When it comes to TV, you have Evil Twins and then you have “Evil Twins.” Those are air quotes that I have provided–completely free of charge, despite their costing me an arm and leg–in the form of actual written quotes. Silly evil twins, people, that’s what we’re here to discuss. And by discuss, I mean list and examine. The Evil Twin trope goes way back…at least as far back to the Starship Enterprise and the goofy looking Mr. Spock with the Van Dyke express on his face. But “Evil Twins” go back pretty far too. They may be silly, but they are evil. And isn’t that being a twin is about? On TV, I mean.
WKRP in Cincinnati
Venus Flytrap dressed off the rack just next to where the pimps on “Starsky and Hutch” got their clothing. It seems that it would be easy enough for cops to confuse Venus Flytrap the popular late night DJ with your typical black criminal. I mean, jeez, if the NYPD can confuse a movie star buying a $1,000 watch in Macy’s with a low-life drug dealer, well, it should come as little surprise that an “Evil Twin” who looks exactly like Venus Flytrap should be getting away with criminal behavior while the police make the mistake of arrested the real thing.
I Dream of Jeannie
The “Evil Twin” in the case of “I Dream of Jeannie” really is an evil twin. She is Jeannie’s sister and, strangely, she is also named Jeannie. Those all good reasons why Jeannie/Jeannie is an example of “Evil Twins” rather than Evil Twins. But I’ve got an even better reason than all that. Even though the Dark Jeannie dresses in green rather than pink, it’s very difficult to tell the difference between her and the supposedly good Jeannie. The good Jeannie cares only for herself and constantly gets her Master, Major Nelson, into all heaping big kinds of big bad trouble due to her jealousy and self-centered motives. So, really, in a sense, good Jeannie may well be the “Evil Twin” here.
The distance between Evil Twin and “Evil Twin” is made even greater on “The Simpsons” by virtue of the “Evil Twin” of Bart only existing in the non-canonical world of the Treehouse of Horror Halloween episodes. Surely if you are a Simpsons fan you remember quite well Hugo. He was too crazy for Boys Town and too much of a boy for Crazy Town. Separate at birth–but not with a paper cutter as you might be led to temporarily think–Hugo was kept hidden in the attic and fed a surprisingly nutritious diet of fish heads. Turns out that Bart was the “Evil Twin” after all, but, like he observes, who could really be surprised by that revelation?
Starsky and Hutch
Perhaps the single greatest episode of a cop drama to ever feature “Evil Twins” as opposed to Evil Twins took place on a celebrated episode of “Starsky and Hutch.” We’re not talking a situation like “Gilligan’s Island” where the odds of lookalikes meeting each other defy all consideration to the point of your head exploding. “Starsky and Hutch” meeting up with their “Evil Twins” was not a overcoming ridiculous odds. What makes this a terrific case of “Evil Twins” is that both the Starsky twin and the Hutch twins are in the service of a particularly evil attorney who disguises two guys as the hero cops in an attempt to dirty them up as much as, well, your typical real life cop.