Twins in Media: Twitches vs. Annalise and Erika

Promotional image from ‘Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper’. Copyright of Mattel Entertainment and Lions Gate Home Entertainment.

Hi! It’s Annie!

We’re getting close to the end of this branch of twins in media, and this time I’m going to pit a couple of the sets of twins from my childhood against each other. I definitely grew up with Annalise and Erika and Twitches was something I heard about from friends rather than watching it myself. Still, returning to both of these depictions of twins was absolutely insane to me as they are both depicted in vastly different ways from what I remember. Anyways, let’s get into it!

Tropes:

Twitches: These two had all of the tropes that I was expecting them to have from the description of the movie. We have the separated at birth trope, obviously because it’s fun for writers to decide that it’s too dangerous for the twins to stay together so that they can have a big reveal. Obviously, most twins in real life are not separated at birth, so I am a bit confused with how much this trope is used. But these two also suffer from being opposites and this includes their supernatural powers. You have one of them who is based off of the sun and the other who is based off of the moon. Their father split his powers in between both of them which means that their powers work better together and don’t have as much strength individually. This isn’t my favorite because it definitely doesn’t promote twins being viewed as individuals by the public. They have all of what you can expect here.

Barbies: They are also separated at birth, though that’s because they technically aren’t siblings. They are instead written to be like siblings or twins, which is why we include them here. Though because they are technically not siblings, the fact that they are separated at birth is not as much of an issue for me, but it’s still worth mentioning. They are opposites who find each other living the exact opposite lives and wanting what the other one has. They also have the age-old plot that applies to twins, which is the switching places role. No one notices the difference except for the people who are in the know. Which is pretty absurd to me as most twins have some differences that would be really obvious after a while. They also end up having a pretty weird double wedding, which sounds like an absolute nightmare to me.

Winner: I have to give it to the Barbies here. They in general have less tropes to apply to them and because they have different parents, some of these tropes don’t apply to them at all. Or at least not with the same degree.

Differences and Similarities:

Twitches: As I’ve already pointed out, they are exact opposites. One of them is a practical night owl while the other is a more emotional early riser. It all has to do with the connection of their powers, but that doesn’t excuse this from being there. Generally when the story calls for one of them to have a specific stance, the other adopts the exact opposite stance. They are opposites in every possible way, which means that the writers prevented them from having a healthy amount of similarities. They both have powers and that’s about it.

Barbies: They suffer from the exact same lack of similarities. They, like the original story, are created for the purpose of being opposite. They live the exact opposite lives and desire the exact opposite things, which is why it’s so convenient for them to switch places in the first place (even though kidnapping was involved). Because of this they don’t actually have a lot of healthy similarities, despite them singing that they are “a girl like you” to each other. Their only similarity is that they are dissatisfied with their lives.

Winner: Tie. I can’t say that one does it better than the other because they both do the exact same thing. They present two people who the plot tells you are similar but who were created with the express purpose to be opposites.

Relationship:

Twitches: Though these two don’t get along at first, this rapidly changes as the movie continues. They still don’t know a whole lot about each other by the time it ends, and them declaring that they love each other does feel unearned, but they at least develop some sort of friendship and trust. They learn to rely on each other despite their bickering and they view each other as potential best friends at the end of the movie (I really don’t see that sisterly bond quite yet). Though I don’t like all the fighting, in the end it seems like this is the beginning of a supportive sibling relationship.

Barbies: What relationship? Beyond their initial meeting and their having to swap, they spend the movie completely away from each other. Their plots are completely different and involve completely different people. Seeing them interact in this movie is rare. By the end of their movie they feel like friendly acquaintances.

Winner: Has to be Twitches. They have a relationship, unlike the Barbies, and even though it isn’t completely fleshed out, it is the beginnings of a supportive sibling relationship. This is a situation of an actual depiction of a relationship versus the complete lack of one.

Plot:

Twitches: They spend most of the movie together, but they still have their separate plots. Obviously, because the movie focuses on them as characters, we don’t have to deal with any sidelining of either of them. They spend some of the movie getting to know each other, but we also see them each with their families and friends. We see their separate relationships they have formed over the years and the different ways they were brought up. They don’t have a similar relationship with any one character and they are each fleshed out as individuals. I especially liked seeing their friendships and how much of a difference there was in their friends support of them and how they each relate to their friends.

Barbies: They do have individual plotlines. They have different relationships with their boyfriends or the other people in their lives. There’s nothing the same about the way they relate to each character. It is a bit messed up that Annalise’s family did not notice a switch at all, because the Queen should have at least noticed something. But they spend none of the movie together. So, at least the movie focuses somewhat on their individuality. But after a while it does feel like Erika isn’t really doing much in the castle while Annalise is having all the adventure.

Winner: Twitches. They have a plot line that not only focuses on themselves, but also at least attempts to focus on their relationship as sisters. There is no instance where the plot sidelines one or the other. Even when one sister isn’t present, the absence of the other character is felt. But not in a way that diminishes the other sister or her individual story.

Final result:

Twitches takes this. To be completely honest, neither of these depictions are very good. But Twitches actually feels like a story about sisters and a healthy depiction of siblings. Even if Annalise and Erika were siblings, which they aren’t, there is no relationship between them in their movie. Or at least very little of a relationship. Tia and Tamera are actually twins in real life, so it’s difficult to not sense a sisterly chemistry throughout the movie as well. Though Twitches wasn’t my favorite and still has a plethora of tropes I wish would go away, they at least try to make a movie that feels empowering to sisters. That is not at all the point of the Barbie movie. There is something to be said about the Twitches movie actually promoting bonding with your sibling. In comparison to Annalise and Erika, I think these two have made a much more promising fight for twins in general.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

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