The Playmaker
Let's play
PLAYMAKER
  • It's Friday
    What day is it?
  • Now
    What time is it?
  • Anywhere in Brisbane
    Where are you?
  • What do you feel like?
    What do you feel like?
  • And what else?
    And what else?
  • LET'S PLAY

Showbiz Satire 'The Other Two' Is Still the Funniest Comedy on TV in Its Stellar Third Season

Skewering celebrity, the whole entertainment industry and chasing fame dreams doesn’t get any sharper than this.
By Sarah Ward
May 04, 2023
  shares
By Sarah Ward
May 04, 2023
  shares

Swapping Saturday Night Live for an entertainment-parodying sitcom worked swimmingly for Tina Fey. Since 2019, it's also been going hilariously for Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider. Not just former SNL writers but the veteran sketch comedy's ex-head writers, Kelly and Schneider have been giving the world their own 30 Rock with the sharp, smart and sidesplitting The Other Two. Their angle: focusing on the adult siblings of a Justin Bieber-style teen popstar who've always had their own showbiz aspirations — he's an actor, she was a ballerina — who then find themselves the overlooked children of a momager-turned-daytime television host as well.

Cary (Drew Tarver, History of the World: Part II) and Brooke (Heléne York, Katy Keene) Dubek are happy for Chase (Case Walker, Monster High: The Movie). And when their mother Pat (Molly Shannon, I Love That for You) gets her own time in the spotlight, becoming Oprah-level famous, they're equally thrilled for her. But ChaseDreams, their little brother's stage name, has always been a constant reminder that their own ambitions keep being outshone — and in a first season that proved one of the best new shows of 2019, a second season in 2021 that was just as much of a delight and now a stellar third go-around that streams from Thursday, May 4 via Binge, they've never been above getting petty and messy about it.

Back in that debut run, Kelly and Schneider made a simple but savvy choice: naming each instalment around whatever Chase was doing, whether he was getting a girlfriend or a nosebleed, turning 14 or dropping his first album. The series may be called The Other Two, but even the episode titles put Cary and Brooke to the side, fitting in an extra running joke about their brother coming first. Season two kept the trend going; however, it split most of its monikers between Chase and Pat as the latter's success eclipsed her son's. So, Pat connected with her fans, became number one in the daytime market and, with Chase, all-round killed it. Then a big realisation dropped, with Brooke's work as an entertainment manager — first to Chase, then to Pat — and Cary's thespian quest becoming just as much of an everyday reality.

What's season three to do now that the titular other two aren't just hanging around with stars in their eyes and resentment in their hearts? The better question, as Kelly and Schneider know, is what will Cary and Brooke do?  They've spent the past few years constantly comparing themselves to Chase, then to Pat, but now they're successful on their own — and still chaotic, and completely unable to change their engrained thinking. Forget the whole "the grass is always greener" adage. No matter if they're faking it or making it, nothing is ever perfectly verdant for this pair or anyone in their orbit. Still, as Brooke wonders whether her dream gig is trivial after living through a pandemic, she starts contemplating if she should be doing more meaningful work like her fashion designer-turned-nurse boyfriend Lance (Josh Segarra, The Big Door Prize). And with Cary's big breaks never quite panning out as planned, he gets envious of his fellow-actor BFF Curtis (Brandon Scott Jones, Ghosts).

Striving, seeming like you're thriving but still diving: that's The Other Two's three-season arc. The series has always been as acerbic about getting to the top as yearning for it — Chase has never been all that fussed with his fame, including now that he's 18 — and it doesn't waver in its latest splash. Outlandish situations, grounded insights and emotions: that's The Other Two's realm, too. Pat is at the owning-her-own-network stage of Oprah-dom, but pines for the easy pleasures of a family dinner at Applebees that can only happen through movie magic. Brooke is so obsessed with doing something worthy that she can't see what her nearest and dearest are truly worth. And Cary is both unhappy in a relationship with a more-famous actor (Fin Argus, Queer as Folk) who never slips out character and desperate to do anything himself to stay relevant.

Even more so in season three, The Other Two isn't afraid of getting existential, or dark. It's still as cutting about everything from social-media trends and celebrity fixations to ridiculous filler reality shows, however — and as gleefully absurd and surreal. One episode revolves around the quest to drive a photo of Chase's armpit across America because it's his first snap as an adult and it's that coveted. Another sees Brooke literally disappear at a glitzy party when she decides she's ditching the industry. And when Cary craves attention for his straight-to-streaming flick Night Nurse, which was back in action when season two ended and premiering when this season begins, he spends half a day on public transport to get to an interview with TheBrooklynBuritto.com.

This time around, The Other Two also finds room for lengthy satires of Pleasantville, Romeo + Juliet, Love, Victor and Angels in America, all via gags that are as inspired as they are amusing. Wes Anderson's penchant for symmetry gets a delicious jibe, and Teen Wolf's Dylan O'Brien, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina's Kiernan Shipka, The White Lotus' Lukas Gage and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings' Simu Liu make game guest stars. The one-liners keep dropping with 30 Rock-esque speed, while the writing is as piercing and astute as Barry at its best. Reliably, Ken Marino and Wanda Sykes remain in vintage form as Chase's manager Streeter and record-label executive Shuli; thanks to Party Down and Curb Your Enthusiasm, both are veterans at skewering show business.

Indeed, with York, Tarver, Shannon, Segarra and Jones as well, The Other Two has one of the best casts on TV. The funniest comedy on television deserves to. The show's stacked roster of talent is just as outstanding when season three gets dramatic, including when calling Cary and Brooke out on their egotism, having the ever-charming and -chill Lance get tired of being pushed aside and seeing Pat glean what all this chasing dreams has cost — always with just as much riotous laughs as feeling, of course.

Check out the trailer for The Other Two's third season below:

The Other Two streams via Binge from Thursday, May 4.

Published on May 04, 2023 by Sarah Ward
  •   shares
      shares
  • VIEW COMMENTS
Tap and select Add to Home Screen to access Concrete Playground easily next time. x
Counter Pixel