Like many kids growing up in the mid-00s, Parent Trap was my favourite film. My Nan and Pa had it on video, and I’d watch it on repeat whenever I visited them in Shepparton.
Each visit was met with the same sentiments – I’d scream when Hallie pierced Annie’s ears, scream for Elizabeth and Nick to reunite and, above all else, scream at Meredith Blake for being the antichrist of cinema.
My 5-year-old ass genuinely hated Meredith Blake. With a passion. But I’m obviously not alone in this regard – we were intentionally coaxed to loathe her, the film’s villain – but something about seeing Meredith Blake’s face on the telly screen hit differently than the other Disney antagonists. She made my blood boil.
Meredith, a 26-year-old publicist from San Francisco, was instantly painted in a negative light – our introduction to Meredith was overshadowed by Hallie’s nanny Chessy implying that she’s a gold digger and after Nick for his millions.
A couple scenes later, we observed Meredith telling her assistant, “first change I make is to send that two-faced little brat off to boarding school in Timbuktu”.
“Ice woman,” the assistant responds.
“Proud of it, babe.”
For there, it’s on. Us versus Meredith.
My loathing of Meredith lasted well-after I stopped watching Parent Trap at my Nan and Pa’s. But as I grew into adulthood, and Parent Trap became a mere piece of nostalgia, I began to view Meredith’s escapades in a new light. My subsequent loathing morphed into something else – I began to, dare I say, champion the publicist from San Francisco.
Here’s why Meredith Blake, the ‘98 villain, was simply ahead of her time. A misunderstood icon, if you will.
She’s a woman in charge
Love her or hate her, Meredith Blake knew what she wanted, and she wasn’t afraid to go out and get it. She was a hustler, and, in today’s society, would be commended for it.
“Being young and beautiful’s not a crime you know,” she tells Annie. “This is the real deal honey and nothing is going to come between us.” She’s unapologetic in her bad bitchery, even to Nick’s own daughter, which is a massive departure from most female characters portrayed in 90s Disney films.
Yes, she may be a “hot young thing”, but that hot young thing was an intelligent schemer, whose wit and cunning intellect sees her nearly swindle everyone. Fierce.
She’s an icon in the looks department
You simply can’t deny that Meredith serves you an outfit every damn time. Let’s go through some.
She didn’t like hiking – relatable
The audience’s hatred of Meredith was arguably solidified by the fact that she didn’t like hiking and camping. But you know, what? Fucking same. I absolutely would have behaved like Meredith if I was dragged into the wilderness by my sugar daddy and bratty twins.
And if Hallie and Annie put rocks in my pack, placed a lizard on my Evian, replaced my mosquito repellant with sugar and water and dragged my lilo into the middle of the damn lake, I’d be sending their assess to Switzerland as well.
Mind you, she still served us in the look department.
So there you have it. Given that it’s 2020 and attitudes have well and truly changed, we have no choice but to dow down to Queen Mer, and apologise for not only hating her so viciously, but for doubting her relatability.
It’s unlikely we’ll see a figure like Meredith Blake again, given how unprecedented this character type was in the 90s.
Meredith, we bow to thee.Image: Disney / Parent Trap