Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

August 29, 2013

Sharing the spotlight

Teichert sisters shine in TV debut for `Twinsanity'

By Bill Kirk
bkirk@andovertownsman.com

---- — Allison and Valerie Teichert don’t like being twins.

But the 11-year-old girls do like being on TV.

And scoring that TV time this week had everything to do with the fact they’re twin sisters.

“It’s cool,” Allison said.

“Our friends said they wanted to be on the show,” Valerie added.

This past Tuesday night, the Teichert twins, who are going into the sixth grade this year, were featured as part of “Twinsanity!” on “Nick News” with Linda Ellerbee. The half-hour show aired on the Nickelodeon network.

According to a press release that publicized the program, the Teichert twins “have a tendency to finish each other’s sentences.”

Take this outtake from the show: “Val: ‘People ask us...’ Ally: ‘...do you like being a twin?’ Val: ‘And we say...’ Ally: ‘No!’ Val: ‘Too many people get us mixed up...’ Ally: ‘...and we don’t like sharing!’”

It’s clear they have grown tired of being asked about being twins.

During an interview with The Townsman, they were asked if they shared each others’ clothes.

“No!” they replied in unison.

When asked if their father, former Andover selectman Ted Teichert, 52, ever got them mixed up, they both said, “Yes!”

For older sister Julianne, 14, a budding thespian who has performed in a number of plays locally, watching her younger siblings on TV has been an interesting experience.

“I think it’s neat,” she said. “It’s something different for a TV show.”

Allison and Valerie were asked to be on the show after their mother, Jeanne, responded to an ad on a website devoted to the mothers of twins.

She sent in an application, with photos, which was followed up by a phone interview with the two girls.

“I never thought after the phone interview they’d pick them,” Jeanne Teichert said. “I figured they must have had hundreds of people interviewing. The twins are kind of shy on the phone.”

But, she said, they were probably chosen because “they don’t like being twins and they aren’t afraid to tell people that. They’re identical and people confuse them all the time. They like to be in separate classes. They do whatever they can to be separate.”

One day in May, a TV film crew showed up at the Teichert home at about 9:30 a.m. and spent the day following the girls around, including filming them at soccer practice. The crew interviewed the girls both together and separately, while also interviewing Julianne about what it’s like to be the sibling of twins.

In an email to The Townsman, host Ellerbee said Allison and Valerie were picked using both old-fashioned and newfangled technology.

“How do we find kids? The old-fashioned way: Dial and Smile. Sometimes you have to dial many many numbers to find the right kids. Of course, after 22 years on the air, we are very connected to schools, parent organizations and clubs for kids.

“Now, with the Internet, our job is both easier and harder. More sources, more choices, more work — but it’s worth it when you find great kids like Ally and Val.”

The Teichert twins came to the show’s attention through a request coordinating producer Kara Pothier sent to the National Mothers of Multiples Club, Ellerbee said. “Twinsanity” producer Wendy Lobel conducted the phone interview, she said.

The purpose of the show, according to the press release, was to get kids from around the country to discuss the assumptions, misconceptions and truths about being a twin.

Other twins were also featured in the program.

Jeremy, 15, from New Jersey, was filmed saying, “One of the major disadvantages to being a twin is having to share everything. We share a room, which we always have — since the day we were born. Well, probably since before we were born, technically.”

“Ugghhh,” said his twin brother Ethan.

Kavita, 14, from New Jersey said, “You think of yourself as two different people, yet you find yourselves doing the exact same things. Said her twin sister, Divya, “That’s so disturbing.”

“Sometimes people ask if we’re identical,” said Taylor, 14, from Texas, speaking about herself and twin brother, Torrance. “And I just feel as if they need to be slapped.”

“Being alike is not the same as being the same,” host Ellerbee, a veteran TV journalist, said. “You may be a twin, but you’re still you. Sometimes I wish I were a twin. Maybe a twin for a day ...”

“Nick News,” produced by Lucky Duck Productions, is now in its 22nd year and is the longest-running kids’ news show in television history. It has built its reputation on the respectful and direct way it speaks to kids about the important issues of the day. Over the years, “Nick News” has received more than 21 Emmy nominations and recently won its ninth Emmy Award for “Under the Influence: Kids of Alcoholics” in the category of Outstanding Children’s Nonfiction Program.

CATCH A GLIMPSE

For those who missed this week’s broadcast of “Twinsanity,” the episode, and other episodes of “Nick News,” are available at www.nicknews.com after they premiere on Nickelodeon. Additionally, the episode is available on iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nick-news-with-linda-ellerbee/id40020372a show about kids who are twins.