US networks churn out comedies at an astounding rate, most of which never make it across the Atlantic. Some do, only to trail off so quickly that it’s hard to remember if they ever really existed. Others hang around on the TV schedules, unwatched and unloved but still spouting canned laughter into an empty void that never laughs back. Rarely, one will cut through and grab the attention, a 30 Rock or Community or Brooklyn 99. Add The Other Two to that list.
Like so many other greats, The Other Two was ushered into the world by SNL, only to quickly outdo its parentage (well, the current iteration at least). The Comedy Central series (snapped up by E4 over here) is the brainchild of former SNL writers Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider. Kelly and Schneider were both on SNL at the time of Justin Bieber’s appearance (named by Bill Hader as the worst-behaved guest of all time), so it’s hard not to think that more than a little unbelieber went into The Other Two.
The other two of The Other Two are Cary and Brooke Dubek, older brother and sister to teen heartthrob ChaseDreams. Chase becomes an internet sensation when his music video goes viral, drawing all sort of toxic people into his orbit and forcing his siblings to re-examine their questionable life choices. Cary (Drew Tarver) is a struggling actor – auditioning for ‘man who smells fart at party’ when we first meet him – and is desperately trying to help draw his hunky flatmate out of the closet; Brooke (Heléne Yorke) is a directionless former dancer with a morality deficiency defined by her prolific use of the word ‘retarded’ on social media.
The Dubek family also includes their fame-obsessed mother Pat, brilliantly played by Molly Shannon as a woman who can excuse just about anything as a necessary evil, while Ken Marino adds another desperately pathetic cringeball to his repertoire as Chase’s manager Streeter. What sets Chase apart from too many Bieber comparisons is the kid’s obliviously sweet nature, setting him up as a good-hearted innocent surrounded by terrible people.
The Other Two comes out of the gate strongly with a superb pilot, but it really hits its stride with a brilliantly funny third episode, mostly set in Justin Theroux’s loft apartment – which has three saunas, a church dedicated to Justin’s self belief, a room full of black biker boots, a motorbike toilet and only one bed. Led by Chase’s new publicist, the family are forced to reveal any past indiscretions that could harm his fledgling career, leading to some disturbing revelations about a friend’s father and Christopher Meloni’s underwear.
It remains to be seen how far The Other Two can take its simple premise, but with its winning mix of pathos and wicked wit and internet culture’s bottomless supply of insanity, it should enjoy a long run.
- The Other Two is streaming now on All 4