Lauren Mayer: “But They’re Cousins, Identical Cousins . . . “

It’s always astounding when two closely related things turn out to be complete opposites.  Like siblings who have totally different body types, books with matching bindings but one is Jane Austen and the other is Judith Krantz, or the time my father took his first bite into an avocado slice, not knowing what it was but assuming it was some sort of cucumber.

This same-but-opposite premise has been the basis of numerous stories, from The Prince & The Pauper to Hannah Montana, but perhaps the best-known example was the classic Patty Duke Show, where the teen actress played identical cousins with vastly different backgrounds and tastes.  (Yes, I know, there is no such thing as “identical cousins” and we all know it was Patty playing both roles, although if you’ve read her autobiography you know her real name was Anna, her managers manipulated her and she felt like a manufactured product, so she was playing an actress playing 2 different cousins, which is a meta-meta-façade.) (Sort of like the irony of Debbie Reynold’s role in Singin’ In The Rain, where her character was dubbing the Lena Lamont’s lines in the movie but the producers thought Reynolds sounded too cutesy so they had her lines dubbed by Jean Hagen, the actress playing Lena Lamont . . . but I digress . . . )

Anyway, The Patty Duke Show’s iconic theme song has come to symbolize any zany combination of opposites, or at least it has to those of us old enough to remember the show.  (My husband is several years younger than I am, so when I mentioned the song to him, he thought I was referring to “Sisters, Sisters” from White Christmas.) (My husband also had to be informed that Paul McCartney, of whom he is a huge fan, actually played in a successful band before Wings . . . . )  So I thought it would be an appropriate way to sum up the vastly different-yet-similar viewpoints in Washington D. C.  (Spoiler alert – I’m not referring to the Democrats vs. the Republicans . . .)


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