troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Identical Twin ID Tag
How could anyone possibly tell them apart?

"I'm Tamera, and I'm the one with the mole."
"And I'm Tia, and I'm the one without the mole."
Tia and Tamera Mowry

Being identical twins is awesome! You have an identical best friend and worst enemy (...wait, there's a difference?). Best of all? No one can tell you apart! ... except you are not one person, and having everyone constantly confuse the two of you can get grating very quickly. So the twins will develop different clothing styles, hair styles, and mannerisms to help differentiate themselves. They now have two identities rather than one... though they may ensure the superficial changes are small/impermanent enough to allow for future Twin Switches just to keep messing with people.

If one twin is absolutely sick of the prospect of their twin and them being confused, or has a falling out with their sibling and no longer trusts them with casual impersonation, they might make permanent alterations such as tattoos, scars, piercings, very deep tans, or even cosmetic surgery to really avoid confusion.

This also works as a visual aide in tv and film. If the twins were exactly alike, it could grow confusing for the audience to constantly keep track of which twin is doing what.

This is almost always Truth in Television - usually either because there's a biological distinction (e.g., a mole on one's cheek that the other doesn't have, a widow's peak in one's hairline, etc.) or because they like to do something to differentiate themselves (like a different hair style - even a different hair colour, sometimes). This usually happen naturally over time as the twins reach adolescence and older, and grow out of the cute dressing-alike phase and seek something to differentiate themselves from each other. Even more Truth in Television: Even identical twins can be told apart by their fingerprints.

See also/compare Twin Desynch. Tareme Eyes and Tsurime Eyes are a common way to tell twins apart. Any personal examples should go in the Troper Tales Wiki.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Mahou Sensei Negima!:
    • For Zazie and her sister, the shape of their eyes is the only way to tell them apart.
    • Fuuka and Fumika have distinctive hairstyles.
  • Ouran High School Host Club, where the twins can be told apart from how they comb their hair. This is later taken to its expected conclusion when the twins finally do change enough emotionally that they want to look different and be individuals; they achieve this by one dying his hair black.
    • Subverted in the anime, when Hikaru and Kaoru get fed up with being identical and dye their hair pink and blue. It ended up being another game to mess with everyone. In the anime they also have different voice actors.
  • Eyeshield 21: Unsui is bald and Agon wears his hair in dreads.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, Amiboshi wears blue and carries a flute. Suboshi wears orange and wields a Killer Yo-Yo. Remember that now.
  • In the first Cardcaptor Sakura movie, we are introduced to a set of enthusiastic teenage quadruplets, Syaoran's sisters. It's not mentioned in the movie, but according to some related promo material, each of the girls wears a different color dress, and two of them have different hairstyles. (Fuutie = yellow, Fanren = green, Feimei = blue, Xiefa = red)
  • In A Certain Magical Index, Touma distinguishes Mikoto from her clones by the fact that most of the time, the clones are wearing goggles to help them see electrical fields, something Mikoto can do naturally. Mikoto also wears Modesty Shorts under her skirt, while her clones don't. After a while he realizes that waiting for a strong breeze and looking up a girl's skirt is going to get him into trouble eventually, so he decides to buy a ring for Misaka 10032 to help identify her from Mikoto and the other clones. He quickly realizes that a ring might be too small to be easily spotted, so he decides to get her a necklace instead. But Misaka has been told that a ring is a gift from a boy who likes you, so she insists on it.
  • Despite not being twins, most characters in K-On! can only physically tell the Hirasawa sisters Yui and Ui apart by hairstyle, Ui wearing hers in a ponytail. When Ui pulls a Twin Switch though, Sawako-sensei can still tell who she really is by her bust size being slightly bigger than Yui.
  • In Armored Trooper VOTOMS, Arron Schmittel wears a brown uniform while his brother Gurran is dressed in blue.
  • In Axis Powers Hetalia, America and Canada are almost completely identical, except that America has a short, straight Idiot Hair in the middle of his part and Canada has a long, curly Idiot Hair on the left side of his head, not that it matters - everyone else just resolves the issue by pretending Canada doesn't exist.

    Comic Books 
  • Although not technically twins, Thompson and Thomson from Tintin have slightly different mustache styles.
    • To be precise, Thompson's mustache curls in while Thomson's flares out. In the licensed game based on the Jackson/Spielberg film, one also wears a white suit in co-op, while the other keeps his black one.
  • Huey, Dewey, and Louie from the Classic Disney Shorts and Disney Ducks Comic Universe dress in a Chromatic Arrangement of hats and shirts (Huey being red, Dewey being blue, and Louie being green — usually). In the Disney Ducks Comic Universe they wear black shirts and frequently go hatless — and when they do wear hats it's not a given that the colorist will follow the "official" colors, leaving it impossible at times to tell who's who.
    • Their Distaff Counterparts April, May and June vary wildly whether they wear different colors or not — or which colors they wear. Sometimes they follow the red/blue/green Chromatic Arrangement of Huey, Dewey and Louie, sometimes they'll go for a yellow/magenta/cyan theme instead. However, in later years Dutch comics featuring the girls gives them more individual clothes and different hairstyles (yes, hair on ducks, just go with it): April has a ponytail, May has short hair and generally wears a headband, and June has twin pigtails.
    • In a comic story from Don Rosa, Huey, Dewey and Louie HAVE differences... It's just that they're subtle enough that only themselves and Donald (who is revealed to be able to see details as subtle as flea prints on a donut) can tell them apart without the hats. That doesn't prevent the triplets from taking offense by anyone else's inability to tell them apart.
    • By Quack Pack, Divergent Character Evolution has given them different hairstyles and fashion choices (as well as more unique personality traits). They still keep the color scheme, though.
  • The Mauler Twins of Invincible are a mutated mad scientist and his clone — they don't remember and can't agree on which is which. One of them has a nose ring and a tattoo on his face. Both of them cite this as evidence that they're the original and the other is the clone.
  • Zipi y Zape: The twins' hair colours.

    Fanfic 
  • In The Little Cherub series Raven and Beast Boy have identical twins as their third and fourth child. One of them does have a birthmark, but they are still mixed up by their dad so often that Raven says at one point "I swear, I'm going to get them monogrammed clothes.". BB's response if an enthusiastic "Can we"?

    Film 
  • Dead Ringers: Elliot and Beverly Mantle are identical twins who begin the film as nearly inseparable partners in a gynecological practice. As the story progresses, Beverly and Elliot personalities diverge due to one of the twin's advancing mental instability. This is reflected in their appearance, with Elliot maintaining a healthy, well-tanned look while Beverly develops bags under his eyes, a sickly pallor, and a nervous twitch. Guess which one's losing his marbles?
  • Parodied & Inverted in The Great Muppet Caper where Kermit (a frog) and Fozzie (a bear) play identical twins.
    Editor: You two guys don't look anything alike!
    Kermit: That's 'cause Fozzie's not wearing his hat. Fozzie, put your hat back on.
    Fozzie: Yes sir. puts hat on See?
    Editor: Oh, yeah, I can see it now.
  • This trope is inverted in both versions of The Parent Trap, with the identical twins starting out easily identifiable by hairstyle, choice of clothing, and accents. When they decide to do the swap to try to get their parents back together, they make adjustments so that they are indistinguishable.
  • In Scott Pilgrim vs. The World Kyle & Ken Katayanagi, Evil Exes 5 and 6 respectively, have very different outfits and Ken has bleached his hair. In the movie at least they lack individual characterizations as a result of their actors not speaking English.
  • In some of the scenes of The Social Network the Winklevoss twins are differentiated through hairstyle: Cameron wears his nomrally and Tyler has his slicked back. Other features, such as differing ties, are sometimes used as well.
  • Pictured above are the Stabbington brothers from Tangled, who are only differentiated by: sideburns, the Eyepatch of Power one of them wears, clothes, and weapons.
  • In Serenity the Rample twins are always impressed that Mal can tell who's who. When they question him, he simply says "Fanty's prettier" than Mingo. Explained in the novelization by Mal knowing Mingo's voice is slightly higher than Fanty's.
  • Clone example, in Oblivion2013 Jack Harper 49 acquires a cut across the bridge of his nose, while 52 wears a gray bandanna.
  • Played With in A Monsterous Holiday twins April and May have a single pigtail, sometimes highlighted in different colors, which oddly enough made them seem more like Single-Minded Twins that happened to have divided Girlish Pigtails given their tendency for Twin Banter.

    Literature 
  • In most versions of Alice in Wonderland, Tweedledum and Tweedledee have their names embroidered in their collars.
    • In Tenniel's illustrations, they are mirror images of each other, which was probably Carroll's intention.
  • In Harry Potter, Fred and George Weasley are identical enough that they're seen pulling a Twin Switch on their own mother. Mrs. Weasley will routinely make them jumpers with F and G on them ("For Gred and Forge" the twins joke). In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, George loses his ear getting Harry to safety. One of the first things the twins tell their mother is now she can tell them apart. ...And then Fred dies in the final battle at Hogwarts which, while tragic, probably makes telling the difference even easier.
    • There're also Padma and Parvati Patil. In the books, Padma is in Ravenclaw and Parvati in Gryffindor. Goblet of Fire states the two could usually only be told apart by their uniforms; both are in Gryffindor in the films and are played by two non-sibling actresses and made fraternal.
  • In Ngaio Marsh's Death of a Peer (UK title A Surfeit of Lampreys), A pair of near-identical twins both claimed to have taken the elevator with their uncle just before he was found dead in it. Only one of them did, and Alleyn points out that the twins can't cover for each other since he can tell which twin is which.
  • The Midnight Twins is a book about seer twins, one who can see into the future and one into the past. Meredith, aka Merry, is cheerful and girly. Her hair is parted on the right, she's right-handed, and she has two piercings in her right ear. Mallory, aka Mally, is a tomboyish loner with all of the aforementioned characteristics on her left side.
  • In The Stainless Steel Rat books, Jim's sons James and Bolivar are distinguished only by a small scar behind James's ear, from when Bolivar bit him when they were four.
  • In the Vorkosigan Saga, Mark deliberately gains huge amounts of weight so that he can be easily distinguished from his clone-brother Miles.
  • The St John twins from David Weber and John Ringo's Prince Roger series have opposite sides of their heads shaved, due to one of their old COs being unable to differentiate them.
  • In The Truth-Teller's Tale by Sharon Shinn, Eleda and Adele are "mirror" twins, able to be told apart by which of their mismatched eyes is on which side, their handedness, and the way they part their hair. However, since Eleda is a Truth-Teller and Adele is a Safe-Keeper and the consequences of them pulling a twin-switch on you are very serious, the townspeople have worked out a question to tell them apart: "Is it safe to tell you a secret?" Eleda will always say "no" and Adele will always say "yes."
  • In the Garrett, P.I. novels, Garrett makes the groll brothers, Doris and Marsha, wear different hats so he can tell which is which.
  • The Calendar Mysteries features twins Bradley and Brian Pinto. Brian is the twin missing a tooth.
  • In the Aunt Dimity series:
    • Identical twins Ruth and Louise Pym are difficult to tell apart and always dress alike. Eventually, Lori realizes that Ruth (the elder) always speaks first, and that Louise is slightly more soft-spoken than her sister.
    • Lori doesn't explicitly state how she can tell her sons apart, but in Aunt Dimity Digs In young Rainey Dawson claims to be able to see the difference in their souls by looking in their eyes, even citing a difference in colour.
  • In an early Sweet Valley High novel, Jessica gets fed up with people mistaking her for Elizabeth and gets herself a makeover, including dying her hair black. She rapidly switches back when it turns her original look is what a modeling agent is looking for.
  • From the Baby Sitters Club: Initially, Marilyn and Carolyn Arnold can only be told apart when wearing their name bracelets, though later, the sitters wise up and notice that the girls both have moles under different eyes. Later still, Carolyn gets a haircut and a more stylish wardrobe, while Marilyn wears her hair long and prefers more conservative clothes. Abby and Anna Stevenson are shown in Abby's Book to be impossible to tell apart and are initially afraid of developing separate, non-identical interests, even if they're afraid of growing up to be completely identical. After they get frustrated by their teacher asking their parents to color-code them for school and their classmates' habit of referring to them collectively as "Abby-Anna," their father suggests one of them cut their hair. So Anna does.
  • One of the Alice, Girl from the Future books features two twins who were told by some seer to always wear only one boot each - one on them on the left foot, the other on the right.
  • Invoked in Nine Goblins. When the twins Mishkin and Mushkin tell Nessilka even their mother can't tell them apart, she decides to fix that and has The Big Guy punch one in the face, giving him a black eye.

    Live Action TV 
  • Invoked in an episode of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. Cody decides to dye his hair "Honey Mist Auburn" so that people would be able to tell him from Zack. To quote the episode: "Honey, you missed auburn big-time." He ended up as a redhead, and ironically was forced to do a Twin Switch for an interview. In Real Life, you could tell Dylan Sprouse from his brother because Cole (Cody) has a more gaunt face than Dylan.
    • This also meant that as time progressed, it got much less difficult to tell the two apart.
    • When Zack and Cody play basketball for their school, Cody wears a sash on his head.
  • In Arrested Development, the Bluth twins can be told apart easily because George is bald and Oscar has hair. Oh, that hair.
  • Siobhan on Ringer has a burn scar on her wrist, which her twin sister Bridget finds handy when she has to convince someone she's not her sister.
  • Kamen Rider: Though they're not related, this appears with the first two Riders. Takeshi Hongo (Kamen Rider #1) and Hayato Ichimonji (Kamen Rider #2) have nigh-identical suited forms (after actually tweaking Hongo's suit to more resemble Ichimonji, especially gaining a white stripe on his helmet without which they'd be easily distinguishable. What The Hell, Costuming Department?). The only difference is that Ichimonji's boots and gloves are red. It's hard to see which is which in a fight, but eventually, Ichimonji got a black helmet in many of his later appearances. (Then lost it. The Double Riders are nigh-impossible to tell apart once again. However, Movie Wars Megamax brings back Ichimonji's black helmet, which is then carried over to Kamen Rider X Super Sentai Super Hero Taisen, indicating that the change might stick this time.
  • In the Law & Order: SVU episode "Double Strands", a serial rapist tries to pin his crimes on his twin brother. The twin, not knowing that he had any siblings, protests his innocence, even against DNA evidence. The real culprit is eventually identified by his chipped tooth and a scar on his stomach.
    • This was also used in the original series, when an ex-con was the prime suspect in a murder until they found out he had a twin brother. A witness was able to determine the difference between the two, however, noticing the ex-con had several signs of being a long time hard drinker, which the other brother did not.
  • In the pilot movie for Out of Jimmys Head, Crocco says that he can tell Golly and Dolly apart because Dolly wears a bow. This received a Call Back in a later episode, where Dolly loses her bow and Crocco mistakes her for Golly.
  • In later seasons of Sister Sister, the twins played up the fact that Tamera has a mole on her cheek where Tia doesn't. Interestingly, in earlier seasons, producers put a mole on Tia's cheek to make them "exactly" identical. This was actually one of the aims from the fifth season onwards as producers wished to properly distinguish the sisters' personalities.
  • In the 80s sitcom Double Trouble, the main characters were twins Kate and Alison Foster. Alison (the studious one) regularly wore her hair in a ponytail while Kate (the outgoing one) wore hers loose.
  • Identical twins Katie and Emily in Series/Skins have fringes cut to opposite sides when they're introduced, as well as fake moles by opposite eyes (Emily switches hers while pretending to be Katie). They also develop different styles of dress, with Katie preferring leopard print and Katie leaning to plaid. By season four, Katie dyes her hair a dark shade of almost maroon, while Emily keeps her hair cherry red. In Real Life, they're actually played by fraternal twins, and Megan Prescott (Katie) has a rounder face than Kathryn (Emily) and a bit of a lisp.

     Professional Wrestling 
  • The Uso twins in WWE can only be told apart by Jimmy wearing long tights and Jey wearing shorts. However their dreadlocks are different styles. And Jey has a tattoo on his chest and Jimmy doesn't.
    • Despite both wearing the same attire now, they're a bit easier to tell apart thanks to Jimmy's weight gain making him look just slightly more like the usual wrestling Samoan than Jey.
  • Don Harris is an inch taller than his twin brother, Ron.
  • The Bella Twins initially avoided this and the only way to tell them apart was when they spoke - Brie has a much deeper voice than Nikki - or if their hemline was low enough to reveal Brie's tattoo. In 2012 Nikki got breast implants and has developed a much curvier figure while Brie is noticeably skinnier. They've played it straight since turning face in 2013. Nikki wrestles wearing a t-shirt and baseball cap and has lightened her hair. Brie wears ruffled boot covers and typically wears her hair back with an Alice band.
    • When they made their video game debut in Smackdown vs Raw 2010 one twin wore red and the other wore blue.
  • The Owens Twins can be distinguished by the different tattoos - Kasey has them on her left shoulder and down her left hip while Leah has one on her right shoulder. Kasey also often favours additional colours such as red and blue in her hair.
  • The Blossom Twins can only be told apart by slightly differing hairstyles. Holly usually has a fringe while Hannah doesn't.

    Tabletop RPG 
  • Dungeons & Dragons module EX2 The Land Beyond the Magic Mirror, which was inspired by Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland stories. T. Deeous and T. Diumm (a Shout-Out to Tweedledee and Tweedledum) look exactly alike, except for the ties that secure their jackets: one is russet-red, one is plum colored.
    • Ravenloft's wererat darklord, Jacqueline Renier, got so sick of people confusing her with her sister Louise that she went in for the body-alteration version of this trope. Not by changing herself, but by tearing off her sister's earlobe in a fight.

    Video Games 
  • Jailbait twins Gauche and Droite from Tales of Vesperia. They look the same for the most part, but are easy to distinguish due to the color of their hair and eyes, as well as having distinct voices.
    • Tales of Vesperia also has Hisca and Chastel from the OVA The First Strike. They are distinguishable by the fact that Chastel is "more developed" than her sister.
  • Dante and Vergil of the Devil May Cry series. Dante has a relatively simple red longcoat in all his appearances and wears his hair loose. Vergil wears a far more elaborate blue coat and keeps his hair slicked back, though occasionally it falls out of place, making it look identical to Dante's.
  • Custom Robo for the Gamecube has Eliza and Isabella, twins in the employ of the villainous Z Syndicate. They are completely identical in all respects except for the fact that they are literally mirror images of the other: Eliza's ponytail is styled to the right while she holds her fan in her left hand, while Isabella styles her hair to the left and holds her fan in her right hand.
  • Luciana and Aegina in Yggdra Union are distinguishable because of their different hairstyles, different clothing colors, and the fact that Luciana is a lefty. Unfortunately, they still have to dress similarly because the Imperial Army would lose a huge tactical advantage if their enemies actually wised up, not to mention that there's still people in Fantasinia who are trying to kill the two of them—and this means that even most of their allies have trouble telling them apart at times. This is a plot point in the Yggdra Unison drama CD, where Luciana tries to establish her individuality much more clearly. Out of the whole cast, only Gulcasa and Emilia can reliably tell the twins apart.
    • Aforementioned tactical advantage is used to great effect against player, even. It's possible to confuse the second "Aegina's" distinguishing marks for dodgy spritework at first.
  • In Gloria Union, twin brothers Ishut and Ashley are very easy to tell apart—they have different hairstyles (Shonen Hair versus a ponytail), different taste in clothing, and diametrically opposite personalities. Having lived completely separate lives for about ten years tends to do that.
  • Ami and Mami Futami in The Idolmaster. One has a side ponytail on the right (Ami) the other on the left (Mami). Becomes even more pronounced when Mami grows her hair out for the second game and anime.
  • About midway through the second year in Tokimeki Memorial 2 Maho Shirayuki's breasts grow significantly more than her twin sister Miho's. Thereafter it becomes very easy to distinguish which one just showed up for your date.
  • Angela and Lilith Pleasant in the second main instalment of The Sims franchise. To distinguish themselves from one another in their mutual antipathy, Angela is a stereotypically preppy-looking girl in a light summer dress and sparse, natural-toned make-up, while Lilith is a full-on goth girl complete with spiked leather collar, entirely black clothing, black lipstick and white face powder. Despite this, they wear their hair in identical fashion and have remarkably similar personalities and life goals.
  • Redmond and Blutarch Mann, founders of RED and BLU respectively, in Team Fortress 2. They both wear identical suits with bowler hats, dressed completely in their respective colors. Although they look identical, the family portraits hanging in each of their respective mansions portray the respective brother as tall and handsome, with the other as a short, weasel-y gremlin. Time will tell if their long-lost triplet, Gray Mann, follows suit.
    • Turns out he doesn't. He looks almost nothing like them, and considers both of them morons and so far, not even worthy of recognizing in any form, let alone demeaning them in paitings. The person he really has a beef with is Saxton Hale.
  • Dr. Ned, the twin brother of Dr. Zed from Borderlands, has a mustache, while his brother lacks facial hair.
  • The Dewynter Sisters in Saints Row: The Third are identical twins that look alike and dress alike but can be told apart from the colors of their sunglasses. Kiki wears pink glasses and Viola wears white glasses. After Kiki is killed, Voila will start wearing Kiki's pink glasses to signify her respect for her sister.
  • Mother 3 has the twins Claus and Lucas, who have different quirks, different colored clothing, and different hairstyles and hair color.
  • Having trouble with the Half-Identical Twins Liza and Tate in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire? Liza has Tomboyish Sidetails.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Tsukihime, the twins Kohaku and Hisui are identical apart from their different outfits and their eye color, which also matches their names (kohaku and hisui translate to "amber" and "jade" respectively). This is also a major plot point in the twins' respectively routes of the story, since the flashback is deliberately shown in monochrome to hide which twin Shiki met and when.
  • Used to the Sonozaki sisters' advantage in Higurashi: When They Cry. From an early age, Mion wore a Tomboyish Ponytail and dressed more boyishly, while Shion tied only half her hair back and wore more feminine attire. They frequently pulled twin switches when they were younger with one permanent switch and a full back tattoo thrown in, and can often only be told apart by the way that each styles her hair.
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Dahlia Hawthorne has red hair and her twin sister Iris has black. It's likely Dahlia dyes her hair, since her mother, Morgan, has jetblack hair as well.

     Web Animation 
  • Lifty and Shifty in Happy Tree Friends. Shifty wears a hat.
  • In a Cheat Commandos short, the Blue Laser Commander gets fed up with the fact that the two minions he's spending Thanksgiving with look identical. So he stabs one in the face with a fork. There, now they're much easier to tell apart!

    Web Comics 
  • In Transmission identical twins Russell and Reggie wear green and orange tops respectively to tell them apart.
  • While not technically twins, Bob and George's Author Avatar put name tags on the alternate future and alternate far-future Megaman and Bass to diferentiate themselves from each other, because he knew things would become confusing shortly. Not long after, the far-far-future versions of the alternates appeared with the appropiate tags... And then they took them off, revealing themselves to be the present day alternate Mega Man and Bass.
  • In the Order of the Stick, Nale is distinguishable from his twin brother Elan by his goatee and (initially) by his tendency to wear a similar outfit with the color scheme inverted. When Nale pulls a Twin Switch by shaving off the goatee and stealing Elan's clothes, readers can still tell the difference by a darker spot on his face where the goatee once was. The other characters don't notice, except for Belkar who can identify Nale by scent (and only after he ditches the clothes).
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! furry creatures Molly and Golly are distinguishable mostly by the fact that Golly likes to wear clothes, while Molly relies on her furriness to let her run around in the buff.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Tomax and Xamot, the twin COBRA agents from G.I. Joe A Real American Hero, can be distinguished because Xamot has a facial scar and Tomax does not. They also wear costumes that mirror each other.
  • The Oracle Twins in American Dragon Jake Long dress exceedingly differently. In the first season, before the animation style changed, it's easy to tell that they were just dressing differently. In the second season, their entire appearances, hair color included, are altered.
  • Ingrid and Latoyah from Slacker Cats have different colour eyeshadow - purple and green - though which one is which is another matter.
  • Susan and Mary Test, from Johnny Test, have different hairstyles, different hair clips (a star or moon) different shirt colors and designs, different shoes, and differently-shaped glasses (square for Susan, half-moon for Mary). The clincher though is that one has green eyes and the other blue, a Twin Switch would probably require them to wear contacts.
  • In Rugrats, Phil and Lil De Vil are identical fraternal twins. They had slightly different outfits; Lil wore a pink bow in her hair and her overalls were actually tapered like a skirt at the bottom. They're still similar enough that switching Lil's bow can cause their dad to confuse them. One episode has Lil give herself pigtails and Phil mess up his hair so they can be told apart.
    • Angelica invoked this trope when she pretended to have a twin sister named "Ballina". To portray Ballina, she tied up her Girlish Pigtails and rolled up the sleeves of her shirt. She also spoke in a higher pitched voice.
  • Patty and Selma Bouvier on The Simpsons. Selma's hair is parted, Patty's is not. Patty parted hers in one episode as part of a plan to break Selma and Abe apart. It failed when the real Selma showed up while Patty was tricking Abe.
  • Bert from Thomas the Tank Engine has stubble, while his twin brother 'Arry does not.
    • The Brendham Bay Twins and Scottish Twins both wear actual name tags.
      • In the case of the Scottish Twins, the names are painted on because they pulled one too many twin switches in in their backstory.
      • Bill and Ben looking nearly identical to each other was played with in the Season 2 episode, "The Diseasel", in which their drivers removed their name tags so they could play a trick on BoCo, who had mistakenly taken their freight cars.
      • In the Season 17 episode, "Bill or Ben?", Sir Topham Hatt sent Bill to the Steamworks to get a blue coat of paint so Connor would be able to tell him and Ben apart after they played a trick on him. This plan didn't work because Ben tricked Kevin into thinking he was Bill and giving him a blue coat of paint as well.
  • This is actually commented on in The Venture Bros. episode "Dr. Quymn, Medicine Woman", where Dr. Quymn's daughters Nancy and Drew explain that they're technically semiidentical. Which is to say that Drew has freckles on her nose and Nancy doesn't. Hank can't tell them apart even after he hears about this.
  • Subverted with Sam and Dave, the Diggers, on Recess, as they were identical best friends (though in the Japanese dub, they are twins). The way you could tell them apart was that Sam wore a red bandana around his neck, and Dave wears a white mouth cover around his neck.
  • Futurama plays with this with Bender and Flexo. As both are bending units, they were designed with identical looks... except for Flexo having a detachable metal goatee.
  • The Trishas from Rated A For Awesome are nearly identical, except they're mirror images of each other. Trisha #1 has an earring on her left ear and her hair parts to the right, while Trisha #2 has an earring on her right ear and her hair parts to the left.
    • Also, whenever they wear different clothes, Trisha #1 is usually wearing a darker shade of pink than Trisha #2.
    • Their cousin, also named Trisha, is identical to Trisha #2 except her hair is strawberry blonde instead of regular blonde.
  • Totally Spies!: Terry underwent surgery so he'd no longer look or sound like Jerry.
  • Street Football: One of the Tekno Twins (Tek and No) played with this trope in "Alter Ego" until he learned the four boys in the Scottish team are brothers of the one girl of their team.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987): In the 1987 series, the turtles were physically identical, the only visual difference between any of them being the color of their eyemasks.
  • In Teen Titans Mas and Menos respectively wear a plus and minus on their clothes. The only other difference is that Menos has a gap between his front teeth.
  • The Legend of Korra has Korra's cousins Densa and Eska, who are Half-Identical Twins so identical that the only visual clues are their clothes (Eska as a different hemline on her coat, slimmer leggings, eye makeup, and small hair decs). Othwerise you have to wait for them to start talking. And Desna is a boy.
    • In the third season, there are twins Wei and Wing, both metalbending prodigies. Both of them have few visual cues (Wei parts his hair to the left, wears a bracelet on his left arm, and wears a rounded necklace and round belt buckle. Wing parts his hair to the right, wears a bracelet on his right arm, and wears a necklace that has a tapered point and a hexagonal belt buckle)
  • In Gargoyles, the Weird Sisters take on many forms, but in all of them, they are identical but for hair colors (black, white, blond.)
  • Woody Woodpecker's twin nephew and niece Knothead and Splinter can be told apart by Splinter wearing a bow and a skirt.
  • Chip and Skip, the Dung Beetle twins from Camp Lazlo, can be distinguished because Skip wears a sash with badges over his shirt, while Chip does not.
  • The Fairly OddParents: Wanda and her "identical-yet-somewhat-hotter" twin sister Blonda.
  • Total Drama: Pahkitew Island: Amy has a beauty mark under her left eye; Samey...er, Sammy, does not.

    Real Life 
  • Mary Kate Olsen tried this when she dyed her hair. Ironically the Olsen twins are technically fraternal. You'd never be able to guess it.
    • During their time as "Michelle" you couldn't tell them apart. Now it's a lot easier, even without the dye job, and while both of the twins continue to collaborate on their fashion and business ventures, only Mary Kate has continued acting as well, making her more visible as a solo presence than Ashley.
    • In their films Mary Kate typically played the Tomboy while Ashley played the Girly Girl - so the sisters were easily distinguished by what clothing they wore. The exception is Winning London where their roles were inverted.
  • Bill and Tom Kaulitz's... everything. From a young age, Bill cut his hair short and spiked it, Tom got dreads, then Bill got an eyebrow piercing, Tom got a lip piercing, Bill got a tongue piercing, Tom starting dressing 'gangsta', Bill started wearing make-up...
  • Twin comedians Randy and Jason Sklar of Cheap Seats fame: Jason wears glasses (and has a more receding hairline).
  • Canadian singers Tegan and Sara Quin typically have differing hairstyles and have different tattoos, and only make an effort to look alike for artistic reasons (such as the video they did with Tiesto "Feel It In My Bones").
  • The Turnley twins are award winning photojournalists, and identical twins who HATE being confused for one another. One decided to grow a goatee while the other remains clean-shaven, which helps.
  • Some schools actually require this for identical twins placed in the same class. The easiest way to do this is to designate colors for each child for some article of clothing—shoes, a bracelet, etc.
  • The Dahm Triplets (models and actresses) had tiny, barely noticeable dots tattooed so their parents could tell them apart when they were babies: Jacklyn has none, Nicole has one, and Ericka has two.
  • Cesar and Constantin Faucher were two French generals from the Revolutionary Wars who wore differently coloured flowers on their coats so that others may tell them apart. (To make the resemblance worse, they fought in the same units, were always promoted on the same day and were even wounded on the same battlefields. Also, they were executed together.)
  • Advice columnist Ann Landers had a nose job done so she would look less like her twin sister, Abigail Van Buren, aka Dear Abby.
  • The family and friends of identical twins—especially the parents—are usually able to tell the two apart by subtle cues that casual observers might miss, such as different laughs and speech patterns, or different clothing preferences even if the general style is the same.


Half-Identical TwinsTwin TropesImpersonating the Evil Twin
Iconic ItemRecognition TropesI Never Told You My Name
Hollywood ChameleonsImageSource/Animated FilmsInteresting Situation Duel

random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
75064
28