Twins in Media: Finals

Screenshot of Lindsay Lohan in the 1998 version of ‘The Parent Trap’. Copyright goes to Walt Disney Pictures.

Hey! Hallie here!

We’re finally at the last pair up for Twins in Media. Our two finalists are Hallie and Annie from ‘The Parent Trap’ and Dipper and Mabel Pines from ‘Gravity Falls’. As my sister and I based this blog off of ‘The Parent Trap’, I will keep my biases in check while discussing these two. I’d also like to point out that, at this point, we’ve discussed every aspect of these twins that both regular audiences, and twins such as ourselves, will notice. In previous posts we’ve talked about how these characters are developed as individual characters, the tropes they suffer from, what their writers got right and wrong, how the plot serves them, and various other topics that have helped us analyze these characters. If you’re interested in hearing about these things, be sure to check some of our previous posts in this series! As for this finale, I’ll be comparing my favorite and least favorite aspects of each set of twins to declare a winner. Let’s get into this!

Favorite:

Hallie and Annie: For one, these two are the best same-sex twins I’ve seen in media thus far. It’s much more common to see twins of two separate genders get individual personalities and plots. It’s much rarer, and therefore much more commendable, when twin characters of the same sex receive this treatment. These two get very different personalities, and they spend half of the movie away from each other. This allows their characters to grow and develop without presenting them as a unit. However, these two are never portrayed as opposites. When same sex characters are portrayed differently, it’s very common to see the Opposites trope get used. This trope perpetuates the idea that twin characters must be abnormally different in order for others to recognize them as separate people. This is completely unrealistic considering most twins grow up in the same environment and, just like any humans, are bound to have some commonalities. This movie gives these characters similar interests, like fencing and playing poker, while still maintaining that their skill levels are different. They even eat their Oreos the same way. But they have large differences that force them to have to teach each other how to pretend to be one another so that they can switch places. These characters are well balanced, and are just as strong apart as they are together.

Dipper and Mabel: These characters are written primarily by an actual twin who took major influences from his relationship with his actual twin sister. And it shows. These characters have very separate personalities with separate interests. Dipper loves investigating and Mable loves stickers and animals. However, like Hallie and Annie above, they have many of the same passions. They both have almost a reckless love of adventure. What I love about these two in particular, however, is how well they know each other. They don’t have to spend any time getting to know one another because they grew up together. They have a long history of supporting one another. Dipper took his school photo with Mabel when she got gum in her hair and Mabel gave Dipper a massive valentine when he received none on Valentines Day. Dipper knows when Mabel is scared. Mabel is very aware of, and even teases Dipper for, his crush on Wendy. They have secret handshakes and awkward sibling hugs that show just how much they understand one another. They’re comfortable with each other, they understand each other’s sarcasm, and they remain best friend even after they argue. It’s an extremely realistic and healthy twin dynamic that you almost never see in media.

Least Favorite:

Hallie and Annie: The Separated at Birth trope is very often used when writers want twin characters to be different. If twin characters grow up in different environments, they’re bound to be different. However, this trope is kind of harmful. It fails to realize the major differences between twins who grow up together, regardless of the fact that they grew up in the same place at the same time. Twins are different as all siblings and humans are. You don’t need such a dramatic trope to demonstrate that. I understand this is necessary to make the rest of the movie work, but it’s worth mentioning that the entire movie is a giant trope. Namely, the Mischievous Twins trope. This trope often sees two twins switching places in order to trick people. Twins very often would rather you learn how to tell them apart than attempt to trick you. Just like anyone else, we want to be seen as individual people, and it’s hard to do that when you’re pretending to be your sister. In other words, twins aren’t likely to switch places, it’s simply the media that makes this seem common. Another major issue I have with these two is the fact that they’re played by the same actress. All twins look different. Especially to twins, it’s absolutely noticeable when you use the same actress to play two different characters. By using the same actress for two roles, it perpetuates the idea that both characters, and by extension, twins, are the same. Seriously. Stop that.

Dipper and Mabel: They’re opposite-sex twins, which does bother me to an extent. As I said above, same-sex twins are far less likely to be portrayed as separate characters. Opposite-sex twin characters are often devoid of tropes because they aren’t the same gender and it’s therefore easier for the audience to see the differences. Meanwhile, the same-sex twin characters are more often given tropes to differentiate them to an outrageous amount, or demonstrate the same personality. It does frustrate me that we haven’t seen a same-sex set of twins written like Dipper and Mabel. But that isn’t the writers fault. In fact, the lead writer knew not to use tropes because he’s a twin, himself. Because of that lack of tropes, I don’t have much to complain about. I can, however, complain about the fandom. Because the amount of people who decided to create content for an incestuous ship between Dipper and Mabel is disgusting. Somehow, many people think incest is more okay if twins are part of the disgusting relationship. It isn’t. Twins are regular siblings. Twincest is never okay to perpetuate and it disturbs me that I even have to address it. But, once again, this isn’t the shows fault. Within the show, Dipper and Mabel are almost flawless.

Winner: Dipper and Mabel win. I know, I know. That’s blasphemy considering the theming of the blog. It’s just further proof that the best writers for any group of people are the people from the group itself. Dipper and Mabel win because they act like actual twins more than any other twins I’ve ever seen in media. And It’s because of the influences of Alex and Ariel Hirsch, the real Dipper and Mabel. We have our winner! We’ll continue talking about the twins we see in media in the future, but it might be more sparse. We did just exhaust the majority of twins we’ve seen throughout out relationship with movies and television. For now, know that Dipper and Mabel aren’t likely to be topped by any other set of twins. With luck, we’ll get more twin characters written by twins to challenge their crown at some point.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

One thought on “Twins in Media: Finals

  1. Love Parent Trap- so of these last two, only knew about Hallie and Annie.

    In two of the books I’m writing, there are two twins. Between Effa/Rudy and Jasmine/Aurora- I prefer Jasmine and Aurora. Born into Disney-Loving and an Artsy family, which explains their names.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: