I hope you woke up this morning ready to get your childhood world rocked, because I just realized that Hallie's dad from The Parent Trap might be a bad person. I'm referring, of course, to the 1998 reboot starring Lindsay Lohan and Lindsay Lohan as Hallie Parker and Annie James, alongside Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson as their extremely estranged parents. Like, so estranged that they mind-erase each other out of their lives to the extent that the two daughters don't even know the other side of their family exists. Which is I guess where we should start, here, so let's jump right in.
I'm a big fan of both Quaid and Richardson, so I think their inherent charm helped me slide past the fact that it's completely insane to end a marriage by each taking one of your twin daughters, shaking hands, and going on your merry way. And especially when the divorce happens at a point in their lives when the girls don't even remember each other? Something serious must have gone down to end this marriage so early in its infancy. So those are two serious dings against Nick Parker and Elizabeth James as a unit, but, going forward, things are gonna be a lot more focused on Nick, because he has a lot more to answer for, once you really start paying attention.
Honestly, I don't know how he came off as lovable and bumbling as he did, because some of his actions verge on full-blown narcissism. Like the fact that he's dating this woman Meredith Blake, for example, played to detestable perfection by Elaine Hendrix. I get that people fall into unhealthy relationships all the time, but if truly every single person in your life hates the person you've chosen to date, maybe it's time to reevaluate?
And we're not just talking about randos, either. Not only does Annie/Hallie despise Meredith, but the Parker's housekeeper Chessy, played by Lisa Ann Walter, is basically the definition of loyal, and she can't stand Meredith. Which should really count for something, considering she's been with the family for so long that she was around when Elizabeth and Annie were. And, again, that's after you're already willing to discount the opinion of your daughter, whom she's secretly trying to send away to boarding school, and your dog, for crying out loud, who has absolutely no reason to pretend. I'm starting to worry about you, Nick.
But sure, OK, people miss transparent gold diggers every day, and get blinded by love, and yadda yadda yadda. I guess I can let that slide, if only because it happens in real life all the damn time. What about the fact that Nick literally doesn't notice his daughters have been swapped? Yeah, it took all the other movie characters a minute to cotton on, but these are 12-year-olds we're talking about, and they slip up a lot. Everyone else in the film manages to figure out what's gone down — again, including Chessy, so this woman has her head on straight and should be listened to — but Meredith and Nick both make it all the way to the final reveal without figuring anything out.
HOW. How do you live with your daughter every day of her tween life and then a different human, a stranger, who just happens to look like your daughter comes home instead of her, and you don't notice? You gotta be a pretty tuned out parent not to even bat an eye when your only child is replaced by an identical interloper.
But again, I guess it makes sense. With the theory that Nick is just a bad parent, anyway. Because if anybody's not going to notice that his daughter is completely and totally different in almost every discernible way, it's probably the same guy who was willing to separate his identical twin daughters and inform them zero percent about the other's existence, just so that he and his ex-wife got equal compensation in the divorce.
So at the end of the day, Nick is maybe not just a bad dad, but a bad person in general? Not quite sure how we didn't notice it earlier, but now that I see it, it's impossible to focus on anything else. Curse you and your charm, Dennis Quaid, for hiding Nick Parker's true colors from me in my impressionable childhood. I see you, Nick.
Images: Walt Disney Pictures; Giphy (4)