How ‘the Other Two’ became a 2021 comedic hit

Sometimes when a show premieres, that inaugural season goes viral – becoming a hit right off the bat. Take “Mare of Easttown” or “Hacks” for example, two very different series, but each receiving its fair share of accolades from the start. For others (think “Schitt’s Creek”) it can be a slow burn and it takes a little while for the audience to figure it out and fall in love.

This is exactly what happened with “The other two”.

The show’s first season aired on Comedy Central in 2019, and its second season on HBO Max was nearing completion when references flooded my social feeds. So I started from the beginning, instantly falling in love. I was not the only one.

“I really feel – in a really lovely way – that it’s coming back to me more,” co-creator Sarah Schneider said TODAY via Zoom in on the show finding more popularity in its second season. “I have friends from high school and friends from earlier stages of my life reaching out to me, which didn’t really happen with the first season. There was a difference this time around.”

Following an overnight pop star inspired by Justin Bieber, the show centers on ChaseDreams’ two much older siblings – Brooke and Cary Dubek – who just don’t have their sex together. Their mother is played by the iconic Molly Shannon, who plays a kind of Kate Gosselin, but much more adorable and weird.

Molly Shannon and Case Walker.HBO MAX

“We wanted there to be these big jokes, these big characters, these big moves and live in this pop culture world, but then we wanted to care about the characters. So for that reason, we consider this to be a family show, ”said co-creator Chris Kelly TODAY. “We think of their relationship to each other and in particular the friendship of Brooke and Cary that founds the whole series. That was our intention.

Brooke – played by Helene Yorke – starts off as a failing real estate agent who has to sleep in the listed apartments she is supposed to show. Then there’s his brother Cary – played by Drew Tarver – who starts out as an unemployed actor who also happens to be gay. But as the series continues, the two siblings begin to monopolize – willingly and reluctantly – their younger brother’s success and burgeoning career. Brooke becomes his manager and Cary starts doing acting gigs.

“That’s what’s fun about the season, isn’t it? They’re starting to be successful but don’t see it as success because they keep moving the goalposts for themselves.” , said Yorke TODAY. “You have that goal in mind, you get there, but there is always this other place to reach. We all suffer in many ways, to continually think about your life in that way where once you get something you you’re making a new shooting star. It’s a universal theme that we can all relate to. “

Hélène Yorke in the role of Brooke Dubek.HBO MAX

“It’s also fun to be surprised at what you’re good at, and I think that’s what happens to Brooke in season two, realizing how capable she is,” Yorke added. “I think you know we all feel like everyone’s so good at whatever they do, but you come to this place and you’re like, ‘Wait… I could do that. Yes this nobody can do it, me too.

Yorke’s character, Brooke, accepts this much sooner than Tarver’s character, Drew, who is much more resistant to taking advantage of his brother’s viral fame overnight. Maybe it’s because he takes himself seriously as an actor or because he always accepts himself as he is.

“When you want to be an actor, do comedy, or get attention, you go on an adventure and sometimes when you get it you’re like, ‘Oh, wait, wait. People know me. C ‘is stressful’. ”Tarver said TODAY. “When people start to get to know family and recognize Cary on the street, I think he’s trying to dig his heels a little bit and slow down because it feels out of hand. But Brooke is like, ‘Hey, you gotta let this go. kind of stuff. You have to ride this wave, ”and I think it’s harder for Cary to come to terms with that. ”

Cary is starting to be accepted and celebrated for who he is – ChaseDreams’ older gay brother – but maybe he’s not really okay with that to begin with, which is why he feels more at home. comfortable acting like someone else. But here the audience really love him for him, but do they really love him for him?

The hilarious Wanda Sykes is also on the bill.HBO MAX

“Yes. He’s definitely faced with a bit of self-hatred throughout both seasons,” Tarver said when asked about it. “He definitely has a crush on people who are not available… dating his ‘straight’ roommate. Then when people accept him for who he is, he doesn’t have much love for himself, so it does. makes him uncomfortable. He’s publicly trying to awkwardly accept himself as he walks forward, in front of strangers. “

Part of the writing here that is so groundbreaking is Cary’s quirk that seems particularly accomplished and doesn’t sound like something we see a lot on TV.

“There are a lot of gay characters on TV, so sometimes you approach it and say, ‘What haven’t we seen in other gay characters on TV? “Said Kelly, who is gay.” In The Writers “In the play, we would be talking about the actual experiences we had that are funny or fucked up or that feel relatable but not like the first thing you saw in a thousand other shows. So it was fun to approach and tell more stories than you might have seen before, but from a gay angle. Like the asshole episode. “

Drew Tarver as Cary Dubek.HBO MAX

Kelly refers to an episode where Cary takes an extremely personal nude selfie and texts it to someone, not realizing the photo is live and her face is visible in a frame. The photo is going viral, in part because he’s already a bit famous himself. From their hilarity and chaos ensues. (The episode may be one of the funniest – and gayest – episodes on TV yet. never.)

“The more people are aware of him, the harder the humiliated bites get,” Tarver said. “But I love the way the show deals with elements of fame. Can you not be famous? Can you put the toothpaste back in the tube if you haven’t figured it out enough yourself?”

Brooke seems to agree a lot more with maybe being seen as a fraud, and that inspires her with a fearlessness that ultimately sets her up for more success earlier in the series. Maybe it’s because of his nerve; Writer Matt Rogers used the term “strong but false” to describe Brooke. “She goes with a lot of enthusiasm after all, but generally, shit.”

“She walks into situations with confidence even if she’s faking it,” Kelly said. “She’s disjointed, she’s going to lie, she’s going to sneak up, she’s going to walk behind a red carpet. She’s going to get what she wants by any means necessary, which is sort of what maybe isn’t. not great at all about her She definitely does things that are not “right” but those are the things that make her a good manager. She’s just a fun character to write for. You can say whatever you like. wish, but you never would. “

Tarver and Yorke in “The Asshole Episode”.HBO MAX

“She has a very refreshing way of expressing her frustrations,” Yorke said. “She doesn’t just hold back. For comedy sake, she says things out loud that you might think.”

And in many ways, Yorke can relate to the “impostor syndrome” that his character sometimes experiences. “When you think of celebrity you think everything is so fancy when you just browse the craft services and figure out what’s on for lunch,” she said. “It’s not as glamorous as you think. (The writers) hit that in a really fun way.”

Some of that experience can be told by the creators, who met while writing to “Saturday Night Live” ten years ago. They left together in 2017 after several successful seasons writing some of the best material from the iconic comedy sketch show for quite some time. But when they left 30 Rockefellers every night, no one was waiting for their autograph.

“I think it’s just a question, like, no matter where you end up in your life, you always think it’s going to be different than it is,” Kelly said. “You look at people who don’t have to wait for tables anymore and are like ‘God, when I don’t have to wait for tables anymore and can do my whole life in the entertainment industry, then I’ll be a no one like these people are. ‘”

“And then you get to these places and you look around and you don’t feel like you mean it. It’s not as easy as being in a movie – in fact, your life can still. suck. It’s more complicated than that. It’s just interesting to hit some benchmarks in your life that you would have always imagined like the top of a mountain, and then say to yourself, “Oh, eh, I don’t. still have no money. I am still not sure of myself. “”

Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider.Greg Endries / HBO MAX

But that can change for the duo in real life.

When Schneider was shopping at a “random store” in upstate New York last October, a scene from the show started playing loudly on her phone after someone tagged her in a post on Instagram.

A woman shopping next to her immediately recognized that the sound sequence was from “The Other Two” and made sure to express her love for the series.

“I told him straight away that I was a designer,” Schneider explained. “I was just too excited. This had never happened to me before. “

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