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Mindy Kaling’s tweet about ‘flirty’ siblings on TV sparks a discussion

Twitter users brought up examples from multiple shows — and she's not wrong.

Mindy Kaling has an interesting theory about white families on TV — and it seems like she's not alone in her opinion.

Earlier this week, the "Mindy Project" star tweeted, "With white families on tv, the brothers and sisters are always, like flirty with each other."

Kaling's post was liked more than 52 thousand times on Twitter, sparking a spirited conversation about past examples of on-screen chemistry between TV siblings and stepsiblings.

"Friends" was a prominent example in the discussion, with one Twitter user saying that Kaling’s tweet described Ross (David Schwimmer) and Monica Geller (Courteney Cox) from “Friends," and their closeness.

One Twitter user said the "inappropriateness" between Monica and Ross was "toe-curling" at times, continuing, "Like the time Rachel describes her first kiss with Ross, and Monica responds like she’s absolutely *not* Ross’s sister? She’s super excited and says 'oh my god' like it’s a really arousing story when it’s about her sibling?!"

The tweet also had people revisiting shows from their childhood, like the Canadian TV series "Life With Derek" that once aired on Disney Channel in the U.S.

The show was about two kids who battled for control of their household after they became stepsiblings.

Many Twitter users felt the chemistry between Derek, played by Michael Seater, and Casey, portrayed by Ashley Leggat, was a little ... off.

One person wrote, “The older brother and sister liked each other period.” And another said of the stepsiblings' apparent attraction, “It’s so uncomfortable, but was so blatant the whole freaking time.”

One Twitter user posted an exchange between Derek and Casey in which they discussed the distinction between sibling and stepsibling. Derek seemed to emphasize that there was a distinction.

On the topic of stepsiblings, Marcia and Greg's kiss in "A Very Brady Sequel," which took place at a wedding, naturally made the discussion. Actors Maureen McCormick and Barry Williams had an off-screen romance that may have contributed to the characters' on-screen chemistry.

The “Brady Brunch” clip prompted people to revisit memories of how they initially processed the moment when they encountered it as kids.

"Clueless" is a movie, not a TV show, but still featured an ex-stepbrother and stepsister falling in love, and was part of the discussion.

The Twitter thread also veered to include incidents of outright incest, or relationships that came close. Viewers pointed to the scene in "Seventh Heaven" when siblings Mary (Jessica Biel) and Matt (Barry Watson) almost kissed, before their father caught them.

"Dexter" was another show mentioned. At one point, Debra Morgan reveals she has romantic feelings for her adoptive brother, Dexter Morgan. Stars Jennifer Carpenter and Michael C. Hall met on set, married and divorced over the course of the show's run, per EW.

On the Liverpool-set soap opera "Brookside" from the '80s and '90s, a brother and sister acted on their attraction, and openly fell in love.

Similarly, on Élite, half-siblings Lu (Danna Paola) and Valerio (Jorge López) are romantically involved.

"Game of Thrones" went the same route as the aforementioned two series, with Cersei (Lena Headey) and Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) carrying out a years-long affair. Jaime pushes Bran Stark out of a high window when he discovers them together, inciting much of the show's action. (Incidentally, in the novels that inspired the show, Jamie and Cersei's relationship is only one of many instances of incest).

And then, there's the relief some characters feel upon finding out they're not siblings. On the show "Brother and Sisters," when Justin Walker (Dave Annable) finds out Rebecca (Emily VanCamp) isn't his long-lost sister, he kisses her. “It’s not incestuous, we do find out she wasn’t a Walker,” Annable told the L.A. Daily News.

The list goes on and on, with commenters throwing out examples in shows like "Elite," "The Vampire Diaries," "The Borgias," and "Degrassi: The Next Generation."

There's a reason there are so many examples. With this tweet, Kaling calls attention to a long-held pop culture trend trend, which EW labeled "the almost-incest plot" in a piece from earlier this year.

A 2011 Salon story titled, "Why is incest all over prime time?" pointed to four prestige shows on the air at the time, including “Dexter," Boardwalk Empire," and “Game of Thrones," that featured borderline or outright romantic relationships between siblings.

The normalization of, or fascination with, these types of relationship goes back even further. A 1997 story from the New York Times pointed to a trend of incest as a theme in literature and TV. "Incest is the plat du jour in the 90’s marketplace, the sudden Zeitgeist zapping a jaded American audience," the article read.

Whether it's 1997, 2011, or 2022, this taboo topic gets people talking, and watching — as Kaling's thread demonstrates. For all its controversy, maybe that's why this plot line keeps making its way to our screens.