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Seeing Double: Five Of The Most Iconic Female Doppelgängers On TV

Two or more characters who look alike but aren't all too fond of each other and dun, dun, dun: plot twist – (gasp!) they're performed by the same actress with insane acting chops! Here is the list ordered in the year the TV shows introduced the double's plot line:

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Lisa Kudrow – Friends

NBC/Warner Bros. Television / Via Quora

(1995) – Beloved friend, Phoebe Buffay was revealed to have a twin even from the first season of the hit TV show. Ursula Buffay was originally a character also played by Lisa Kudrow from the early 90's sitcom Mad About You before she was Phoebe. Ursula's story was more developed during snarky (but funny) interactions with her twin sister on Friends. Phoebe is sweet while Ursula's not all too friendly, yet Kudrow managed to make them both hilarious in their own way. Besides their uncanny, identical looks, Phoebe and Ursula only really have three things in common: their birthdays, their birth parents and their chemistry with Joey Tribbiani.

Anna Torv – Fringe

FOX/Warner Bros. Television / Via SciFiEmpire

(2010) – Identity is at the core of the FOX's campy show. On top of that, there's a lot of LSD involved in between jumping universes & timelines, and our courageous protagonist's main struggle in finding out who she is. This is her journey summarized: In between Cortexiphans and alternate universes is an alternate version of you (SPOILER ALERT) who will have a child with your boyfriend because they're actually from the same world: A Memoir by Fringe Division Agent, Olivia Dunham. Best scene: When Olivia and Faux-livia fight Alias-style in the season 2 finale. Even then, it's hard to hate any version of Anna Torv when she's both Olivias where one pours her heart out about being heartbroken with Peter's unknowing betrayal and when she almost gave birth in the middle of the street due to a sped up pregnancy. Now, that's acting! How can you hate any version of Olivia? I mean, look at her! Now the other one. Now look at them!

Tatiana Maslany – Orphan Black

BBC America

(2013) – What does a suicidal cop, a CEO, a hippie scientist, a rebellious punk of a single mom, a trained killer and a drug dealer/suburban housewife all have in common? What does science have to do with all of them? They're all sestras. They're all clones. LEDA clones. There's about 12 clones (if you count the scorpion, as they say) who is most familiar to recent memory but as the finale revealed (SPOILER ALERT) there are 274 in total. Wouldn't it be cool if you could hang out with Alison and Sarah at the same time? Or have a family dinner with all the sestras like in the season 3 finale? Lead actress and Emmy Winner Tatiana Maslany plays them all separately so well, it's hard to believe there really is just one Tatiana, irl. I mean Tatiana really did THAT. You better believe she can play all 274 of them.

Sarah Paulson – American Horror Story: Freak Show

FX / Via

(2014) – With FX's hit, American Horror Story being an anthology series, it wasn't until the fourth season, "Freak Show" that we get to see double the Sarah Paulson – and that made every bit of that season worth watching. From sweet dreamer Bette to determined and reserved Dot, Paulson really took the double role onto another level. It's no surprise that today she's already won her long-deserved Emmy Award (for The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story, 2016). Bonus: Three years ago, Paulson also proved that she can sing...err one of the twins can sing. For real.

Lana Parrilla – Once Upon a Time

Disney / ABC / Via

(2016) – Once lead actress Lana Parrilla always played a dual role in this hit fantasy ABC series. The show started with the introduction of her character, Regina Mills as both the vengeful Evil Queen (in flashbacks) crashing Snow White and Prince Charming's wedding and as Mayor Mills (present time) of the sleepy town of Storybrooke, Maine. But it wasn't until last year, in the end of it's fifth season that Regina was shown to have split (literally) from her "evil" self wherein we finally get to see two Reginas interact at the same time. With one of the main messages of the show being: "Evil Isn't Born, It's Made," Parrilla's acting shines in its sixth season when Regina finally accepts herself with all her flaws and shortcomings and embracing her completeness in her duality. Even back in season 4, Regina said "My happy ending is finally feeling at home in the world" – and that... she certainly has achieved by the end of Book One.

Doppelgängers: (siamese) twins, clones, alternate selves, or the yin to their yang, these actresses proved worthy of attention and praise for fleshing out their dual (or multiple) characters as if they're actually separate from each other.

Seems like seeing double the strong female character is the new trend on TV and movies these days. I'm sure there are more iconic pairs out there who I missed from the likes of: Hilary Duff's The Lizzie McGuire, to Nina Dobrev's Vampire Diaries, and even Toni Collette's Showtime alters in United States of Tara... but these are the Top 5 that immediately came to mind and probably the most campy.

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