gets back at Daxter by interrupting his kiss with Tess at the end of Jak 3: Wastelander.
Subverted at the end of Jak X when Daxter interrupts Jak and Keira yet again, only to continue, "Will ya kiss her already! Sheesh!"
The remake of Metal Gear Solid, The Twin Snakes, has Meryl and Snake almost kiss after the fight with Liquid; unfortunately they were interrupted by a codec call from Otacon. This isn't present in the original PlayStation game.
A "deleted scenes" example here: at the end of Star Fox Adventures, Krystal, the love interest of Fox McCloud comes aboard the team's ship. Originally, Fox would have offered her a place on the team, with her replying she would only do so if he would kiss her. The rumored reason for this scene not happening is that Rare's animators couldn't convincingly portray the kiss (this is somewhat similar to the Chicken Run example). Unused audio of this scene can be found here; 
A version sort of happens in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword as although they were never going to kiss, to the player it looks like they will. Near the start of the game after Link has won the Annual Bird Flight Ceremomy and has been given the sailcloth, Zelda says that, in what seems like an embarrased way, that there is "something else that they are supposed to do at the end of the ceremony...". Link's expression at this, and the options the player is given on how to reply ("Nope.", "Sort of...", "Uh-oh...") it's extremely heavily implied they are going to kiss. Just before it looks like Zelda is going to kiss Link, she instead turns him around and pushes him of the each of the statue they are standing on as part of the final test of the ceremony.
Earthworm Jim has Princess-What's-Her-Name get crushed by the cow that Jim launched in New Junk City just as she is about to kiss Jim.
After all the teasing and shipping and angst that led up to it, Mecha-Maid and the eponymous Spinnerettefinally work things out, finally realize they've both been going about it all wrong, finally get a proper date set up, and finally go in for the kiss... Or not — Friday cliffhanger and the last page of the chapter! AARGH!
"The Almost Kiss. Such a classic trope in romantic comedy. The concept I am about to reveal to you may be beyond your mortal comprehension, so listen carefully: Romantic Comedy is what happens when my domain and Aphrodite’s intersect. The fact that she and I have never gotten along terribly well is the reason works in this genre so often fail at being either romantic or comical."A link.
Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. Penny and Billy are in the laundromat, looking deep into each others eyes. It looks as though she and Billy are drawing closer, and closerrrr... and then she brings up Captain Hammer. Ouch.
Speaking of Felicia Day, it's lampshaded in the The Guild music video, "Game On" — lyrics: "Level up/Feel the bliss/Forward-slash/Almost kiss..." For those not familiar with MMORPG terminology, forward slashes are used for emotes (especially in World of Warcraft, which is The Guild's main source of parody). So /kiss would cause your character to blow a kiss to his or her target. Naturally, in the music video, they perform an Almost Kiss immediately after the line.
In The Autobiography of Jane Eyre (episode "The King of Hearts"), Jane Eyre and Edward Rochester are flirting and being cute together. He's trying to record her and snap a few photos. Jane gets close and they end up looking into each other's eyes very intensely. They almost kiss, but Jane pulls herself bback. Edward has to take a few breaths to recover from the moment.
Beast Boy and Terra are interrupted on a date by Slade.
Cyborg has two with Sarasim in one episode: first, they're interrupted by a monster-army attack, and then, he pulls away saying, "I'm really sorry," because he just feels they're too different for it to work out.
Starfire and Robin pass up numerous perfect moments, but most noticeably before Robin leaves in "The End" to help Slade find Raven, and a few times in Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo.
Blackarachnia and Optimus Prime do this several times in Transformers Animated. Sadly, it's usually a feint by BA to distract him.
Possibly Aang and Katara in "The Cave of Two Lovers". However, the lights go out as they're moving in, and to this day, it's a mystery if there was an Almost Kiss or a First Kiss. The producers saythat is was a First Kiss.
And another, far less ambiguous one when they dance together in the second episode of the third series, ending with both of them panting and sweating heavily.
Sokka and Suki also share an Almost Kiss-moment on a moonlit night, which is exactly why Sokka can't go through with it (his last girlfriend died and became the Moon Spirit). He makes up for by the end of the episode with two Shut Up Kisses.
American Dragon Jake Long: Despite the fact that it was his plan, Jake panics every time he and Rose are about to kiss while practicing for the School Play, and if his neurosis doesn't stop them, the sudden appearance of the magic beetle they're both searching for does.
Futurama does this between Fry and Leela in two different episodes. DVD commentaries of the episodes in question make it clear the creators are fully aware of just how frustrating some people find this.
During the TV movie Win, Lose, Kaboom! where Jimmy and Cindy are just about to kiss, this gigantic meteor-warp-mail rock hits the parking lot of the building they're in. But, to make things fair, it wasn't a kiss, it was the "Gorlockon Seal of Trust".
Also in the episode "Out, Darn Spotlight", Jimmy and Betty are finally about to do a stage kiss for "MacbethIN SPACE!", when a weather machine built by Jimmy malfunctions and begins to send the school through a tornado. Also happens with Nick and Betty who are about to kiss during rehearsal until Jimmy intentionally interrupts them by using said machine to create a dark cloud their way, which rains on them just before the kiss happens.
Kim Possible: Way too many times in Season 4 when Kim and Ron are about to kiss. Wade, Monique, and Bonnie are just a few of the people who interrupt would-be kisses between Kim and Ron. The Word of God admitted it is an intriguing gag. It wasn't as frustrating as most Almost Kiss scenes are, because it isn't used to delay or step back from a Relationship Upgrade.
Dot and Bob suffer from this on several occasions. Once by the appearance of Rocky the Rabid Racoon, and once by the appearance of a second Bob!
Another occurrence is in the first season episode "Talent Night", where Dot nearly kisses a very shocked Bob in front of the entire city. Of course, she ends that one herself by putting a hand on his face and pushing him to the ground.
In the "Daemon Rising" arc the brainwashed AndrAIa explains how important love is to the innocent-looking virus Daemon... who leans in very close, as if she was trying to get a kiss from the game sprite.
An entire episode of Nickelodeon's Doug revolved around this. Not only did Doug not even know if he and Patty were on a date, near the end of the episode this trope finally happens — and she stops and this is never referenced again (during the Nickelodeon incarnation anyway...)
In an episode of Hercules the animated series, Icarus almost kisses his beloved Cassandra while both are brainwashed... until she realizes there's a huge saliva drop and snaps out of it.
In the '90s Wild CATS cartoon, Zealot and Grifter spend most of the thirteen episodes doing the UST dance; when they finally admit their feelings, they lean in... and then an emergency warning starts blaring.
Grifter: Couldn't have waited thirty seconds?
The Legend of Zelda. The main running gag of the show is Link trying to get a kiss from Zelda, and they frequently come pretty dang close, but are always interrupted.
In The Penguins of Madagascar episode "The Falcon and the Snow Job", Skipper, after defeating the other falcon who wanted to eat King Julien, has an Almost Kiss with Kitka. Julien ruins the moment by mocking the fact that they're both birds and would have to "love peck" instead of kiss, due to their lack of lips. Instant Moment Killer.
The Simpsons: In the episode "The Devil Wears Nada", this happens twice between Marge and Ned Flanders when spending dinner with each other without the kids and Homer(who is with Carl in Paris).
Happens once to both frustrate the fans and for pure comedy. When everyone in Miseryville falls asleep Jimmy's the only one awake, so when he gets to Heloise's house and finds her asleep like Cinderella, he finds a book next to her that says that tells of the wake-up kiss. He appars to consider it, but dismisses it and chucks the book away.
Jimmy: Well, well, well... according to this book, if you kiss the sleeping princess she wakes up. (looks at Heloise only to chuck the book away) Can't believe everything you read.
Nearly happens again when Heloise has Jimmy under the influence of a love sweater, only to be interrupted by Beezy who, under the influence of a fear sweater, "rescues" Jimmy from her.
"Death Bear": Before they are interrupted by a vicious bear in an abandoned zoo park.
Margaret: So, you still wish you were at home watching a movie?
Mordecai: No, it was pretty fun. I mean, I got to hang out with you, so that's all that matters.
Margaret giggles. They exchange looks and Mordecai leans in.
Margaret: Uhh, Mordecai?
Margaret: What is that?!
Cue Death Bear making his entrance.
"Bad Kiss": There is an actual kiss when Mordecai goes back to the car looking for his wallet and Margaret follows him. Unfortunately, due to Mordecai's bad breath he gets pushed away, instantly freaks out and escapes from the scene. When talking to Rigby, he finds out that he is in possession of a time machine, so they try to go back in time and fix the ordeal... repeatedly. Eventually, after failed attempts to prevent past!Mordecai from eating a chillidog that day, make him brush his teeth, eat a mint and et caetera, Mordecai settles on making the kiss not happen. He reaches for his lost wallet just as Margaret is about to kiss him.
"Do or Diaper": Due to having so many failed attempts to kiss Margaret, Mordecai agrees to a bet with Muscle Man, which states that if he can kiss Margaret until Friday midnight, Muscle Man will have to wear a diaper for a week and if he cannot, he will have to wear the diaper. He asks Margaret out, but her only free evening is Friday. Their date goes well, until Margaret finds out Muscle Man and Rigby have been following them the entire time and Mordecai is forced to tell her about the bet. Obviously, she's not happy to hear about it. Mordecai apologizes and tries to help her understand his actions - that he had only agreed to the bet to help him get the extra confidence to go through with the kiss. She asks him what time is it and after he replies "11:59", she approaches him, embraces him and leans in — right before she whispers to his ear "Have a nice week, diaper boy."
In Angels Friends, Sulfus tries to kiss Raf in the Caves of Obscurity but Raf stops him and reminds him of their rivalry.
Mahad and Dahlia in the Skyland episode "Eye of the Storm".
A running gag in Grojband in which it involves Trina Rffin and Nick Mallory.
In the Teen Titans Go! episode "Matched", Beast Boy spends the whole episode trying to get Raven to be his girlfriend. After breaking his heart, Raven gives in and Beast Boy proposes to her in which she gladly accepts. At their marriage, they are just about to kiss when Cybrog interupts the whole thing and says they aren't meant to be together and Beast Boy should instead date a scratching post. (It Makes Sense in Context…sort of)