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18 Reasons The Parent Trap Is Actually Really Messed Up  

Jacob Shelton
215.1k views 18 items

When was the last time you watched The Parent Trap, the Disney film featuring double-trouble Lindsay Lohan and a deep current of subtext that provides an exhausting amount of confusing messages for young women? There are enough issues that actually cataloging all of the f*cked up things in The Parent Trap is almost impossible. It’s definitely one of the more disturbing kid's movies of the '90s, and the WTF Parent Trap plot devices are only the beginning of the proof that the film may impart some inappropriate lessons.

The disturbing things about The Parent Trap range from the inaccurate information that the film gives about medical procedures to its general lack of legal knowledge and classist underpinnings, which attempt to teach children to never reach for anything better than the life they’ve been handed. Out of all the dark films for children that exist, The Parent Trap may be one of the most nefarious films that’s ever been created. Where else can you find a movie that pits women against each other for the love of a creep, while having to fend off a butler who may or may not be trying to rope his boss into a particular sexual fetish?

You may love The Parent Trap, and that’s fine, but if you’re ever going to show this movie to children, you should probably know a thing or two about the messages you’re about to inundate them with. 

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No One Realizes That Sending English Lohan To Camp In A Limo Immediately Makes Her A Pariah
No One Realizes That Sending E... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list 18 Reasons The Parent Trap Is Actually Really Messed Up
Photo: Buena Vista Pictures

Who in Annie's family thought it would be a good idea to send an 11-year-old girl into a shark tank of pre-teens in a limo? It doesn't matter how good the camp is, that kind of introduction is a set-up on a Machiavellian scale. Either her mother (who presumably makes these kids of decisions) is so out of touch with normal society that she doesn't realize how much she's separating Annie from the rest of the campers (who showed up on a school bus for f*ck's sake), or she wants her daughter to be systematically broken down by girls of a lower class who have no other retribution against their sorry lot in life than to take Annie, the rich girl, down a peg. 

The Girls Are Developing A Lowkey Gambling Addiction
The Girls Are Developing A Low... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list 18 Reasons The Parent Trap Is Actually Really Messed Up
Photo: Buena Vista Pictures

There may only be two counselors at the camp where Annie and Hallie meet, so it makes sense that the two exhausted women who have to deal with a bunch of children are fine with letting a gambling ring slip through the cracks. In a way, it helps bolster the camp's economy, and no one's really getting hurt - except for the children who are learning how to be rewarded for gambling with money they don't have. If you like gambling, that's fine.

But you're probably not an 11-year-old girl who doesn't actually have any personal capital or really anything of your own to speak of. These girls are betting hundreds(!) of dollars on a clandestine poker game with other 11 year olds. If they haven't bankrupted their family by the time they're in their early 20s, it's going to be a miracle. 

This Film Presupposes That Fencing Is Inherent Behavior
This Film Presupposes That Fen... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list 18 Reasons The Parent Trap Is Actually Really Messed Up
Photo: Buena Vista Pictures

What is fencing anyway? Obviously, it's a hand-eye coordination exercise that involves swords, but it's not like being left handed or being born with an innate sense of direction; it's a learned exercise. But The Parent Trap tries to tell the audience that it's actually a talent that people are born with, and that's mind boggling.

This isn't to say that some people aren't born with better fencing abilities than others, but these girls are perfectly matched opponents, and that makes zero sense. Get it together Nancy Meyers. 

The Camp Has A Prison Cabin
The Camp Has A Prison Cabin is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list 18 Reasons The Parent Trap Is Actually Really Messed Up
Photo: Buena Vista Pictures

Does every camp have a prison cabin? After the twins are busted for their #epicprankwar, they're placed in semi-solitary confinement with each other in a cabin that's separated from everyone else. It's kind of like that scene from Addams Family Values but less good. First of all, it's bordering on Dickensian to lock children away in a wooden prison (albeit a very nice wooden prison), and secondly, is no one weirded out that these two identical children are trying to kill each other? Why would you put them in the same cabin? Why not send one of them into the woods to fend for herself while you place the other in a basket and send her downstream?