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RATED: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 430 minutes
They’re boring, but there are two of them!
Tia Mowry, Tamera Mowry, Jackée Harry, Tim Reid, Marques Houston and a very special guest appearance by the late Brittany Murphy, back when she was still the chubby/beautiful angel of my dreams.
Tia Landry and Tamera Campbell (Tia and Tamera Lowry, respectively) are identical twins separated at birth. When they find each other in a mall, they convince their adoptive parents, Lisa and Ray, (Jackée Harry and Tim Reid, respectively) that this group must somehow form a family and that’s the way they all became syndicated.
By 1994, the Olsen Twins had become identical cash cows, and ABC was desperate to duplicate that Full House action. Enter Tia and Tamera Lowry, twin child actresses who landed themselves a blandcom that took advantage of the fact that if two people who look alike say something at the same time, it’s comedic gold. Always. Every goddamn time. It may be unfair to call out this type of sitcom for being simple and formulaic, but 80% all jokes made in any given episode of Sister, Sister falls under the following:
- Lisa is horny.
- Ray is dorky
- Their next-door neighbor Roger is horny/dorky
The other 20% is dedicated to terrible puns and the twins saying something at the same time.
But it’s not formula that sinks sitcoms. Seinfeld had a formula of sorts. What sinks this series is how boring and bland it’s leads are. Tia and Tamera are supposedly polar opposites, one a studious square and the other a slacker party animal, but I was hardly ever able to tell the two apart. They come across more as two separate organisms that are connected to a hive mind called “focus tested teenager”.
The only joy that can be found in this series is in it’s two veteran actors, Tim Reid and Jackée Harry. Despite being stuck with shallow and one-dimensional characters, Tim and Jackée are terrific performers and are often able to salvage some kind of humor out of Sister, Sister’s lackluster writing. And the producers must have realized this, because as the season progresses more and more of the episodes are centered on their storylines, relegating the twins to greek chorus status. Sort of like how The Simpsons shifted the focus from Bart to Homer.
ABC cancelled the series after this season, only to have WB, who could smell black sitcoms like sharks smell blood in water, pick it up and air it for another 5 seasons. If I recall correctly, the series took a significant upturn in quality from that point, fully fleshing out the twins’ characters.
The packaging is pretty standard for this type of sitcom, the pink colors and flowers sure to appeal to the ‘tween audiences it’s shooting for. The sound and picture quality are nothing special, except for the episode It’s A Love Thang, which won an Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Direction (Electronic) For A Comedy Series. That episode is like Suspiria up in this bitch, apparently. There are no special features to be found on the discs, per se, but when my friends looked through my DVD collection and saw Sister, Sister: Season Two, they gave me a confused look that was equal parts respect and disgust. I have to say, it felt like a pretty special feature to me.