Your TV choices are endless these days, from broadcast to basic and premium to endless streaming offerings, the amount of original content is overwhelming. A lot of the shows are good, but only some of them are special, like The Other Two.
Comedy Central’s new comedy from Saturday Night Live veterans Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider tells the tale of Brooke (Heléne Yorke) and Cary (Drew Tarver), the two siblings of an overnight pop sensation named Chase Dreams (Case Walker). The cast also includes Molly Shannon as their Midwestern mom, Pat, Ken Marino as Chase’s manager, Streeter, and a who’s who of famous guest stars including Wanda Sykes, Hoda Kotb, Beck Bennett, Richard Kind and The Real Housewives of New York City‘s Tinsley Mortimer in one of the best quick gags you’ll see all year.
It’s not the rotating slate of guest stars that makes The Other Two so special, rather it’s how bitingly perfect the series is at portraying so many different aspects of life.
There is the messy millennial (“it’s 1982 and after”) aspect, which is always a relatable comedy approach. Brooke is floundering in her personal and professional life, Cary is struggling to make a living as an actor. These stories aren’t new, but it’s how The Other Two uses the situations for comedy, while satirizing the entertainment industry. Kelly and Schneider comment on the Hollywood through the eyes of the main characters, “the other two,” as they watch their brother become enveloped in fame.
The outlandish situations depicted on the show, like sneaking into a premiere, setting up the teen pop star in a fake relationship for publicity, don’t seem outlandish at all. The Other Two keeps everything grounded in humor. Awkward moments are allowed to marinate, and the cast is skilled at nailing them. The clip below is a perfect example, specifically Cary’s word vomit confession of past deviant behavior and Pat’s reaction. Shannon nails the line perfectly in a way you can hear your own mother saying that.
And it’s Cary where The Other Two really excels. A gay character, played by a member of the LGBTQ community, written by another member of the community is something rarely seen in TV. Yep, even in 2019.
“When I read the script, I was like, ‘Oh, this feels like some real queer issues that I haven’t seen.’ It’s not as shied-away from. There’s straight-up kissing. There’s masturbation to men. I needed to see this on TV as a queer person growing up. This is very important and exciting for me to get a chance to do this. And I’ve dealt with, in my real life, internalized homophobia that I think Cary is going through and trying to figure out,” Tarver told Out.
For a time, Cary is in a NSA type of situation with his “straight” roommate that makes him feel shameful. It’s a situation viewers have seen portrayed by heterosexual characters, not a messy, mistake-making homosexual character—not reduced to the sidekick role or a walking stereotype—is few and far between on TV. At one point Cary thanks somebody for assuming he wasn’t gay. There’s a lot to unpack there, a lot to explore that hasn’t been done on TV before.
“Cary is a flawed character. He does things that he shouldn’t necessarily do, but he’s in a position where maybe that’s the best he can do right then. Maybe he can only make out with his straight roommate because he has some sexuality issues that it’s scary for him to really sit across the table from another man who is available and actually date them. So, I think that’s all really cool stuff to see on Comedy Central. And I was very excited to be able to play that out as an actor,” Tarver said.
And it’s really cool stuff to see as a viewer.
The Other Two airs Thursdays, 10:30 p.m. on Comedy Central.
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