Twins in Media (Round 2): Dipper and Mabel vs. Thing 1 and Thing 2

Art of Thing 1 and Thing 2 from Dr. Seuss’s ‘The Cat in the Hat’. Copyright goes to the Seuss estate.

Hi! It’s Annie!

And we continue the second round of twins in media! This time, if you’ve read some of my past posts, you’ll know that the winner for this pairing is probably really obvious. To be completely honest, I would say the exact same thing about them. But I’m at the beginning of writing this, so you never know what happens! Though I’m not sure a whole lot will change. Both of these portrayals of twins exist in mediums made for kids for the most part, so both of these can potentially affect views of twins from a young age. With all that on their shoulders, let’s see who did the best job!

Audience Perspective:

Dipper and Mabel: Dipper and Mabel spend plenty of the plot both together and separated; but they are the main characters so they do get a lot of plot. That’s really good because we follow them both in what are essentially growing up plotlines. We see them develop crushes and figure out more about themselves and their friends as they solve mysteries together. Those plotlines are not always together and are actually pretty often explored apart from each other. In that way they have become separate main characters that are equally explored. Dipper and Mabel are seen by audiences as individuals just as much, if not more, than they are seen as twins or siblings. The fact that they are twins comes secondarily to the fact that they are individuals, and this effects the way the audience perceives them too. If I were to say that Mabel was my favorite character from ‘Gravity Falls’, people would not automatically assume that I relate to her or favor her because she is a twin and I am also a twin. It’s not an automatic jump that would happen as much as other portrayals. And that’s actually a good thing! The only thing I have to mention here is that there is a small portion of the audience that, for some weird reason, decided to ship Dipper and Mabel together. That’s disgusting and please reevaluate. I know a lot of people say that they are fictional characters so people can do what they want. I am not of this mindset. They are fictional characters based off of the author and his twin sister; and even if they weren’t, I don’t think that any form of incest is ever ok to normalize in any way.

Thing 1 and Thing 2: Thing 1 and Thing 2 have possibly been one of the portrayals of twins that have effected audience perspectives of twins in real life the most. I know I’ve said this before, but you really can’t get through life without being compared to these two if you are a twin. I do find the question “So are you Thing 1 or Thing 2?” a little absurd considering the two are interchangeable. Because they are. It’s almost questionable whether or not they were actually written to be twins. My personal opinion is that they weren’t and they ended up this way because of audience perspective. Thing 1 and Thing 2 are two weird creatures that appear to wreak havoc and then disappear. They don’t have separate storylines and they are always doing the exact same thing with each other. They don’t appear for much of the story and often, they don’t have dialogue. They are more plot devices than characters. Yet, still, for some reason people insist on comparing twins to these two all the time. I still can’t quite figure out what the connection is between these two and twins. But I’m definitely taking points off for being compared to them so much throughout my life. It does get annoying eventually.

Winner: Dipper and Mabel by far take this. I think it’s definitely a win for twin portrayals that a pair of twins actually written by a twin received the amount of popularity that they did. Because of this they are written as completely different characters and are seen by audiences as completely different characters. Dipper and Mabel are one of the only portrayals of twins in media that are seen individually by audiences. That’s both sad and an absolutely amazing step forwards.

Twin Perspective:

Dipper and Mabel: Like I said above, these two were characters I was really happy to see. Even if I wasn’t too much into ‘Gravity Falls’. They don’t really fall too much into tropes, if they even do at all, and they are treated individually by everyone in the show and the fandom. They have different friends, some of the same friends, different interests, some of the same interests, and different relationships with everyone in the show. They are portrayed like actual siblings. They are not complete opposites or exactly the same, because most people aren’t. They also have a super healthy sibling relationship where they are always there for each other. A lot of times in media siblings are pitted against each other, and it’s refreshing to not see that here. Most of my problems with them come from the fandoms shipping, but that is not the fault of the character writing or the show at all. I do have to point out here that it is and always has been easier to get good representation of twins of opposite genders rather than twins of the same gender. If we could get more twin representation like this for twins of the same gender too, that would be great. But obviously, if some people in the fandom are any indication, there are still plenty of people out there who will fetishize twins no matter their gender.

Thing 1 and Thing 2: Other than being a bit annoyed about how much I’ve been compared to them, there’s nothing inherently wrong with them. I only say that because, like I said before, there’s really no proof that they are twins or even human beings at all. They’re called “things” so I’m not sure calling them humans would be accurate. They are fun characters who pop up and then disappear. They don’t have a plot. They are an example of the mischievous twins trope if you want to look at them as twins at all. They play pranks all the time, and that’s something we better described in other posts if you want to check out Fred and George or Hikaru and Kaoru. They are painted as being a bit villainous, but they aren’t pitted against each other so there’s no evil twin plot here. Sometimes they feel more like pets than anything else. I don’t really know what they are. The biggest issue here is, again, the audience deciding to compare these two to twins for some reason. Part of this was probably marketing as the Thing 1 and Thing 2 shirts became more popular. The comparison just feels wrong.

Winner: Dipper and Mabel again. They are individuals, actual humans, and twins. Dipper and Mabel are what I want most other portrayals of twins to end up looking like. I would especially like this for twin portrayals of the same gender because those are the ones that end up feeling like alien races rather than human beings and are massively fetishized. But again, if you ship Dipper and Mabel please notice that you are fetishizing twins and stop. Please.

Winner: It’s pretty obvious; Dipper and Mabel are definitely the winners here. It isn’t flattering to compare twins or really anyone to characters that are called “things”. Especially when they weren’t even really written to be twins in the first place. Dipper and Mabel show audiences that twins are individuals first and foremost. We do not speak at the same time or share a hive mind. We are very different people who naturally have some similar interests because we grew up in the same household and watched the same things. Dipper and Mabel are best friends and very supportive of each other; but that doesn’t overtake everything else about their characters. All twins should be written this way.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

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