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The Double Lives of TV Characters

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Dec 01, 2011 | 11:29am EST

once upon a timeEver since the show Once Upon A Time premiered on Oct. 23, it has continually dominated the Sunday night leaderboard, further captivating the world with its combination of fairytale parallels. It contains all our favorite childhood characters including Snow White, Prince Charming, and the devious Rumpelstiltskin. But when the Evil Queen unleashes a horrible curse upon the mythical characters, they completely forget who they are and become part of a different world entirely, where no one lives happily ever after (well, except the Evil Queen that is).

Due to the curse, most of the characters completely lose their sense of self and have therefore developed a completely different life for themselves – almost as if they have two completely different personas. But these magical characters aren’t the first to suffer from a severe case of identity crisis. In fact, many of our favorite television characters are lead two separate lives, proving that there’s two sides to every story…and person. Check out the TV icons below and see how doubling your identity creates double the intrigue!

Dexter Morgan from Dexter

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America’s favorite serial killer definitely leads two very different lives. There’s Dexter Morgan, loving father and respectable blood spatter analyst, and there’s Dexter Morgan, the slayer of criminals. To his co-workers and lieutenant sister, he’s a non-confrontational lab geek, but in the eyes of his victims he’s a merciless killer. As his character proves, life can get a bit tricky when you’re trying to hide one side of yourself from the public eye, but Dexter has balanced this juggling act for six years now and it still works. Sure, he’s experienced a few hiccups along the way, but it’s nothing a box of office donuts can’t fix, right? Obviously, it’s essential to keep his two identities separate since being a killer is usually frowned upon in society, but both sides of Dexter share some very common parallels. For one, they both help keep killers off the streets of Miami and let’s not forget about their rather unhealthy (yet useful) obsession with blood. But as dark and mysterious as he can be, you just can’t help but love both sides of him!

Don Draper from Mad Men

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The handsome Don Draper may be one of the best creative directors on Madison Avenue, but he’s also living a lie. In fact, Don Draper isn’t even his real name, but rather the identity he stole in order to escape the morbid life he was leading. I mean, let’s be honest, Don Draper’s life far outshines that of his former self, Dick Whitman. While Don has loving children, a promising career, all the money he could hope for, and the occasional female companion, Dick had no money, no love, and almost no family to speak of. Being Don gives him power and control in a way he never had before and if given the option, many men would make the same decision. But the downside is all of his current relationships are based on a lie. He’s single handedly managed to convince the world that he’s somebody he’s not, which is no easy feat, but can you ever truly be happy when you’ve done nothing but lie to the people you love?

Bridget Kelly from Ringer

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You think your life is hard? Try taking on your dead twin sister’s identity while being hunted down by the police and mob. Kind of makes everything else seem like a walk in the park, doesn’t it? But what makes Bridget’s situation so unique is the fact that her entire cover could be blown at any minute due to the fact that her sister, Siobhan, is still alive (unbeknownst to Bridget). While most of the other characters struggle with an internal second identity, Bridget took the identity of an actual person who’s still alive. Sure she did it out of necessity at the time, but now she’s come to actually care about the people in her sister’s life and can’t seem to let them go. And who could blame her? When Bridget is Siobhan, she’s no longer a lost, self-deprecating former drug user; instead she’s a successful New York City woman with a loving husband. Granted that happy picture is all based on a lie, but that’s just semantics, right?

Walter White from Breaking Bad

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What’s so fascinating about many of these double lifers is how far they stray from their supposed true nature once they break free from the restrictions of everyday life in their secret identities. Often, we learn that this “second” life is the truth they've been repressing all along. Such is the case with one of the great liars of modern television: Walter White, the main character in AMC’s Breaking Bad. Throughout the first three seasons of the show, Walt manages to maintain his job as a high school teacher and role as a husband and father while hiding from his family and friends (especially his DEA agent brother-in-law) the fact that he is an infamous crystal meth kingpin in the Albuquerque area. By day, Walt may be a feeble, bookish, chem teacher/cancer victim, but when Walt manages to sneak away from his family, he becomes the ruthless, deceitful, amoral drug dealer we’ve all grown to love.

All the characters from ABC’s LOST

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Once Upon A Time’s double life twist is no coincidence, given that it's from the same writers who thought up the mystical, smoke monster-filled island on ABC’s former drama, LOST. Like those on Once, LOST's characters were apart of two very separate, but equally complicated worlds. While some viewed the island as a prison, others found it to be a place to start over – or even to be (or pretend to be) a completely different person. I mean, look how Kate quickly transformed from a runaway convict to a strong, powerful woman that happened to be the object of desire to some insanely hunky men. Not a bad turnaround if you ask me. Speaking of those hunky men, look at what different identities those two ended up possessing. Sawyer went from being an untrustworthy conman to a full out hero, willing to risk dying in order to save those he most truly cared about. And then there was Jack – a man broken from his father’s death became the steadfast leader of the entire crew from Oceanic Flight 815. The list goes on and on. So many characters, so many hidden pasts. Everyone on that island kept secrets about who they really were, but I guess when you’re trapped on an island with a bunch of strangers, honesty isn’t necessarily the best policy.

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