In these dark political days, don’t you ever wish you could go back to being a kid? Back to when Trump was merely an amusing reality show star that your parents watched on The Apprentice? Well, it’s your lucky day: time travel is possible, and its name is Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen. From their thumbs-upping on Full House to their Dualstar Productions content-producing MACHINE, these girls gave our youths an extra-special glow (that may or may not have colored our adulthoods). In every movie they made throughout the years, there are some truly iconic (and slightly bizarre) moments that just stick, man.
Behold 16 moments from America’s Favorite Twins that will take you right back to the days of popping in that VHS and slurping your Go-Gurt after school.
16. The Eggs in Billboard Dad
In this 1998 classic, the twins play self-sufficient girls who live right on the roller-skating, hula-hooping Venice Beach boardwalk (we learn as much from the opening credits). We learn just how mature they are with their morning routine. Their dad is too busy being an ~artiste~ to feed them himself, so they make breakfast — twin style. Mary-Kate (or is it Ashley?) breaks eggs INTO A ZIPLOC BAGGIE, then SHAKES IT to scramble it. Is this genius, or is it terribly unhygienic? I still can’t decide. Then, they put ORANGE JUICE in their cereal. After watching Billboard Dad for the first time, I tried it (didn’t we all?). And let me tell you: this one is not as genius as it seemed.
15. The Bad Boy in Billboard Dad
Speaking of Billboard Dad, remember this rebel who joins their diving team? He is the heartthrob of the pre-teen set; The rebel without a cause. I mean, what kind of tween has an eyebrow ring? Small-Me definitely had some confused feelings about this kid. He was so mean, yet so… alluring. He hated rules as a concept, yet fell in love with diving and helped the team to victory. *Sigh*. What a stud. This was just the beginning of a very bad attraction to bad boys.
14. The Diving Coach in Billboard Dad
I had a big fat crush on my swim teacher when I was four years old (again, didn’t we all?), so I related hard to Mary-Kate’s (or Ashley’s?) crush on her diving coach. An inappropriate crush on a shirtless teacher emblematizes those preteen years like nothing else. Also, props to the writing team of this movie for the creativity in having the girls be on a diving team. I haven’t seen that before or since.
13. The Mary-Kate & Ashley Dolls
Were you even a fan of MK&A if you didn’t have this sweet doll set? Two outfits per twin: one in on-trend early 2000s styles and one in athletic gear — and some accessories to boot? Perfection. Their hair was the crunchiest doll hair I’d ever seen (definitely no brushing it) but they were beloved all the same. How many of us asked our moments for hairspray so our hair could be just as crunchy as these dolls’?.
12. The Fainting Scene in It Takes Two
In this 1995 film that is suspiciously similar in plot to The Parent Trap, the girls play Alyssa Callaway (a privileged daughter of billionaire Roger Callaway) and Amanda Lemmon (the favorite orphan of social worker Diane Barrows), who meet and change places in order to force the adults to fall for each other. In one of Alyssa’s opening scenes, we learn just how savvy she is at playing her dad like a fiddle. He announces that he is marrying the (terrible) Clarice Kensington, and to buy time to process it — and some sympathy points — Alyssa puts on a great show of fainting, right there in her foyer. We all tried it, don’t lie.
11. The Sexual Tension in It Takes Two
It takes a lot for small children to recognize sexual tension when they see it, but boy did I see it in It Takes Two. That scene on the mansion’s terrace in which Kirstie Alley blows on Steve Guttenberg’s wound? You can cut that tension with a knife, and it just might be one of the hottest scenes in kids’ movie history. Yes, really.
10. The Cute ’90s Outfits in It Takes Two
Props to the costume department for creating great matching-yet-not-totally-matching looks for a privileged-girl-playing-an-orphan and a tomboy orphan. Honestly, even in 2018 both of these looks are pretty trendy. When you think about it, most of their best ~lewks~ have made a big comeback. Color-tinted sunnies? Yep. Backward baseball caps? You know it. No matter your personal aesthetic, there’s an MK&A; outfit for you.
9. The Scary Mirror Lady in Double, Double, Toil and Trouble
The twins do Halloween in this 1993 flick and they do it well. Mary-Kate & Ashley learn that their Great Aunt Sophia has been trapped by her evil twin sister Agatha in a mirror, and find that if they don’t rescue her, she’ll be gone forever. I’m sure the movie was actually pretty campy, but to six-year-old me, this was the scariest movie in all of history. It’s pretty dark for a quote-unquote “children’s movie” – just sayin’!
8. All of How the West Was Fun
The girls and their single father get invited to a dude ranch, and Wild West fun ensues. This movie is when I realized the best part of the Mary-Kate & Ashley movies is that they’re taking on different movie genres. It’s pretty sweet – and clever for kids’ movies, too. After this flick, I graduated onto other Wild West movies. But I never would have taken the leap without these girls to wean me onto the genre. Thanks, ladies!
7. Martin Mull in How the West Was Fun
You know Martin Mull from Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Clue, Arrested Development and more. But you probably first saw him as the goofy villain in How the West Was Fun. That was the beauty of these movies; You were introduced to big-name actors (Kirstie Alley, anyone?) in the safe context of a children’s movie. How they scored such names is pretty impressive – but who wouldn’t want to star next to the most iconic twins in history?
6. The specifics of The Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley
I credit my lifelong love of mysteries to this straight-to-VHS series in which the girls run a detective agency out of their attic. “We solve crime before dinnertime,” they proclaim. “Who stole the Great Hope Diamond?” their theme song croons, “What killed the dinosaurs? Who makes the finest pizza? What’s in my brother’s dresser drawers?” Over the course of this great series, these girls solve some hard-hitting mysteries. One mini-mystery I’ve never forgotten is when they test UV protection on their little sister, Lizzie (played by their IRL sis Elizabeth Olsen). They put sunscreen on one half of her face, but not the other — and, unsurprisingly, the exposed portion turns lobster red. Hard hitting message for kids.
5. “The Case of the Volcano Mystery” in The Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley
Let’s get even more specific. In one episode of the MK&A; series, the girls are terrified by what they think is a monster. There’s a large, aluminum figure that hulks around so, really, what else could it be?! In one of the greatest twists in American history, the girls are cornered by the monster… and it turns out he is a HUMAN wearing a HAZMAT SUIT. He’s a volcanologist, so the girls get to learn a lot about volcanoes and even stand next to spewing lava. If you’re a twentysomething who’s found yourself intrigued by volcanoes for most of your life, there’s a good chance it’s thanks to this episode.
4. The New Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley
Once the girls became 13 or 14, they very clearly felt they were too grown up to solve boring mysteries about monsters and carnival funhouses, so they started a new(ish) show, in which we basically watched them hang out with their friends and have slumber parties. Calling these “adventures” was a little bit of a stretch, but some are still on YouTube and bring back some SERIOUS nostalgia.
3. The Good Clean Teenage Fun in Switching Goals
Just like in It Takes Two, we get a girly girl and a tomboy who switch places — and learn a little something along the way. This time, they are 13 whole years old and have really trendy, pin-straight bobs. They also get dates at the end of the movie! They are so grown up!
2. The Mondrian Outfits in Our Lips are Sealed
In this 2000 movie, the girls are in the Witness Protection Program after they witness a diamond thievery and are key in locking up a mobster. Thus, their family gets sent to Australia and they need to assimilate. Of special importance to me (and the world) were these fun Mondrian outfits because they encapsulate the early 2000s style. They also taught us about a famous artist and capture the spirit of Australia. Plus, fun matching twin outfits! Not sure any tweenaged twins would actually still be dressing alike at this age, but for our viewing purposes it was completely iconic.
1. The Vegemite in Our Lips are Sealed
At school, the other kids force MK&A to try the Australian equivalent of peanut butter and jelly: Vegemite. It sounds god awful — and from their reaction, tastes awful too — but I learned an important cultural lesson: only Americans like peanut butter and jelly. Now try to tell me every time someone mentions vegemite you don’t immediately think of Our Lips Are Sealed and our favorite pair of twins.