Heléne Yorke and Drew Tarver in 'The Other Two'

HBO Max’s The Other Two Is a Brilliant Satire of Success and Stardom

The second season challenges its characters by giving them a taste of what they want.
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It’s been nearly two and half years since we last saw The Other Two, Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider’s viciously funny comedy series about fame. The Comedy Central series has since jumped to HBO Max, where it is hitting its stride as a niche satire of celebrity culture.

The first season saw siblings Cary (Drew Tarver) and Brooke (Heléne Yorke) trying to piggyback off of the success of their little brother Chase, who has become pop superstar ChaseDreams. Accompanied by stage mom Pat (the always amazing Molly Shannon), the two older siblings try to launch their respective entertainment careers in Chase’s shadow, with limited success.

While the first season of the show saw Cary and Brooke trying to make a name for themselves, the series blew up its core concept in its season finale, where Chase has a disastrous performance at the VMAs. Season two picks up in the aftermath, with a new celebrity family member. Pat is now a hugely successful daytime talk show host, where she spends much of her time misidentifying her celebrity guests and talking about her children’s personal lives.

Meanwhile, Cary sees some success in a series of hosting gigs for digital content like Age, Net Worth, Feet, and The Gay Minute. While Cary is employed by the likes of Thrillist and Bagel Bites TV, he is still struggling to find real acting work. He also has his first real boyfriend in Jess (Gideon Glick). Brooke meanwhile, has become Pat’s manager (along with Ken Marino’s Streeter) but discovers that the manager life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

The Other Two shares DNA with Hulu’s criminally underrated Difficult People, another razor-sharp satire of the entertainment industry. Both series focus on a close-knit duo, a gay man and a straight woman, who simultaneously loathe and long for fame. And while Difficult People doubles down on the terrible qualities of Billy (Billy Eichner) and Julie (Julie Klausner), The Other Two is spending its second season maturing its fame-hungry characters.

As both Brooke and Cary get a taste of success, they are shocked to find that getting what they wanted doesn’t necessarily lead to happiness. Brooke is now the high-powered #girlboss of her dreams, complete with her own enormous NYC apartment, but can’t find anyone to share it with. Cary, on the other hand, has a loving and supportive boyfriend, but realizes that maybe he’s not ready to settle down. And while he’s become a recognizable host, his acting dreams seem further away than ever.

As for Pat, her hectic schedule has forced her to be awake at night and asleep during the day, and she spends all her time staging fan meet-and-greets. Pat’s exhaustive schedule is mined for laughs, but the season seems to building to a breaking point for her. While there is still plenty of cringe comedy to be found, the series is doubling down on the relationship between Cary and Brooke, offering warmth and character growth that effectively grounds the absurdity.

The Other Two knows that fame is fleeting and success is often filtered through self-marketing on social media. In giving Brooke and Cary a taste of success, the series is giving both characters emotional depth and vulnerability that was hinted at in the first season. I’m excited to see where this hilarious and heartfelt series takes us.

The Other Two is currently streaming on HBO Max.

(image: ZACH DILGARD/HBO)

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Author
Image of Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.