“The Other Two” opens with rapid-fire clips from multiple entertainment news outlets reporting on 13-year-old singer ChaseDreams (Case Walker), who they refer to as “the next big white kid.” Viewers get to meet Chase himself as he appears on “The Today Show” alongside his mother, Pat Dubek (Molly Shannon), happily answering questions from Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford about his budding music career.
As the interview goes on, the hosts begin asking questions about Chase’s siblings, and the show abruptly cuts to the very different lives that Cary (Drew Tarver) and Brooke Dubek (Heléne Yorke) lead. Cary, Chase’s older brother, is in a dim-lit audition room, scrunching his face ever so slightly in disgust as he attempts to win the role of “Man at Party Who Smells Fart,” while Brooke, Chase’s older sister, tries to avoid being caught squatting in the apartment complex that she works at, shoving her air mattress, clothes and leftover pizza into a washing machine.
As the show cuts back to ChaseDreams reminding his fans of the importance of, well, chasing their dreams, shots of his struggling older siblings are inserted next to him as they both drop their phones in the toilet — another low moment in comparison to their little brother’s high.
The juxtaposition sets up the basic premise for “The Other Two”; two older siblings who have yet to find their own success must wrestle with the fact that their younger brother has become an overnight superstar. But while “The Other Two” is exactly that, the show is also so much more.
“The Other Two” was created by Sarah Schneider and Chris Kelly, both of whom are former head writers at “Saturday Night Live.” Their idea for the show began with the desire to create a relatable story about 20-something characters trying to make something of themselves, and is loosely inspired by moments from their own lives. “The Other Two” also satirizes influencer and celebrity culture, an element that stems from Schneider and Kelly’s love for incorporating pop culture into their “Saturday Night Live” skits.
Kelly told Vulture: “That idea where you’re in your 20s, specifically when you’re in a creative field, you’re constantly comparing yourself to other people and you’re worried that you’re not doing well enough, or not doing well enough fast enough. We were like, ‘What’s the worst-case scenario of that?’ and we came down to ‘What if the person you’re comparing yourself to is your little brother and he didn’t even try that hard and he’s fine, he’s good, but he’s not the best of all time?’”
Cary and Brooke are definitely surprised by their brother’s quick rise to the top after the release of his track “Marry U At Recess,” which feels very reminiscent of MattyBRaps‘s claim to fame. While neither of them wants to admit it, his sudden rise to the top serves as their wake-up call. If their younger brother has his life together, they should too, right?
“The Other Two” follows Cary and Brooke as they seek to achieve their own aspirations. Cary remains dead-set on becoming an actor, despite the lack of substantial roles coming his way (see above: Man at Party Who Smells Fart). Unlike Cary, however, Brooke has no set career plan. She’s also newly single, having broken up with her long-term boyfriend Lance, so she sets out to explore her options both professionally and romantically.
The pair also navigates their fair share of challenges throughout the series. Brooke deals with a basketful of problems surrounding her ex, old friends and not meeting the high expectations she once held for herself. Cary, meanwhile, is still wrestling with a lot of internalized homophobia from his youth. He has a tumultuous relationship with his seemingly straight roommate, and after one of his former co-stars asks him out, stating that he had no idea Cary was gay when they were working together, Cary replies, “Thank you.” This immediately turns his once-coworker off and leads Cary to realize he may have a problem.
“I think it is just a queer character making mistakes, a queer character that is falling on his face because of issues that he hasn’t quite dealt with. It’s hard to figure yourself out as a queer person when you don’t get to see yourself onscreen growing up and there isn’t a real clear roadmap a lot of times with how things are supposed to happen,” said Tarver, who plays Cary, to Out Magazine. “Especially in this business, too, being a bisexual actor and Cary is a gay actor in the show, so for me, there are a lot of issues that I’ve dealt with.”
Cary and Brooke also work together when it comes to helping Chase and their mother. While many may read the premise of “The Other Two” and expect the older siblings to be jealous of Chase’s fame, this is not the case. Cary and Brooke are typically the only ones looking out for Chase’s well-being, nervous that his child stardom has him missing out on a normal childhood. They remain extra skeptical of Chase’s manager, Streeter (a satirical take on Scooter Braun, who famously discovered Justin Bieber), who is always worried about all the wrong things, such as whether or not Chase has a zit.
The family is very supportive of one another, always attending each others’ performances and premieres. It’s touching to see that no matter how busy the Dubeks become, they always have time for one another. Chase even takes his support up a notch, singing a ridiculously catchy song about Cary titled, “My Brother’s Gay and That’s Okay!”
These more emotional moments are the backbone of “The Other Two.” While viewers are initially charmed by the comedic characters, they grow closer to them as the plot progresses and more about the Dubek family is revealed. Brooke and Cary’s relatability also makes it easier for those watching the show to still root for the characters, despite all their flaws and mistakes.
“I read it, and I was like, ‘Oh, I wanna do this so bad.’ I was drawn to how much they felt like real people to me. That and to play someone who doesn’t have it all together, because who does have it all together?” said Yorke, when speaking to Forbes about why she wanted to play Brooke. “To flesh that out on screen was very gratifying and freeing, as opposed to keeping something restrained.”
While the first season of the show aired on Comedy Central, “The Other Two” has since become an HBO Max original. The second season of the show will be premiering on Aug. 26, and it promises just as many hijinks as the first.
Without spoiling Season 2’s premise for those who have yet to check out Season 1, Schneider teased it in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “They went through all of last season being the other two. This season, when they’re the other two — again — they’re a little bit more galvanized to take control of their lives. So we see them really clawing to stake a claim on their lives in this season.”