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"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.
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).
- Actor Allusion: Alexis Fields' character making light of the fact that she is Kim "Tootie" Fields' younger sister.
- In one episode Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell guest star: Kenan plays a schemer who schmoozes a lot, while Kel plays his partner in crime who's an enormous ham. They're basically reprising their roles from Kenan and Kel, with the exception that their characters here are antagonists.
- 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.
- 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: The show seems 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. A current network that runs it also mutes much dialog, as if it was ClusterFBombs, including small time insults. "Shut up" is a muted phrase for example.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: The girls often speak directly to the viewers providing recaps and describing events that take place off screen.
- Butt Monkey: Ray quite often.
- 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.
- 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.
- Credit Card Plot: "Mo' Credit, Mo' Problems"
- The Danza
- 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.
- Different As Night and Day: 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.
- Do-It-Yourself Theme Tune: During the final two seasons.
- 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 Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry
- Happily Adopted
- 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.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Kenan and Kel annoy the twins.
- You could make a book of this with all the friends they went through, from Brittany Murphy to Gabrielle Union.
- I Want You to Meet An Old Friend of Mine: The girls' brother, Tahj, appeared three times...
- 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.
- 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!"
- 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.
- Real Life Relative: Well, who do you think?
- 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.
- Technology Marches On: One episode featured the twins getting excited over getting their own separate phone line for their room, as it meant they could call whoever they wanted and have their own answering machine message. Try explaining the importance of that to the generation that has cell phones.
- Similarly, cell phones would've made the problem in "Mo' Credit, Mo' Problems" a heck of a lot easier...and safer.
- Token White: One a season.
- Twin Switch: Every other episode
- One Teacher School: It seemed that the only faculty member was Fred Willard unless the plot called for another teacher.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.