Family holds different meanings for different people and the growth of representation both in front of and behind the camera means that we are increasingly seeing depictions of families in all shapes and forms onscreen in both television and film. Anyone who has brothers or sisters will understand how inserting a sibling double act is a surefire way to inject comedy into any script, with some of the most hilarious duo’s to grace our screens bonded by familial ties. Whilst there are countless examples to choose from, we have tried to pick out the best of the bunch to create the top five best onscreen sibling duos…
5. Daria & Quinn Morgendorffer (Daria: MTV: 1997-2002)
Daria began life as a recurring character in Mike Judge’s Beavis and Butthead (MTV: 1993-97) before deservedly spawning her own series. Judge was busy with King of the Hill (Fox: 1997-2010), but released the character in order for Glenn Eichler and Susie Lewis Lynn to develop the show, which has since become a cult classic and is in the process of receiving the reboot treatment. Whilst Daria (Tracy Grandstaff) generally opts for best friend Jane Lane (Wendy Hoopes) to form the other half of the double act, much of the comedy derives from the frequent verbal sparring with her sister Quinn (also voiced by Wendy Hoopes). DNA, parents and their home are about all the pair have in common, with Daria’s sarcastic drawl and Quinn’s unending optimism seeing to it that they rarely see eye to eye. As is the case with many siblings however, they still love and care for each other under it all, adding a sense of warmth to their exchanges and creating a recipe for perfect comedic viewing every time.
Quinn: “Daria, do you think long distance relationships are a good idea?”
Daria: “Yeah. Why don’t you and I try one?” (S2E5)
4. Brennan Huff & Dale Doback (Step Brothers: 2008: Dir: Adam McKay)
Step Brothers has become a modern comedy classic, remembered for the countless one liners and the hilarious central relationship between Brennan (Will Ferrell) and Dale (John C Reilly), the stepbrothers of the title. Two men-children brought together by the marriage of each of their parents, their hilariously fractious dealings eventually giving way for a genuine bond over the course of the film. Their eventual bond is enhanced by the contrast it presents between them and the relationship Brennan has with his other brother, the mean spirited Derek (Adam Scott). Derek looked down on and mocked Brennan throughout childhood and into adulthood, extending his behaviour to Dale upon meeting him, earning him a well deserved punch in the face from his new stepbrother. Brennan and Dale’s bond – as well as their ensuing antics – are a celebration of the inner child inside us all and are sure to bring back happy memories for anyone who grew up playing (and fighting) side by side with their siblings.
Dale: “You and your Mom are hillbillies – this is a house of learning doctors”
Brennan: “You’re not a doctor, you’re a big fat curly headed fuck!”
3. Tia & Tamera (Sister, Sister: ABC: 1994-99)
Anyone who has seen The Parent Trap will know that twins separated at birth provide the perfect set up for comic escapades (at least onscreen), so it should come as little surprise that the premise allowed for six seasons of hilarity from identical twins Tia and Tamera Mowry. The classic sitcom feels like a cross between The Parent Trap and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air (NBC: 1990-1996) and riffs on the twins’ opposing personalities and the ensuing antics. Like all great onscreen siblings however, their differences are always in the end outweighed by their love and affection for one another. As a unit made up of two single adoptive parents and twins brought up separately until their mid teens, the series is also an example of how families come in many forms. The twins’ real life bond – as well as their singing talents – frequently shine through to enhance the feelgood factor that forms the essence of the series.
Tamera: “Well, since you can’t stand being around me anymore, just let me have my space!”
Tia: “You know what, Tamera? Nothing would make me happier.”
Tamera: “Good! ‘Cause I never wanna see your ugly face again!”
Tia: “Then don’t look in the mirror!”
2. Dee & Dennis Reynolds (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: FXX: 2005-present)
Another hilarious set of twins, this time fraternal, are Dennis (Glenn Howerton) and Dee (Kaitlin Olson) from long-running black comedy sitcom It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Part of the depraved “gang” that spend their days concocting various madcap schemes from their Irish themed bar in a bad part of town, the pair share similar views and an amusing superiority complex over their peers (Dee: “Dennis and I were born upper class. Therefore we currently are and will forever remain upper class”) and are often seen getting swept up together into the insanity that is the everyday escapades of the gang. Whilst Dennis joins the rest of the group in tearing Dee down with bird-based insults, their sibling bond endures and highlights of their partnership include getting addicted to crack together, attempting to go on welfare and almost getting shot trying to obtain a gun in the name of proving a point. If those aren’t ordinary sibling antics, what are?
Dennis: “I had a simple conversation with a reasonable man and that man wrote me a prescription-”
Dee: “He got the drugs by being a real-life, actual psychopath.”
Dennis: “Ridiculous, okay? No, the man asked me a few questions, I answered those questions as honestly as I could. Next thing I know, I’m walking out the door – with meds for borderline personality disorder. That’s how you get shit done.”
Dee: “That’s how you get diagnosed.” (S10E3)
Frasier & Niles Crane (Frasier: NBC: 1993-2004)
Of all the siblings who love to hate (and hate to love) each other, none do it so well as Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) and Niles Crane (David Hyde Pierce). Kelsey Grammer’s psychiatrist character was made up part of the ensemble cast that made up hit sitcom Cheers (NBC: 1982-1993), but nobody could have predicted the success that would follow by giving the character his own spin off. Frasier ups sticks and heads back to his hometown of Seattle, where he ends up taking in his ex-cop father Martin (John Mahoney) and healthcare assistant Daphne (Jane Leeves). The new ensemble generates an entirely different feel from Cheers, with Frasier’s brother, fellow psychiatrist Niles, completing the core cast. Farcical slapstick comedy is this sitcom’s specialty, usually with the two brothers at the heart of the madness, with arguably the best episodes centring around their various attempts to work together. The pair are the ultimate example of squabbling siblings who would still do anything for one another, making them worthy of the top spot on the list.
Niles: “It was an exquisite meal, marred only by the lack of even one outstanding cognac on their carte de digestif.”
Frasier: “Yes, but think of it this way, Niles: what is the one thing better than an exquisite meal? An exquisite meal with one tiny flaw we can pick at all night.” (S2E13)
Is your favourite sibling duo missing from the list? Who would win your number one spot? Do you think the Make sure to let us know in the comments section!