Kiss cam

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Barack and Michelle Obama kissing for the kiss cam while Malia Obama and Joe Biden watch on the Jumbotron during a basketball game in Washington D.C.

The kiss cam is a social game that takes place during arena, stadium and court sporting events in the US and Canada. It is intended as a light-hearted diversion to the main event during a timeout, television timeout, or similar downtime. A 'kiss cam' camera scans the crowd, and selects a couple, their images being shown on the giant Jumbotron screens in the arena. The couple are then invited to kiss one another, encouraged by the rest of the audience. A kiss is traditionally rewarded by cheers and whistles, whilst a refusal to kiss is booed.

When the kiss cam is in action, the audience may be alerted by a known 'kiss-related' song being played, and/or an announcer warning the crowd. The crowd attending then pay attention to the marked 'kiss cam' video screen. Normally several consecutive couples are selected, and appear on the screen. As each pair appear onscreen, they are then expected to kiss.

The kiss cam became widely known outside the US and Canada on July 16, 2012, when US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama were 'caught' twice by the kiss cam during an international basketball match between Team USA and Brazil at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. The president kissed his wife on the second occasion.[1] The incident was reported worldwide.

Origins[edit]

The kiss cam tradition originated in California in the early 1980s, as a way to fill in the gaps in play in professional baseball games, taking advantage of the possibilities of the then-new giant video screens.[citation needed]

Hazards[edit]

The couple focused on by the camera may not be in a romantic relationship. They may in fact be brother and sister, friends, or not know each other at all. A platonic, perhaps awkward kiss often then results. Sometimes a refusal can generate a humorous twist for those watching.

The kiss cam screen often appears on television if the event is televised. The couple focused on may not wish their attendance together at the event to be widely publicized.

Gay or lesbian couples may feel excluded from the Kiss Cam routine, or if included, may feel subject to homophobic expressions of disapproval from members of the watching crowd.[2]

Kissing under such public scrutiny can be severely embarrassing for either or both members of a couple, whom may not be comfortable with public displays of affection to that level.

Some couples, although not wishing to kiss, feel intimidated by the crowd reaction, and feel forced to do so. Other instances may find the couple not noticing themselves on the screen, and the resulting inaction can be humorous or embarrassing.

In popular culture[edit]

On The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien, O'Brien parodied the Kiss Cam in comedy sketches, focussing on unlikely couples, such as a hunter and a bear.

The Canadian group, the Arkells released a song titled "Kiss Cam" in July 2011.

The Great Khali once hosted a weekly segment in his wrestling appearances called 'Khali Kiss Cam', in which he would kiss a female supposed audience member. He was preceded in this by the late wrestler Rick Rude, who would kiss a woman selected from the crowd after his victories.

In "Family Portrait", the finale of the first season of the US TV comedy Modern Family, Phil is caught on a Kiss Cam, and reluctantly kisses Gloria, his step-mother-in-law.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Obama Kiss Cam: Cheering Crowd And Arena Camera Get First Couple To Pucker Up (PHOTO)". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2013-07-11. 
  2. ^ Posted: 04/20/2012 2:53 pm (2012-04-20). "Brandon McCarthy, Oakland A's Pitcher, Condemns 'Kiss Cam' Gay Humor On Twitter". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2013-07-11.