Photo: Warner Bros.

Twin, Place, Or Show

Sarah D. Bunting's most memorable television twins. ('DOT COM!')

I don't watch Big Brother, but my esteemed colleague Jeff Alexander's account of the premiere -- and of the seventeenth season's new "Twin Twist" -- made me giggle, mostly because he's a funny writer but partly because it's kind of brilliant that the show is taking an exhausted sitcommy trope and repurposing it for reality-competition purposes. (I believe the Australian BB did this first.)

It got me thinking about notorious TV twin sets of all types. I've listed my 17 most memorable (in honor of the show's S17 -- from least to most awesome. If your pick isn't on here, it doesn't mean it's not rad (or ridiculous, or so bad it's good, i.e., "rad-iculous"). It just means it's my list, and I'd love to hear YOUR lists in the comments.

  1. Brittany and Cynthia Daniel, Sweet Valley High
    I never watched the show; Brittany played Jessica Wakefield, with whom this ancient lady who painted her bedroom a rich brown feels a kinship. She and Cynthia (who are both working on a SVH reboot) also played the Doublemint Twins, and if Brittany's Wikipedia page is any indication, she is very much able to play Julie Benz's twin should that need ever arise. Unfortunately, my primary association with Brittany is her toxically annoying turn as Eve on Dawson's Creek. I remember almost nothing in particular about her storyline, only a spiky Emily Valentine haircut and a try-hardy sexual permissiveness aimed like a traumatic-brain-injured and braless missile at the titular character. I can tell you that seeing her name on a list of twins in acting caused a visceral recoil from the laptop screen. I totally blame Kevin Williamson -- sadly, not a unique statement within this list.
  2. The Brady Bunch, "Two Petes In A Pod"
    A late-season episode, ergo nearly unwatchable, in which Peter meets his secret twin, Arthur Owens, and deploys him when he double-books dates with two different girls. Both roles assayed by Christopher Knight with enthusiasm, if not merit.
  3. Davy, Prince Ludlow, And The Amazing Wig-On-A-Mophandle Caper, The Monkees
    When Davy met his secret twin, the retiring Prince Ludlow, and had to use his greater personal charm to woo Ludlow's arranged intended (I think? the episode is too typically excruciating on the Micky tip for me to sit through enough of it to confirm), the production did the best it could with the technology available. Said technology seems to have consisted of a sixth-grade girl with an unconvincing wig and Davy chef shirt on.

    Screen: NBC via monkees.coolcherrycream.com

    Screen: NBC via monkees.coolcherrycream.com

  4. Brad and Chad Womack, The Bachelor
    Remember Brad Womack, who almost got deported when he didn't choose a wife at the end of his first season -- then returned to put another two dozen ladies through his indecisive bullshit? Remember when his twin, Chad, came on to confuse the remaining ladies and test them to see if they could tell the difference? Remember how barfy that made us all feel? Great. Let's never talk about it again.
  5. The Londons
    Most people don't associate Jason "Pink" London with TV, but he's done a shit-ton of TV movies (Identity Theft: The Michelle Brown Story sounds pretty great) (jk, no it doesn't). Jeremy, "the 7th Heaven one, was also on Celebrity Rehab, Celebrity Wife Swap, and Celebrities Who Were Charged With Vandalizing Cell Phones, Whatever That Means. (Note: Not a show. But I still don't know what the hell that means.)
  6. The Walshes, Beverly Hills, 90210
    "How are they this low on the list?!!"

    Screen: Fox

    Screen: Fox

    Source: Fox

    Source: Fox

    Ladies and gentlemen, I rest my bray-- er, "case."

  7. Nicholas Brendon and Kelly Donovan in Buffy The Vampire Slayer, "The Replacement"
    Typically of Xander-centric episodes, it's about 25 minutes of clever stretched to fit a 44-minute run time, and I didn't need to see that shirt once, never mind on both of them.
  8. The Hennessys
    An episode so forgettable I glossed over it in our Law & Order S6 Loglined, "Corpus Delicti" concerns the death of a horse -- and required the production to press Jill "Claire Kincaid" Hennessy's twin, Jacqueline, into service as a wide-shot double/stand-in while Jill was filming scenes for a Homicide crossover.
  9. Conrad and Bonar Bain
    I am on the record as finding Conrad somewhat creepy, as he is all one color, to wit: industrial beige. This is my own issue, however, and I am tickled to report that he had a twin named Bonar, who once played Conrad's character's twin on Maude. Bonar Bain, people! That is what she said! A bunch of times!
  10. Angela and Maureen Deiseach, Degrassi Mark 1
    One of original Degrassi's charms is the unpasteurized realism of its young stars. Some (read: "most") of the cast's attempts to capital-E Emote drive with a quickness off a parodically melodramatic cliff, but given the amped state of dramz I personally existed in at that age, it fits and feels true. Exhibits A and, er, A: Erica and Heather of Degrassi, who spent much of the early going as high-wind-voiced, complementarily outfitted (NB: Heather had an oversize-check black-and-white plaid top I still kind of want) Greek-chorus members before Erica and her decision to terminate a pregnancy took center stage -- supported by Erica's major-league bitchface.
  11. The many doubles of Knight Rider
    Unsurprisingly for a show that 1) is premised on a man going into witness protection with another man's face and 2) purchased dozens of identical Trans Ams for its other premise, the tricked-out talking car, Knight Rider features twins almost constantly: Michael Knight (ne Long) and Garthe; KITT and his evil (and much more awesome) prototype, KARR; and the ones people always forget, Devon's evil impostor and that time a woman "disguised as" Bonnie (and played by...Patricia McPherson. Effective!) reprogrammed KITT.
  12. All the Fringe alternates in the split universe
    The internet's names for the doubles -- "Fauxlivia," "Walternate," etc. -- make these even better.
  13. Rory and Claire, the twins who coordinate with Brandon to switcheroo Steve on a double date after he's a complete creeper about maybe doing them both at once
    Nobody remembers that subplot because it's in the episode where Brenda is rewarded for a summer-long stint as a willful C with a trip to Paris, but: Rory and Claire 2016. Shut up, Steve, you spoiled slut.
  14. Liz and Jean Sagal, Double Trouble
    Double Trouble, aka "Brunette Wakefields In The City," is a dumb, terrible show, but I was OBSESSED WITH IT 30 years ago. These ladies still work in the industry as a writer and director and were also the Doublemint Twins for a while (and in Grease 2); I remain obsessed with their bobs. Oh my god, their bobs. Especially Jean's. It was SO straight and symmetrical, and stood away from her head just so! She was so stylish! It's probably not as good as I recall, right?

    Screen: NBC

    Screen: NBC

    ...No, it is. Fucking adorable.

  15. The Ashmores
    According to the internet, they've subbed for each other on various shows (Smallville, for instance), but I don't happen to have seen any of them. I do love Veronica Mars, though (Aaron), and Shawn is one of the few bearable aspects of The Following who also killed it in a TV movie about Terry Fox.
  16. George and Oscar Bluth
    "DOT COM!"
  17. Tony Goldwyn's evil-twin turn on Without A Trace
    Crime shows love an evil-twin twist; I could have put any number of CSIs or SVUs here. This one makes the list because I still love Tony Goldwyn in spite of Scandal's Fitz turning into a complete and utter fly-festooned piece of shit in the last couple of seasons and trying heroically to shrivel my lady boner -- and because this performance was convincing enough in terms of the difference in Goldwyn's two performances that I had to look up whether Goldwyn actually did have an identical twin.

Honorable mentions: Twin Peaks; George and Lindsay Bluth; any medical-anomalies show that features teratomae

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