The Other Two’s second season premieres Thursday, Aug. 26 on HBO Max.
One of the best under-the-radar comedy series is back with a vigorous vengeance as The Other Two — which aired for one season on Comedy Central in beginning of 2019 — returns on HBO Max for an extremely welcome second helping. One of the quickest and sharpest shows since 30 Rock, The Other Two remains in top form, with both the writing and performances hitting it out of the freakin’ park.
A couple of years go, right before 2020 spun us like a top, Comedy Central purged its live-action comedies. Only Awkwafina’s Nora From Queens remains now, and it seemed like The Other Two would go the way of Drunk History and Corporate. But thankfully, it’s migrated over to HBO Max, where you can also watch (or revisit) Season 1 and get caught up for this week’s double-episode Season 2 premiere. It’s laugh-out-loud satire with a glorious balance between biting dark humor and feel-good warmth.
Season 1 ended with young ChaseDreams (Case Walker) “biffing it at the VMAs” (as a reporter puts it at the top of the premiere, “Chase Goes to College”), seemingly tanking the Dubek family’s money and fame train. But worry not, matriarch Pat (Molly Shannon) still has her hit daytime talk show and Chase isn’t quite done with the limelight yet (despite an initial yearning to go to NYU). Season 2 keeps the roller coaster loop-de-looping with some truly hilarious takes on the realms of celebrity and entertainment as Chase’s older siblings — the titular Other Two — Cary (Drew Tarver) and Brooke (Heléne Yorke) find themselves at a new place in their lives where they might be on the precipice of thriving.
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The characters, and overall comedy, can be a bit vicious, but The Other Two never crumbles because they each will usually, in the end, do right by each other. Cary and Brooke’s awkward cynicism and outsider perspective is always pitted against Pat and Chase’s befuddled optimism, with each side playing off the other brilliantly. Pat could easily have been painted as shallow stage mom, but she’s really just presented as if any ol’ mom just sort of stumbled into showbiz. She can be self-centered, but it’s always coming from a place of joy and wild openness.
The first episode back, “Chase Goes to College,” deals with the direct aftermath of Season 1 as Cary and Brooke try to mold and manifest their Chase-peripheral careers. With Pat now the giddy spotlighted breadwinner in the family, Cary bounces between cheeky internet hosting gigs (red carpet reports for Age Net Worth Feet, silly spots for Bagel Bites TV) while Brooke attempts to wrangle herself a new Chase-type kid star. It’s a solid premiere that nicely re-establishes the series’ clever, rapid fire pace (it’s been a minute since Season 1, after all) and sets up all the characters for new adventures. Meanwhile, Ken Marino is still stealthily killing it as Streeter, Chase’s whimsically insecure co-manager (and Pat’s boyfriend).
The second episode is even better than the first, however, as “Pat Connects With Her Fans” features Brooke and Cary in two separately hilarious stories connected to Pat’s show, allowing for a deepening of character for all involved. Brooke, as Pat’s manager, begins to recognize her mom’s true talent for connecting with people while Cary and boyfriend Jess (Gideon Glick) attempt to “normalize” their gay relationship in front of a man they think is a conservative midwestern father. Both of these side quests are immensely rewarding, but the latter provides some of the best comedy beats of the past few years.
Considering that The Other Two’s return may come as a surprise for some fans, since the renewal news came exactly a year ago during a particularly troubling summer for society, this new run of episodes is purely and simply a gift. Created by former SNL writers Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider, this chaotically clever and ridiculous show is perfect for those who might like their wit a bit acerbic and a touch vulgar. It’ll make you cackle and cringe in the best ways.