40 Weird Things About 'The Parent Trap' I Only Noticed as an Adult | 22 Words

First things first: this article is about the Lindsay Lohan version of The Parent Trap. I know, I know, some Parent Trap purists out there will be disappointed that I would waste an entire article talking about a remake and not the original. But I will admit this right away: I'm a millennial.

I've never seen the original Parent Trap from 1961 because it's one of those movies our parents loved as kids and tried to make us watch but we all rejected because the colors were weird and all the kids' had haircuts that looked like they should be on an adult. (This is true about every child's haircut from before 1980, please don't argue with me.) I assume this is how my future children will feel when I try to force them to watch this version of The Parent Trap and they are too busy watching YouTube videos of other children opening boxes of toys or whatever. It's just how life works.

I watched the 1998 version of The Parent Trap, in all its late 90s glory (hello scrunchies and hemp necklaces!) and I had a lot of thoughts. So go dig out your old VHS copy, find someone who still has a VCR, and follow along. Or just read it. But whatever you do, don't forget to stock up on Oreos and peanut butter.

 

I think it's really important we get this out of the way first: the custody agreement in this movie is insane.

Nick Parker and Elizabeth James get married. They have twin identical red-headed daughters, who they name Hallie and Annie. Then they get a divorce. But instead of setting up a normal custody agreement they decide to instead give custody of one daughter to each parent and then, this is the most insane part: AGREE TO NEVER SEE THE OTHER CHILD AGAIN.

I just want that to sink in for a second.

This is a Disney movie about a mother and father who, because they don't like each other anymore, decide the best solution is to give up one of their own children for the rest of their lives.

As far as we know, they have no plan to ever reunite with their own child.

And to make matters even worse, they move to different continents and decide to just never mention to either girl that she has an identical twin.

What judge granted this custody agreement?

Are they still working?! How many families have they been like, "Yeah, no big deal, just never, ever see your kid again and move to London/start a vineyard in Napa? As long as you never speak to them or mention their other parent, they probably will be perfectly fine and well-adjusted."

The worst part is that their parents are wealthy.

It's not like they didn't have the means to send the girls back and forth on a trans-Atlantic flight. Both families were rich as hell. Hallie had a horse. Annie had her own butler. But for the purposes of this article not going completely off the rails, we are going to suspend our disbelief, ok? Keep reading.

So we are just pretending this is a totally normal, if not a little wacky, custody agreement.

Hallie and Annie can deal with their internalized abandonment issues with their respective parent later in therapy.

The movie starts at Summer camp.

Hallie shows up in a completely reasonable manner, on a bus or something. Annie shows up with her butler in a goddamn limo wearing little baby heels and a tweed jacket and skirt set.

At first, you're like "Who is this brat?"

But then she does a cool as hell secret handshake with her butler and involves a butt bump and you're like, "Ok, she's chill." But seriously, heels? At summer camp?

Then her butler, Martin, gets back in the limo and is like, "Airport, please."

I'm sorry, did the butler fly all the way to the East Coast of America from England and then just get straight back on a plane and fly back? He didn't even get a few days to sightsee?

At camp, the girls immediately start a rivalry after Annie beats Hallie in a fencing match.

Their masks are taken off and it's revealed: they look exactly alike! But the girls totally deny it. Honestly, I'm with them. If I saw my identical twin, I probably wouldn't recognize her. I sometimes don't even recognize myself in photographs. I have to squint really hard and be like, "Wait that's me? With that weird hair and terrible posture?" So like, I get it. For more thoughts about the double Lindsay Lohan thing, turn to the next page.

At this point when I was a kid, I was like "Wow! Another set of famous identical twins to be obsessed with!"

I was a child of the 90s so I was contractually obligated to be obsessed with Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, I assume by a binding legal document all girls born between 1985-1995 were required to sign at birth so obviously a new set of famous twins was a huge source of excitement. But it turned out it was the same actress playing Hallie and Annie (Lindsay Lohan) which was a huge disappointment.

How weird do you think it is for Lindsay Lohan to watch this movie?

Can you imagine watching yourself hanging out with yourself? I'm getting weirded out just thinking about it.

Anyway, so the girls meet, they pull a series of pranks on each other that make it very clear there is little to no adult supervision at this camp.

Hallie covers an entire cabin in honey, chocolate sauce, and shaving cream, which she presumably stole from the mess hall? Annie somehow puts several beds on a roof. The girls are both sent to the "Isolation Cabin" as punishment.

I have some concerns with the Isolation Cabin.

After Annie and Hallie get in trouble, the entire camp marches them to the Isolation Cabin (was that the camp activity for the day??), a two-person cabin set away from the rest of camp on a hill where they are forced to now live.

Are parents aware of the Isolation Cabin when they send their kids to this camp?

Because I feel like they are obviously paying good money for their kids to go to this camp that has top of the line fencing equipment and a chocolate syrup budget beyond all human comprehension, wouldn't they be mad if they found out their kids were forced to live alone, unsupervised in a cabin in the woods? Still with me? Turn that page!

And what exactly is the Isolation Cabin and what are the rules there?

How far away from the rest of camp is it? Why is there no adult supervision? Are they allowed to participate in regular camp activities or is it camp jail?

They also have to sit at an isolation table in the mess hall, too, which seems extreme.

Seriously, who is running this camp? Are they friends with the judge that granted the Parker-James custody agreement?

But while in isolation, the girls make a discovery: they have the same birthday, the same locket, and the same tattered photograph of their absent parent.

It turns out they are identical twins! This scene made me sob alone in my apartment and I don't know why. I guess maybe it was because we all held out a secret hope that we'd find our long-lost identical twin at summer camp because somewhere deep inside us there is a feeling that we are not quite whole and longing to find someone who truly completes us. Either that or I was about to get my period, which might also explain why I can't stop thinking about Oreos and peanut butter.

The girls decide to switch places to meet their other parent.

It's a risky plan for a lot of reasons but I've thought a lot about it and I think the riskiest part of the plan was actually getting out of camp. Their parents don't expect the twins to have met each other, but everyone at camp knows they did and they've spent all summer with them. They know which girl is which. If you've ever known identical twins you know that once you've gotten to know them, it's actually pretty easy to tell them apart, so getting on the bus/hired limo as each other would have been risky. Then again, this is a camp with little to no adult supervision that accidentally let a boy into an all-girls camp and then let him stay all summer so I'm going to go ahead and say they DGAF who is getting in which limo.

Also, speaking of adults at camp, have you ever noticed who their camp counselor is?

Maggie Wheeler who also played Janice on Friends. It turns out that's not her real voice. Turn the page to find out what other famous person has a small role in this movie.

There is one boy who gets stuck at the all-girls' camp, did you know that actor is Lindsay Lohan's real-life brother?

Yup, that's Lindsay's brother Mike Lohan. He doesn't act anymore.

The movie then goes into arguably one of the best montages of all time.

The girls teach each other about their lives in a great montage. I am a sucker for montages. Dialog? Plot points? Character development? Who needs them. Give me a good montage with kicky song over actual scenes any day.

Then comes the infamous ear-piercing scene.

Hallie has pierced ears but Annie doesn't so Hallie has to pierce Annie's ears!!!!!!!!! This scene truly terrified me as a kid. I think if you ask any woman aged 25-35 what one would do with an apple, a needle, and a piece of ice they would immediately say "pierce Annie James' ears" and then noticeably cringe because it's become burned into our brains.

They teach each other all the important parts of their lives, but I felt like there was one thing they skipped.

They never explain how Hallie learned a British accent and Annie learned an American one. It seems like that would be arguably the most important factor of the switch. If Annie came home with an American accent it would be easy enough to say she just lost it while at American camp, but how would they explain Hallie going to summer camp and gaining a mysterious British accent? This seems like it should be a plot point since, as far as we know, neither girl is a trained accent coach.

The girls pull off the switch, though.

Hallie goes to London and Annie and Annie goes to California as Hallie. I was slightly disturbed that even though Annie's mom is home when Annie returns from eight weeks at summer camp, she send the butler to pick her up at the airport. She's not even working! Get it together, Elizabeth. You're probably going to disagree with some of my thoughts on the next page, but *deep breath*, here it goes.

When Annie/Hallie gets to California, she finds out her dad, in the eight weeks she's been gone, has met and proposed to his publicist, a very blonde woman named Meredith.

When I watched this movie as a kid, I was like, "Wow Meredith is a grown ass lady!" But she's actually only twenty-six. TWENTY-SIX! When I was twenty-six, let me tell you, I did not wear tailored pinstripe dresses and wide-brimmed hats and I definitely wasn't an accomplished publicist. I wasn't an accomplished anything except a person who could eat more cheese than anyone else in the room. Meredith can get it.

Maybe this is an unpopular opinion, but this time around, I didn't think Meredith was that bad?

Ok, not saying Meredith isn't a bad person because later in the movie it becomes clear she hates Annie and Hallie. But hear me out. When Hallie/Annie firsts meets her, she's super rude to her because she thinks Meredith only wants her dad for his money.

But there's actually no indication of that.

Meredith is already pretty successful in her own right. And sure, Nick has money, but he's also super hot, owns a vineyard, and has a golden retriever. It's perfectly reasonable that she just likes him. He's a catch! How is she the first woman to try and marry him? I’m considering trying to marry him and he doesn't even exist.

Plus, her biggest threat toward Hallie and Annie is that she's going to ship them off to Switzerland.

Boarding school in Switzerland actually sounds great, though? Switzerland is a beautiful country full of cheese and chocolate. Sign me up.

So anyway, the girls go into crisis mode and realize they have to get their parents together before Nick marries Meredith.

The wedding, by the way, is happening in two weeks. Two weeks is not long enough to plan what dish you're bringing to a potluck, much less an entire wedding, but okay. And where are they planning on having this extremely swift wedding? Read on.

They are planning on having the wedding at a fancy hotel, which is weird, right?

Not at, I don't know, maybe the large scenic vineyard Nick owns that would be the perfect spot for a wedding?

Annie/Hallie and Elizabeth fly to California and Nick sees Elizabeth for the first time in ten years and does the kind of double-take most people only dream about.

This kind of absolute shock and awe when an ex finally sees you again and realizes how breathtakingly beautiful you are now and how stupid he was for leaving you is what post-break-up dreams are made of. It's the goal. And Elizabeth pulls it off. *Slow clap*

The girls get the parents together, but Nick still plans on marrying Meredith.

Again, maybe just let him marry her and you two can go chill in Switzerland together?

But of course, they can't let that happen, so instead the girls decide to terrorize Meredith on a camping trip.

They play some pretty mean but mostly harmless pranks on her. They put rocks in her backpack, a lizard on her head, give her sugar water instead of insect repellant. But then things get serious.

They actually drag her air mattress into the lake while she is sleeping.

She could have actually drowned? I know you don't like the woman but probably murdering her isn't the best way to get your dad to be like, "Well shucks, girls, I guess I'll marry your mom now that my fiance is dead." Sorry, just one more thing about Meredith on the next page...

Where can I get Meredith's hiking outfit?

She wears a super cute crop top-athletic pants combo that is completely impractical for the woods but I very much want.

But Meredith shows her true colors when she asks Nick to choose between her and the girls.

In her defense, Nick has already once in his life been asked to give up Annie and he readily went along with it, so she may have thought she had a chance. But he chooses the girls. Good job, Nick. This time.

I haven't even mentioned this yet, but meanwhile, Annie's butler Martin and Hallie's nanny Chessie are falling in love because Chessie saw Martin in a Speedo.

It's actually the best love story in the movie.

So, of course, in the end the girls get their parents to at least finally agree on a reasonable custody arrangement.

They're going to fly back and forth for holidays and summers, something that seems like they could have easily worked out 11 years ago.

But, in the end, Hallie and Nick fly to London and surprise Annie and Elizabeth and the two parents decide to make a go of it after all.

They get remarried, Chessie and Martin get engaged so nobody even has to get a new butler. It's a very happy ending. This is a great movie. If you haven't watched it since you were a kid, it definitely holds up. Share this post with your identical twin! Or, your friends who also love The Parent Trap if you don't happen to have an identical twin or the film technology to make it appear you yourself are a pair of identical twins.