Celebrating Sisterhood

Due perhaps to the carpet-bombing publicity campaign mounted for the Barbie movie, you may not have noticed that Sunday, Aug. 6, is National Sisters Day.

It’s unlikely seeing the movie would jar your memory either, as Barbie’s sisters are barely mentioned.

Skipper, you’ll learn, broke through to the real world and it was “chaos.” She allegedly found her way into a Key West home and purposely tried to babysit the family’s children.

Great. Disparage Skipper’s character and give her no chance to respond. Great lesson for the kids there, Warner Bros.

It would be easy to blame Barbie herself, so let’s blame Barbie herself. Was big sister too caught up in her perfect pink world to hear her little sister’s cries for help? Wait, could Skipper talk?

No matter. We will assume their relationship needs repair, which might not be a bad place for the sequel to begin.

But that’s for another summer. Besides, if you’re looking for heart-warming examples of loving and supportive sisters, the screen and the stage might not be your best bets. Consider:

THREE SISTERS: One of playwright Anton Chekov’s most celebrated works concerns the Prozorov sisters who deal with various shades and sources of misery to impress upon us that joy is fleeting and life is just a miserable slog toward dying frustrated and alone. A real laugh riot, this Chekov.

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?: Oh, those Hudson girls. All that back and forth, all those rats on a plate can’t disguise their sisterly bond. Wait, no, they really do hate each other. As did the actresses who played them, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. Is it method acting if you already hate the person playing a character your character hates? Paging Mr. Strasberg …

CINDERELLA: Stepsisters: ugly, mean. Cinderella: beautiful, sweet. Could they make it any clearer? Pretty sisters are good and kind and deserve to become royalty while unattractive sisters can go rot in mom’s dungeon. Happily ever after.

Yikes. OK, let’s look at some more positive examples of sisterhood. 

THE SCHUYLER SISTERS: Sisters Angelica, Eliza, and Peggy Schuyler were wealthy young socialites who all had relationships of one kind or another with Alexander Hamilton. “The Schuyler Sisters” is a song in the first act of Hamilton that kicks the proceedings into high gear, at least according to some critics. The song has drawn comparisons to Destiny’s Child which we believe makes Angelica Schuyler the Beyoncé of the Colonial Period.

THE SOUND OF MUSIC: “How do you solve a problem like Maria?” A question asked on Broadway of Mary Martin and on film of Julie Andrews, both of whom played the lead role of Sister Maria, the nun who marries a widower with a mansion full of kids. Who become famous singers. Who flee the Nazis. And get sampled by Gwen Stefani. 

SISTER SLEDGE: The Sledge Sisters (Debbie, Joni, Kathy, and Kim) celebrated themselves and sisters everywhere with “We Are Family.” a joyous dance floor filler about the bond between them. The Pittsburgh Pirates adopted it as their theme song for the 1979 season and won the World Series. Coincidence?

THE SWEENEY SISTERS: Not to be confused with Lian Dolan’s novel, this Saturday Night Live sketch about singing sisters Candy (Jan Hooks) and Liz (Nora Dunn) Sweeney was one of the most consistently funny reoccurring sketches since SNL’s ‘70s heyday. The Sweeneys were born performers, ready to sing at the drop of a hat, especially if the song has to do with bells. Anyone up for a round of “The Trolley Song?” Clang, clang, clang!

TWISTED SISTER: Twisted Sister was a heavy metal band made up of five lugs from Long Island who couldn’t have been androgynous even if they wanted to (they didn’t) but were known to slap on a bit (or a lot) of rouge, eye shadow, and lipstick. Fun fact: There exists an all-female Twisted Sister tribute act called Twisted Sisters.

“SISTER CHRISTIAN”: No idea what this song’s about. No idea what your time for flight is, either. It does add to the tension in a nail-biter of a scene in Boogie Nights. Anyway, hope Sister Christian made her flight.

We’re getting off track a bit, but you get the picture. If you have a sister you love, let her know it. Don’t make us send Chekov after you.

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