I'm Still Not Over How Rude Mary-Kate and Ashley Were in Double Double Toil and Trouble
Years later, I've realized the main characters of this Halloween classic are actually little bullies.
If you asked me what my favorite Halloween movie is, I’d probably stay silent for an hour trying to decide. Practical Magic, The Craft, Hocus Pocus — they’re all the list, with order switching up depending on my mood. I also always considered myself a fan of the good ol' classic, Double Double Toil and Trouble. As a lifelong consumer of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen content (fashion included), I remember being a huge fan as a kid, and wishing I could go on a similar witchy adventure. But viewing it as an adult? Well, let's just say it's a lot different.
Those little twins are rude as hell.
If you need a refresher on the made-for-TV film, MK and A play Kelly and Lynn, two little girls who are extremely tired of doing everything together. I’m personally not a twin, but quarantine has made me value my alone time, and considering how these two are constantly forced to share and dress alike, I can understand their constant bickering. However, the meat of the story is actually sad. Their parents are having money trouble and might lose their house, so, the mom and dad pay a visit to Aunt Agatha to ask for money. The catch: Aunt Agatha is secretly an evil witch, who possesses a powerful moonstone and even locked her own twin, Sofia, in a mirror while using Sofia’s boyfriend as her butler.
Obviously, she’s unwilling to give them a dime.
Kelly and Lynn learn about Aunt Agatha’s story early on from a pale, sleep-deprived gravedigger, who also tells them about a future witch gathering and how the spell to free Aunt Sofia can only be broken at midnight on Halloween. That’s pretty much when we’re tipped off that these kids are brats (aside from when they mocked a woman’s laugh while leaving a Halloween party, which did make me pause). First of all, Kelly and Lynn never even bother to ask this guy his name; they just call him “Gravedigger” for the whole movie. And, while he’s trying to express how uncomfortable he feels doing this random job, as well as how terrible Agatha is, they respond with burns like, “Do you drink a lot of coffee? You might want to switch to decaf!” and “This guy needs to get out more!”
I get that it’s a movie, and that this kind of writing was funny in the ‘90s. But thinking about two kids straight-up roasting someone makes me cringe (what do they even know about coffee?!), and the way they treated Gravedigger is nothing compared to Mr. N.
Once Kelly and Lynn learn about the fate of their house, they decide they should go to the witch gathering, get the moonstone, break the curse, and help their parents. They run away while trick-or-treating and bump into Mr. N., who they recognize as a guy who washed their car windows. They tell him the story, and while he’s clearly interested in stealing the moonstone for himself in order to make money (shady!), the twins can’t stop making fun of him for being poor. When he jokes that he would have rather traveled to the gathering by limo and chauffeur, they comment that he’d have “a bill you couldn’t pay!” And, when he reveals he’d like to have a lot of money, they ask “Have you ever tried working for it?”
It’s just a weird remark from kids who already know that this man does wash windows, and that even their own parents are struggling to make ends meet. They’re literally about get kicked out of their house, and they pretty much greet Mr. N., who lives under a bridge, with “If you had a door, I would have knocked first!”
The real scene that ruined this movie for me, though, happens after Aunt Agatha kidnaps Kelly and jets off to her house. Lynn, unsure where, exactly, this house is located, realizes she actually knows where Gravedigger lives, and decides that he has to help them. Seriously, she gives him no choice. The guy hates that house and fears Agatha, but something he’s afraid of even more? The dark. So, when he refuses to take them to the house, she cuts his power, and says “Well, I guess it’s time to go and leave Mr. Gravedigger all alone in the dark.”
Adults? Anyone? Oscar, the party clown who they’ve also picked up along the way? Can’t someone step in and tell these twins to stop, or find some sort of alternative? Everyone's just being bullied and blindly taking orders from little girls with their baby teeth still intact. It makes no sense.
The only time Lynn and Kelly’s snarky comments come in handy is when they’re dishing it back to Aunt Agatha, who is threatening their lives (at one point, Kelly responds to her saying she "tried to be nice" with “That’ll be the day!”). It's a bold move, and I do respect it.
For what it’s worth, the movie ends with a feel-good messages that I still enjoy, including the importance of family and friends, and how being brave is feeling fear but still standing up for what’s right. (Although, the twins did manage to fit an awful lot into that 30-minute time crunch before midnight.) And, while Kelly and Lynn are way meaner than I remembered — and maybe that’s just part of being an adult — I still love when Lynn asks Aunt Agatha to “cross your heart, hope to die, stick a needle in your eye, shake your bottom if you got ‘em.” I crack up every time I hear Agatha get flustered as a response, and say “stick a needle in your bottom” instead. (Silly, I know, but Cloris Leachman! She really nailed that role.)
Obviously, this realization just means that Double Double is bit further down on my list of Halloween must-watches. It still brings back good memories, which is half the reason I love these movies in the first place, and I'll likely turn it on at least one more time before the spooky season ends.
Now, speaking of rude kids, let's talk Halloweentown ...