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Things In Sister, Sister You Missed As A Kid

The 1990s were a formidable time to be a kid or teenager as pop culture revolved around the demographic. Everything from commercials to magazines to movies was all about capturing youth culture during the 20th century's last decade. However, nothing personified and pushed youth culture more than the television shows of the era. The decades spawned numerous teen TV classics like "Dawson's Creek" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," but teen sitcoms were the main attraction. There was "Blossom," "Boys Meets World," "Sabrina the Teenage Witch," "Moesha," "Saved by the Bell," and of course, "Sister, Sister."

"Sister, Sister" is a rarity amongst the sitcom crop as long-lost twins Tia Landry (Tia Mowry) and Tamera Campbell (Tamera Mowry) end up living under one roof with their less-than-enthused adoptive parents. Watching the sisters' weekly hijinks has made "Sister, Sister" an essential part of multiple generations' childhoods, especially after it premiered on Netflix. With so many young fans who've grown up on the iconic theme song, those now-adult fans may find there's more to "Sister, Sister" than they remember. Here are some things audiences may have missed during their youth.

Ray Campbell is a classist Republican

Ray Campbell (Tim Reid) is the successful owner of a limousine service living in his McMansion with his daughter Tamera. Going from a rough background to an upper-middle-class lifestyle turns Campbell into a judgmental Republican in the series. The moment that personifies this the best is the pilot episode, appropriately titled "The Meeting."

After the girls discover each other at the mall, the Campbells go to Lisa and Tamera's small apartment in downtown Detroit. While looking around, Ray displays this self-righteous attitude as he makes snide comments about Lisa's furnishings, the apartment's size, and the safety of her majority Black neighborhood. Of course, this gets his and Lisa's relationship off on the wrong foot. But things eventually work out with everyone living under one roof.

His conservative ideologies are hinted at during earlier seasons, but they are on full display during Season 6 episodes "We Are Family" and "Bum Rap." Running for political office shows his take on serious issues, but the latter sees him at odds with Tamera over a rap concert, falling under the trope of "rap is evil." At least Ray's heart is in the right place as an overprotective dad.

The Mowery twins were playing each other

The biggest draw for the teen sitcom is the odd-couple dynamic between Tamera Campbell and Tia Landry. Tia is the studious and serious twin, while Tamera plays the fun and silly one. Tamera is always rebelling and moving to the beat of her drum. On the opposite side, Tia is always pragmatic and cautious about everything, even if she does give into Tamera's ideas from time to time. 

But in reality, the identical twins are playing each other in the series. On her YouTube channel, Tamera Mowry-Housley reveals she and her sister got to choose their personalities for the show and decided to play their twin. According to Buzzfeed, Tia Mowry-Hardrict elaborates further by mentioning her twin sister was a brainiac, and it took her longer to catch on. Playing each other proves not only what amazing actresses the twins are, but it also gives the show an edge by having Tia and Tamera play opposites.

Their living arrangement is odd

Of course, viewers only get to see Lisa and Tamera's downtown Detroit apartment in "The Meeting" before moving into Ray and Tamera's residence. While it is cute as a premise, looking back, having four strangers living under the same roof is a little jarring.

The personality clash between the parents alone should've kept this from happening. Lisa is a fun-loving and outgoing single mom trying to supply the best life for her daughter. Ray is a wealthy widower filled with snarky remarks and judgmental ways. It becomes clear throughout the series they aren't compatible as roommates. Living at Ray's is a little restrictive at times, but they put their feelings aside for the twins' sake.

That isn't to say Ray's home couldn't accommodate two adults and two teenage girls. Ray and Lisa have their rooms, while Tia and Tamera share a large bedroom with a full bathroom. The twins eventually get separate rooms after experiencing growing pains in the Season 5 episode "A Separate Peace." However, the Season 6 premiere "Home Sweet Dorm" centers around a college admissions snafu that forces them to turn Lisa's above-the-garage design studio into their new room. That house had rooms upon rooms to spare.

Roger Evans is a borderline stalker

Watching "Sister, Sister" paints Roger Evans as the adorable yet annoying younger boy-next-door who pines for the twins daily. He can gain some sympathy as viewers could relate to having an unrequited crush on not only one but two girls. Everything may not have been as innocent-looking back now.

Starting with "The Meeting," Roger shows stalker-like behavior as his obsession with Tamera extends to Tia. It seems adorable and annoying at first before things start to get creepy. He constantly shows up unannounced and spies on the twins, especially during their most intimate moments. Sometimes, it borders on being possessive over two girls who aren't his girlfriends. The Season 3 episode "The Break-Up" personifies the scary behavior as he manipulates the sisters into fighting over him through a subliminal tape.

Thankfully, he matures around Season 4, easing up on his obsession and becoming a friend. In a weird twist, the Season 4 opener "When a Man Loves Two Women" sees him dating both girls (and Roosevelt High's entire female student body) for a brief time.

The show's timeline is inconsistent and flawed

One thing 90s sitcoms are known for is their messy histories and timelines that throw everything into question. Unfortunately, 'Sister, Sister" isn't immune from this problem. The series' penultimate episode, "The Road Less Traveled," spotlights the flawed timeline. Lisa mentions to Tia that Tamera made it 12 years without her as she contemplates taking a WNBA internship. 

That tidbit makes the timeline span across six years, but it doesn't make sense as the twins are 19 at the time. They only met each other when they were 15-year-old first-year high school students. They turn 16 in the Season 1 episode "The Birthday" but don't have their 17th birthday until Season 5's "It's My Party." That means the girls are freshmen in Seasons 1 and 2, sophomores in Seasons 2 and 3, and juniors in Seasons 4.

The timeline doesn't officially catch up until the fifth season, when they graduate from high school. By Season 6, the sisters are college freshmen as viewers watch them have the full-blown 90s college experience. It just doesn't make any sense.

There are a lot of adult humor and innuendo

"Sister, Sister" is a show geared toward young audiences but can be watched by the entire family. With this in mind, there are adult situations, jokes, and innuendos that went over young viewers' heads but certainly registered with the parents watching it.

With Lisa's dating life on full display, each new beau brings a new layer of spiciness to the series. The best example of this is her relationship with Terrance during the second and third seasons. As Terrance is a grocery store manager, there are some instances of sexual food innuendos shared between the two lovers.

Another example is Lisa and Ray's relationship. As total opposites, Lisa often makes inappropriate jokes about Ray's "ego" whenever he gets snarky, judgmental, or defeated. The Season 1 episode "Frist Dates" personifies this the best as Lisa accidentally catches a naked Ray in the shower. This moment allows her to compliment him on what she did (or didn't) see. The Season 2 episode "Mothers and other Strangers" saw the odd couple faking dirty talk after Lisa tells her mom the two strangers are married. Lisa proves she is a modern woman with wants and needs outside of being a mom.

The show isn't afraid to fat-shame female characters

One significant trope of the 1990s sitcoms is focusing on body image and weight, especially when it comes to female characters. Unfortunately, "Sister, Sister" is no exception to the rule. As a show focused on teenage girls, looks and image are bound to come up from time to time. Tia and Tamera experience this issue on more than one occasion. In a moment of misplaced comfort, Lisa tries reassuring the girls about their weight by telling them to stand next to a plus-sized woman, obviously not the best parental advice moment.

But Lisa herself hasn't been immune to fat-shaming as many episodes feature Lisa either constantly snacking or gorging on large meals. This led to countless jokes at her expense as a curvy woman. The commenters ranged from her family to her current boyfriends to her friends. As a snappy comeback, Ray would often hit the single mom in either her waistband or her age.

Many Hollywood stars were Tia and Tamera's friends and rivals before making it big

Like many 1990s sitcoms, a cavalcade of up-and-coming actors interacts with the twins as rivals or friends during the six-season run of "Sister, Sister." Tia and Tamera's most notable friend is the quirky Sarah, played by the late Brittany Murphy. She appeared in several episodes during the first two seasons before disappearing in Season 3 as she was filming her breakthrough role Tai in "Clueless." 'Queen Sugar" and "Pretty Little Liars" star Bianca Lawson stars as the twins' famous girl rival Rhonda for the first three seasons before the character disappeared after the Season 4 opener. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" star Scott Monroe appears as the sisters' dim-witted male friend Steve during Season 3.

In later seasons, Gabrielle Union joins Tia and Tamera's friends as Shawn before scoring roles in teen comedy classics like "She's All That" and "Bring It On." Long before playing Dr. Martin on "Lucifer," Rachael Harris plays snarky upperclassman Simone Flosser during the final season. While starring in 1990s Nickelodeon staples "Kenan & Kel" and "The Secret World of Alex Mack," Alexis Fields plays the twins' best friend Diavian Johnson for the final two seasons.

Some of Hollywood's beloved male stars play the twins' crushes and boyfriends

Along with friends and rivals for Tia and Tamera, several up-and-coming and well-known actors play love interests during their high school and college. The most notable beaus the sisters on the series are their high school/college boyfriends Jordan Bennett and Tyreke Scott, played by Deon Richmond and RonReaco Lee, respectively. They go from being recurring characters in Season 5 before being elevated to leading roles in Season 6. Richmond was years removed from playing Kenny (aka Bud) on another classic sitcom, "The Cosby Show." Lee has risen to prominence within the last decade with roles in "Survivor's Remorse," "The First Wives Club," and "Queens."

Earlier love interests for the twins weren't bad either. Tia had crushes on or shared feelings with 'The Steve Harvey Show's" Merlin Santana, "Star Trek: Discovery's" Wilson Cruz, and "What I Like About You's" Wesley Jonathan. Tia didn't do too bad with "7th Heaven's" Barry Watson, "The Mighty Duck's" Brandon Adams, "The Chi's" Jason Weaver, and a young Orlando Brown (pre-"That's So Raven").

The age difference between the twins and their love interests are questionable

Of course, the twins have their pick of top-shelf rising male stars during the series run. However, one recurring theme that may have passed viewers is the drastic age differences between them and their love interests. "Sister, Sister" isn't the only show to deal with this unsettling trope. Unfortunately, the show oftentimes featured guys significantly older than Tia and Tamera as their love interests. Their crushes or love interests are either Roosevelt High upperclassmen, older co-workers, or overzealous college guys. 

Tia and Tyreke's relationship exemplifies this trend. As cute as their evolution is, Tyreke is two years older than Tia when they start dating during Season 5. She is in high school while he is paying for his apartment as an auto mechanic. Of course, Ray mentions this issue along with Tyreke's unfortunate past in the episode "Popular Mechanic." Things ended up working out in the final season but still the age gap is hard to ignore.

Lisa Landry and Ray Campbell's love lives are just as messy as their daughters

While the twins deal with messy romances, their parental units aren't immune from having their messy love lives on display. Throughout the six seasons, Ray Campbell and Lisa Landry spotlight single parents having fun and mingling. As judgmental as Ray is, his one weakness is beautiful women. He mourns his late wife Ellen (Dawn McMillan) before dating the conniving and stuck-up Vivica (Rolanda Wyatt). Their relationship puts a wedge between him and Tamera before their short romance ends after she cheated. 

Compared to the wealthy dad, Lisa's love life is steadier. Outside of a few one-off beaus, she has a series of long-term boyfriends, including Terrance Willingham in Season 2 and Ray during the fourth and fifth seasons. The show reaches peak romantic messiness during the Season 3 two-parter "Thanksgiving in Hawai'i" as Lisa's ex Terrance and Ray's ex Tonya end up at the same timeshare as Ray, Lisa, and the girls.

Eventually, Ray finds peace being single as Lisa marries his frat brother Victor (Richard Lawson) after a whirlwind courtship during the final season.

Understanding and finding their birth parents is important to the sisters

While Tia and Tamera are happy with their adoptive parents, they wonder about their birth parents like most real-life adoptees. There has always been this lingering need to understand and connect with their past.

The need to know first comes up during the Season 2 episode "Operation: Deja View" as the girls search for their birth records after having emergency appendix surgery at their birth hospital. They first find out about their birth mother Racelle Gavin (Wanda Charles) in Season 5. The twins eventually find her mural upon learning of her death. Things take a different turn in Season 6 when they find out that visiting photojournalist Matt Sullivan (Tony Carreiro) is their birth father. The two sisters form a bond with him, leading to Tamera and him setting off to Ghana for a press assignment.

Looking back, the episodes tackle the quest of adoptees to find their roots with sensitivity, especially the twists and turns they experience during later seasons. At least, they are able to get closer to both their birth and adoptive parents.