There has been a lot of discussion regarding the purported similarities between the new CW show RINGER with Sarah Michelle Gellar, and the ABC FAMILY show THE LYING GAME.
Both shows do involve identical twins portrayed by the same actor. In THE LYING GAME, that actor is Alexandra Chando. In both shows, one twin is rich, and the other relatively poor. But let’s examine the rest of the story.
The plot(s) of RINGER seem to fall into two main categories, “pursuit” and “adultery”. (I am using the list of 36 basic plots put forward by Georges Polti more than 100 years ago). The RINGER story is this. Bridget, the poorer sister, is being pursued by a bad guy because she can testify against him in a murder trial. She goes to live with her rich sister Siobhan to hide out. The rich sister apparently commits suicide shortly after Bridget’s arrival. Bridget assumes her dead sister’s identity as a nearly perfect disguise, and discovers the complexity of the life and relationships she has adopted.
THE LYING GAME story goes this way. Identical twins were abandoned by birth mother. One gets adopted by rich folk, the other ends up in a foster home. Sutton (the rich one) finds her poorer twin (Emma) and talks Emma into impersonating her for a few days so that she can go track down a lead on the birth mother.
Sutton vanishes, leaving the imposter with the problem of what to do next.
In Polti’s listing of plots, THE LYING GAME is “recovery of a lost one”, and “self-sacrifice for kin”.
I submit that, if RINGER is similar to any other production, it would be the Bette Davis film of 1946, A STOLEN LIFE, in which the lead character assumes her the identity of her twin when the latter is drowned.
And that is not a bad film to be similar to.