Freeform will air the movie Monday night (it starts promptly at 7:50 p.m. ET), and several cast members will be on social media to celebrate the occasion. In a surprising twist, one of those cast members has turned into the movie’s true hero in the past several years — and it’s probably not whom you would expect.
That’s right — Meredith Blake (played by Elaine Hendrix) has become known as the real star of “The Parent Trap.” For those who don’t remember, Meredith was the undisputed villain. Annie and Hallie (Lohan) are identical twins whose parents divorced shortly after the babies were born, and each parent took one daughter. When the girls discover each other’s existence at summer camp years later, they team up and scheme to get their mom and dad (Natasha Richardson and Dennis Quaid) back together.
Unfortunately, when the twins return home from camp, Meredith is standing in their way. She’s a 26-year-old powerhouse publicist; she has an impeccable wardrobe, and after a whirlwind romance, she gets engaged to their dad, a wealthy vineyard owner.
Operation Take Down Meredith commences, as Annie and Hallie pull prank after prank in an effort to drive Meredith away. (Remember the lizard?)
In the iconic scene near the end, after the twins push Meredith into the lake during a camping trip while she’s asleep on an air mattress, Meredith throws down an ultimatum.
“Here’s what’s going on, buddy,” she fumes to their dad, Nick. “The day we say ‘I do’ is the day I ship those brats off to Switzerland. Get the picture? It’s me or them.”
Nick wastes no time choosing his daughters. “Them,” he says.
Victory! At the time, it seemed very satisfying. But over the years, many viewers have revised their initial opinions of the movie’s “villain,” who was actually a wildly successful young woman trying to marry the man of her dreams.
She has also become a meme, as people point out that they are not nearly as successful in their 20s as she was:
Plus, why did no one realize that Annie and Hallie’s scheme was diabolical?
“It’s too simple to dismiss Meredith as a mere swamp witch, as I once had,” Elena Nicolaou wrote for Refinery29 in a piece titled, “Justice For Meredith Blake, The Parent Trap’s Unsung Hero.” “She’s not a cookie-cutter antagonist. She’s a fully realized character with ambition, drive, and vulnerability beneath that perfectly coifed exterior.”
Hendrix, who played Meredith, has a sense of humor about it all. A few weeks ago, a viral tweet displayed photos of Meredith and declared, “Kids today will NEVER know how much we HATED this woman.” Hendrix quoted the images in a tweet of her own and joked, “I will ship every one of you brats off to Switzerland.” It currently has about 194,000 retweets.
“I can’t believe the legs this movie has had,” Hendrix told the New York Post in an interview last week. “I’ve gotten fan mail that literally makes me cry. . . . I really feel honored because I had no idea that any of this would happen.”
Hendrix will be online to celebrate the movie’s re-airing on Monday, along with Lisa Ann Walter, who starred as Chessy, Nick’s housekeeper; Simon Kunz, who played Martin, the butler, and Maggie Wheeler, who had a small role as a camp counselor.