"That girl has my face!"The most famous show to feature a set of twins not named Mary-Kate and Ashley
(at least, until The Suite Life of Zack and Cody
came along), Sister Sister
features Tia and Tamera Mowry as Tia Landry and Tamera Campbell
, identical twins separated at birth and reunited 14 years later in a Detroit shopping mall. Their adoptive parents, Lisa (Jackee Harry of 227
fame) and Ray (Tim Reid, Venus Flytrap from WKRP
), decide that for the good of the kids they should move in together. Since Ray is a successful limousine entrepreneur and Lisa is a down-on-her-luck fashion designer, they naturally move into Ray's place for the sake of keeping the two girls together.
The girls themselves are, of course, two sides of the same coin
: Tia is a studious girl, somewhat shy and bookish. Tamera is a wild and crazy girl, prone to wild displays of emotion. Each one is quite the opposite of her adoptive parent: Tia under wacky Lisa, and Tamera under prudish Ray.
A frequent Drop-In Character
was Ray's next-door neighbor Roger Evans (actor/R&B singer Marques Houston), who of course had a mad crush on both girls, and wasn't afraid to show it. He was frequently told
, "Go home, Roger!" whenever someone was annoyed with him (which was practically all the time).
For the first four seasons, the girls experienced wacky hijinks and twin switches
galore. Starting in the fifth season, the show was re-tooled
to separate the girls more: Each got her own style, Tia stopped wearing a fake mole to look exactly identical to Tamera, etc. The girls also got boyfriends that season: Tia had Tyreke (RonReaco Lee), while Tamera took Jordan (Deon Richmond).
The show ran for six seasons, the first two on ABC
, the rest
on The WB
. The show lives on in perpetual reruns on ABC Family and BET
, and will be having it's 3rd rerun home on The Hub
in March 2014.
This show provides examples of:
- Actually That's My Assistant: "Child's Play": The girls hire an SAT tutor, and the man who knocks on their door is much older than they expected. He says he's just the district coordinator, and introduces them to T.J. Henderson...who's much younger than thay expected.
- All Work vs. All Play: Tia is all work; Tamera is all play. Their adoptive parents are reversed: Ray is all work, Lisa is all play.
- Alpha Bitch: Cruelly snobbish rich-girl Rhonda all throughout in season three, who was always around any time the plot called for the girls to have a rival. Her last appearance early season four reveals she had a freak growth spurt and now looks like a man in a wig (as skillfully played by a man in a wig).
- Always Identical Twins
- Back for the Finale: Roger
- Big Eater: Lisa by far.
- Bowdlerise: Reruns of the show seem to get put on networks that edit it as if it were The Sopranos or Jerry Springer. During its run on the Disney Channel, even if you'd never seen the original show, the edits were extremely obvious, often times stepping on lines (besides suggestive material, Disney's airings of Sister, Sister – which were also the versions seen on ABC Family, an odd situation considering that the Disney Channel sister network aired Boy Meets World reruns free of content edits, something that did not occur on Disney – even removed certain product plugs such as a season three episode that included a reference to rival Nickelodeon as well as a reference to a terrorist group accused of stealing a love statue Roger accidentally stole in "Field Trip" and a joke in which Tamera informs Tia how bad an idea saying "this is the bomb" on an airplane is in "It's My Party"). Up (which began carrying the show when it was still the Gospel Music Channel) also mutes quite a bit of what the channel considers "inappropriate" dialogue, as if it was ClusterFBombs, including small-time insults. "Shut up" is an oft-muted phrase for example, and Roger's innuendo-laden comeons are silenced. It's yet to be known if those changes are visible in The Hub's airing of the show.
- Averted with the show's airings in broadcast syndication, on BET/Centric and on the now-defunct Style Network.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: The girls often speak directly to the viewers providing recaps and describing events that take place off screen in the early seasons. It gets dropped in the later seasons.
- Butt Monkey: Ray quite often. Roger even more often.
- Catch Phrase: Tamera's "Awww, maaaan!" whenever things aren't going her way.
- Celebrity Star: Quite a few times: Lisa Leslie twice; quite a few musical groups, including Marques Houston's own group, Immature, and of course, the Olsen twins.
- Classically Trained Extra: Tamera's acting teacher in college, whose only acting credit seems to have been in a pizza place commercial.
- Clip Show
- Closer to Earth: A rare gender flipped example, with Ray being the more sensible one, and Lisa being more out there and reckless.
- Then, of course, there's Tia to Tamara, though as time goes on she gets more and more Not So Above It All moments.
- Gender flipped again in the last two seasons, where the girls' steady boyfriends, especially Tamera's boyfriend Jordan, tended to be the more levelheaded straight men to their misadventures.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Denise, one of the Token White girls, had traces of this. In her debut episode she freaks Tia and Tamera out with her borderline Stalker with a Crush behavior towards them, and in a later episode she makes a documentary about a day in the life of her feet.
- Credit Card Plot: "Mo' Credit, Mo' Problems"
- Crossover: With their little brother, Tahj Mowry's, show, Smart Guy.
- Demoted to Extra: Roger was seen far less often in Season 5. Marques Houston was part of development for a new show (which never got picked up), but he also took time off because of his mother being diagnosed with cancer.
- "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: During the final two seasons.
- Doom It Yourself: A running gag with Ray - every time he tries to build or fix something it goes horribly, horribly wrong.
Tamera (horrorstruck at the sight of Ray with an IKEA package): "What's going on dad? You're not gonna build something, are you?"
- Drop-In Character: Roger.
- Expository Theme Tune: "Sister Sister! Never knew how much I missed ya! Now that everybody knows, I ain't ever gonna let, you, go!"
- The Sixth season theme has Tia and Tamera embracing their individuality as well as each other.
- Fashion-Shop Fashion Show: Most notably in "Mo' Credit, Mo' Problems".
- The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Rares its ugly head from time to time, especially in later seasons.
- Happily Adopted: There are a couple of episodes where the girls try to find out about their biological parents, but there's never any doubt that they still love their adoptive parents.
- He Is All Grown Up: During the fourth season, Roger goes "from as if to all that" and even has Tia and Tamera fighting over him in the season premiere.
- Identical Twin ID Tag: Tamera's mole (though in early seasons, Tia was given a fake mole to play up the identical-ness).
- I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: The girls' brother, Tahj, appeared three times...
- Large Ham: Lisa.
- Mistaken For An Impostor: Roger claims to know the lead singer of Immature and can get them to play a school party. When he can't get the band, he impersonates Batman (the lead singer)...badly. Then the real Batman shows up (played by Marques Houston As Himself)...and everyone naturally thinks he's Roger.
- The Nineties
- Open Mouth, Insert Foot: Ray gets this fairly often, especially when trying to cheer up Lisa.
- Opinion Changing Dream: The episode "I Had A Dream" (1998) features one of the sisters ridiculing the deeds of her African-American ancestors and is reluctant to carry on with her own miserable life. In her dream she is visited by several historical Afro-American characters who all claim they want to give up and do something else. She convinces them to do otherwise and do the historical deed that they are famous for. When she wakes up she respects her ancestors.
- Parental Abandonment: The sisters' biological parents throughout the series. Season 6's "Father Day" explained the circumstances. Their bi-racial parents, Racelle and Matt, were unmarried and in different countries as part of their careers. They intended to get married upon their reunion, but Racelle died before then. Since they weren't married and Matt was white, he couldn't prove he was the girls' father and wasn't allowed near them.
- Phrase Catcher: "Go home, Roger!"
- Playing Gertrude: Ray's father, Jimmy "Soupy" Campbell, is played by Sherman Helmsley; who was only 6 years older than Tim Reid (who played Ray).
- Platonic Life Partners: Lisa and Ray. They clash A LOT, but they're (usually) good at working together to raise their daughters and eventually form a friendship.
- Polar Opposite Twins: Of course, it's even highlighted in the theme song. Tia is the smart one; Tamera's the party girl. Each girl is the opposite of the parent that raised her: Tia by Lisa, Tamera by Ray.
- Put on a Bus: Roger at the end of Season 5 following The Twins Graduation.
- However, He returned for the series finale
- Promoted to Opening Titles: Roger in Season 2, Tyreke and Jordan in Season 6.
- Right Through the Wall: Lisa's mother doesn't approve of her living with Ray while they're not married, so she lies and says they are - then fakes sex noises at the wall when she stays with them, so she believes they really are newlyweds.
- Separated at Birth: In the series premiere we get a small bit of dialogue from Ray and Lisa that the girls were purposely separated by their orphanage. It was only pure luck that they managed to find each other.
- Skyward Scream: Ray's trademark "Tameraaaaaaaa!"
- Suck E. Cheese's: In the form of Buck E. Duck.
- Token White: One a season.
- Twin Switch: The girls know how to exploit their identical looks — though the switches are much less common than you might think, being most frequent in the earliest episodes. It's still common enough to get Lampshaded on occasion in the third season:
Tamera: Aaah, wait a minute, Tia! You've got that 'you be me' look in your eye!
- One Teacher School: It seemed that the only faculty member was Fred Willard unless the plot called for another teacher.
- Uptown Girl: Tyreke, a mechanic who had had trouble with the law in the past, starts going out with Tia in the fifth season and goes though a little bit of this in his first few appearances (though it's all from Tia's point of view, of course).
- Will Not Tell a Lie: Tamera makes this vow in a fifth-season episode. When she catches Ray's girlfriend cheating on him, Ray doesn't believe her at first...
- Will They or Won't They?: Ray and Lisa. They eventually dated each other in Season 4, but it didn't last long.
- Wrench Wench: Tia briefly becomes one in one episode (and is extremely good at it), when she gets a crush on a boy who is in an auto shop class.
- Your Cheating Heart: Ray's 5th season squeeze Vivica is caught cheating on him by Tamera. Unlike most female-caught-cheating plots, it does not end well for Vivica.
- In one episode, Roger asks both girls.
- You Look Familiar: Tia and Tamera's real life brother appeared as three different one-episode characters.
- You Would Make a Great Model: Occurs in one episode when one of the girls goes to a "photographer's" apartment for a shoot. Luckily, the girls' parents arrive in time to save her.
- Younger Than He Looks: Tamera accepts a party invitation from a cute boy she meets on the bus, then discovers it's his 12th birthday party.