‘The Other Two’ Is Taking “Big Swings” In Season Three
Fans of The Other Two—the HBO Max comedy created, written, and executive produced by former SNL head writers Sarah Schneider and Chris Kelly—are used to a bit of jumping around. The critical darling, which follows Brooke and Cary Dubek (Heléne Yorke and Drew Tarver) in their quest to escape the shadow of their Justin Bieber–esque brother, ChaseDreams (Case Walker)—and, eventually, the shadow of their Ellen DeGeneres–adjacent talk show host mother, Pat (Molly Shannon)—premiered on Comedy Central in 2019 before getting scooped up by the streamer for its second season. Nearly two years after making the leap from cable to streaming, The Other Two returns to HBO Max on May 4 for its third season, where it will make its biggest leap yet.
After cruising through everything from a Hillsong-inspired baptism to an event dedicated to unveiling a secret Hadid’s face, season two ended on perhaps the best one-off pandemic joke we’ve seen on TV so far. Struggling actor Cary finally got a starring role in an indie film, with rehearsals set to begin—when else?—March 13, 2020. So, is season three all about the harrowing journey of making an indie film about essential workers amidst a global pandemic?
Yes, says Kelly. “All 10 episodes take place in real time on March 12, 2020.”
He’s joking. Instead, Kelly and Schneider wisely decided to jump three years into the future for season three. “We did just skip right the hell over that,” Kelly says. “Please make sure you print that this is not, like, a COVID show. We are not all about COVID now.”
But season three doesn’t pretend the pandemic didn’t happen, either. “Our show is so grounded in what feels real and current. We didn’t want to make a show that completely ignored our current situation and the ongoing effects of living through a global pandemic,” says Schneider. (Fittingly, we’re talking over Zoom.) “We are three years in the future, but all of our characters have been impacted in some way by what we’ve all gone through. And we just tried to explore different funny routes that that would take them.”
Season two ended with Cary and Brooke both finding success in their own right—with Cary’s acting career finally taking off and Brooke becoming manager for every other member of her family. But that doesn’t mean all their problems have gone away. If anything, the more things change, the more things stay the same.
“With the time jump, the family is years into being part of the public eye,” Tarver tells me in a separate Zoom call with Yorke. “I feel like they’ve settled into their fame, or their notoriety, and the issues that they were dealing with have become more commonplace. There’s maybe a deeper layer of, I guess, humiliation and sadness that comes along with that. The show continues to deliver in terms of the characters being humiliated—the ‘other two’ getting humiliated—in a very exciting, funny, new way.”
The intersection between humiliation and hilarity has always been The Other Two’s bread and butter, whether that’s involved Cary’s nude accidentally going “gay-viral” or Brooke inadvertently leading a “Women can suck!” chant at a panel. But season two proved that The Other Two also excels at pointed cultural satire, with sharp takes on everything from HGTV to Vogue. Cary’s season two dalliance with Dean, a straight actor who wanted to seem gay in public, predated proliferating discussions of “queerbaiting,” while Pat’s talk show, Pat!, arrived right around the morning talk show renaissance that also brought us The Drew Barrymore Show, The Kelly Clarkson Show, and The Jennifer Hudson Show. Clearly, “Pat’s influence knows no bounds,” Kelly jokes. “This is all because of Pat.”