Heroes: Claire's Same-Sex Kiss Caught on Camera

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NBC is about to instill the perfect ratings slump-buster in its troubled drama Heroes: Let the show's hottest female character make out with her female college roommate. Bam! Genius! And just so we don't forget that the kiss is coming next week, they've released a still photo.

In the episode "Hysterical Blindness," Claire (Hayden Panettiere) will finally fulfill every teenage comic-book nerd's fantasy by smooching with roommate Gretchen (Madeline Zima) -- a moment that NBC has been eager to exploit through promotion. The network has already released more than a dozen stills from the episode, but what do you know -- late in the work day yesterday, they passed along one more: the one you keep peeking at above. Also of interest: the non-kissing shots that were sent to us are all under 100kb in size, but the kissing photo is 1.4 MB (full-sized version reduced to 300k is here). High-res for the win!

There has been some flack over the whole thing, with some fans and media (including TV.com) wondering if the kiss was a tactless way to boost the show's ratings. Well, turns out the liplock may have been Hayden's idea. Speaking to the press, Panettiere has been quoted as saying, "I kinda threw [Claire's same-sex relationship] out there. The writers put you in relationships and I was like, 'Can I just be with a girl or something? Let's do that.'"

Oh yes, let's.

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