Can you believe there's an entire generation that only knows Mary-Kate and Ashley as the older sisters of Avengers star Elizabeth Olsen? Or as the two strikingly similar-looking mystery women who make sporadic appearances at the Met Ball? Or as the two waifs who are mysteriously absent from Netflix's Full House sequel Fuller House? Kids and tweens today just don't understand how the Olsen twins dominated television airwaves from the late '90s to the early 2000s. They're two of the most successful child stars of all time.
But sift back through your own memories of Mary-Kate and Ashley, and you may be surprised by the straight-to-VHS movies and sitcoms starring the Olsen twins you've failed to remember. Take a dive back into the expansive library of Mary-Kate and Ashley TV shows and movies, and look back with nostalgia-clouded eyes at the forgotten Olsen twins projects that fans once held so dear.
It Takes Two
It was only a matter of time before Mary-Kate and Ashley starred in a Parent Trap rip-off. That film came in the form of 1995's It Takes Two. The twins play unrelated but nevertheless identical girls from very different backgrounds. Mary-Kate plays Amanda, an orphan who wants her social worker (played by Kirstie Alley) to adopt her. Ashley plays Alyssa, a wealthy girl who is not into her father (Steve Guttenberg) marrying his mean new fiancée.
The Olsens trade places, and devise devious schemes to get Guttenberg and Alley to meet each other and fall in love.
Agree or disagree?
- Actors: Kirstie Alley, Ashley Olsen, Mary-Kate Olsen, Steve Guttenberg, Philip Bosco
- Released: 1995
- Directed by: Andy Tennant
Before Mary-Kate and Ashley made the move to the big screen for New York Minute, they starred in the direct-to-video movie The Challenge. The 2003 movie followed twins living on opposite ends of the country with separated parents. Mary-Kate plays Shane, who lives with her mom in Los Angeles. Ashley plays the Washington D.C.-living Elizabeth. Both become contestants on a Survivor-style TV show called The Challenge, where the top prizes are college scholarships. But here's the twist: these two hate each other. The producers find out, stick the sisters on the same team, and hope their mutual dislike will lead to a sweet, sweet ratings bump.
Spoiler alert: the two overcome their differences, and win the whole challenge.Agree or disagree?
The Emmy-nominated TV movie Double, Double, Toil and Trouble had a surprisingly dark supernatural element. It also starred a pre-Will & Grace Eric McCormack as the twins' down-on-his-luck father, and living legend Cloris Leachman pulling double duty as evil Aunt Agatha and wrongfully-banished-to-hell Aunt Sofia.
Leachman isn't the only one playing multiple roles, though. Mary-Kate and Ashley also stretch their acting muscles by not only playing Kelly and Lynn Farmer - scrappy, imaginative twins - but also the younger versions of Leachman's double aunt role. If that's not complicated enough, there's also a plot involving moon stones, the netherworld, and curses.
Agree or disagree?
- Actors: Ashley Olsen, Mary-Kate Olsen, Cloris Leachman, Eric McCormack, Meshach Taylor
- Released: 1993
- Directed by: Stuart Margolin
Mary-Kate and Ashely were a couple of globe trotters in the early 2000s; many of their movies took them to European cities. In Winning London, Mary-Kate plays Chloe, who's smart, ambitious, and loves Model UN. Ashley plays her sister Riley, who comes along to London to take part in the Model UN competition - but only so she can get close to a boy on the team.
Agree or disagree?
- Actors: Ashley Olsen, Mary-Kate Olsen, Jesse Spencer, Eric Jungmann, Claire Yarlett
- Released: 2001
- Directed by: Craig Shapiro