The twins exchange

You surely know what this article is about as we’ve seen this cliché millions of times. Two siblings (sometimes they’re not even family) who look the same, change roles and pretend to be the other; having different reasons in each story… We’ve got some examples of it so far, but I think we’ll keep making the list bigger because it won’t stop, screenwriters just love the twins exchange.

1) The Prince and the Pauper

If Mark Twain was alive he would be billionaire by now thanks to plagiarism trials. We could say he’s the “father” of this cliché, since he was the first to make a ficticious story about the twins exchange. In his magnificient book The Prince and the Pauper (1881), a poor boy who lives with his abusive father in London comes across the prince, who’s his same age and looks exactly like him. There’s an other similarity between them: they’re both tired of their lives and would do whatever it takes to be in the other’s place, so they decide to change clothes and pretend to be a different person for a while.

2) The Parent Trap

This time we’re talking about real twins. Annie and Hallie (both played by Lindsay Lohan) are sisters who were separated when their parents got divorced, and raised in different cities on the opposite sides of the world: London and California. They didn’t know about each other’s existance until they met by chance in a summer camp. Soon they discover the truth and decide to exchange places, getting to know completely new worlds.

3) Switching Goals

In Switching Goals, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen embode the roles of two teenage twins who play soccer. One of them (Sam) is great at it, but the other (Emma) is only good at fashion and dating. Their father is one of the league’s coaches and picks Emma for his  team, while Sam is chosen to play in another one. They both prefer to be in the other’s team, so they switch places and get what they want.

4) Se Dice Amor

As if this Argentinian soup-opera wasn’t bad enough, the twins exchange was added to the formula. After hundreds of problems that the main characters Florencia and Juan had to face, the bad people carry out an evil plan and replace the real Florencia to a fake one. They just come across a woman who has her same appearence, and Juan doesn’t realise so.

5) Los Exitosos Pell$ (The Succesful Mr. and Mrs. Pell$)

Another Argentinian soup-opera; which I actually liked at the beginning, but eventually hated. Sol and Martín Pells are married and present the news on television, although the marriage is only for the audience since Martín is gay. He has an accident and goes into coma. Without him, the TV program will lose its popularity, but the producers find his “twin” Gonzalo and pay him to be the substitute.

6) Jake & Blake

Yeah, the twins exchange could be a cliché even if we only counted Argentina. In Disney’s series Jake and Blake (made in Argentina, but entirely in English to be release in the US), two twins are separated at birth and meet each other when they’re teenagers. Jake is quite a nerdy student, while Blake is a pop sensation. They want to experience the other’s life so they decide to switch roles.

7) Kleinruppin Forever

Even Germany didn’t get round the twins exchange as you can see in the German movie “Kleinruppin Forever” where the twins Tim and Ronny got separated after their parents died. Tim lives in the Federal Republic of Germany and Ronny in the German Democratic Republic and they get to know each other on Tim’s Berlin trip and do the twins exchange; more or less by choice.



8 ) The Simpsons

Bart Simpson gets his chance to parody Mark Twain in the third chapter (Double, Double, Boy in Trouble) of the series’ twentieth season. While ranting and raving about his family, Bart comes upon a rich boy called Simon Woosterfield, who looks (wait for it…) exactly like him! As he also says to hate his family, they switch homes and enjoy the other’s life. Not for long, however.



9) Friends

In episode #7 (The One With The Two Parts) of the first season of Friends, Joey continues dating Phoebe’s twin sister Ursula. Remember these sisters are the same physically, but just the opposite when talking about their personalities. While Phoebe is cheerful and gentle, Ursula is the most evil person in the world and doesn’t care about other people’s feelings at all. Anyway, Joey gets really excited about his relationship with Ursula, but she’s tired of it and decides to dump him. And she doesn’t even plan to tell him about it. This is when Phoebe pretends to be Ursula, so she can split up with Joey in a friendly way.


Well, that’s it for now. Have you seen this cliché anywhere else? If you have, don’t hesitate to write a comment below! We’ll add new examples of the twins exchange with your help 🙂


5 Responses to The twins exchange

  1. Pingback: What a cliché! – The twins exchange | Glutton for books, movies & series

  2. Pingback: What a cliché! – The twins exchange (updated!) | Glutton for books, movies & series

  3. Oooh oooh, how about Amanda Bynes’ She’s the Man (which is a loose adaptation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Knight (although they didn’t exactly “exchange” identities because her brother doesn’t know that she is using his personality. Haha!)

    This is such a great post! I’m going to watch out for cliches like this!

    • fictionworms says:

      Oh yeah you’re right! I know that movie! (though I never watched the whole of it, just the first part). I’ll added to the list later, thanks 🙂

      I’ve always paid attention to similarities between movies, series and books so I really love writing articles in this section 😀 I guess you too, because you kind of did the same thing as me in your blog!

  4. Pingback: Fall TV Guide: 10 New Shows, 3 New Seasons | Glutton for books, movies & series

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