If you love nonstop pop culture references and pitch-perfect song parodies, then The Other Two should immediately jump to the top of your watchlist. It is one of the sharpest, most self-assured comedies of the past few years, and with its recent move to streaming on HBO Max, it deserves to be seen by a larger audience than it received during its initial 2019 run on Comedy Central.
The Other Two opens with a barrage of entertainment news heralding the arrival of music’s “next big white kid,” 13-year-old Chase Dubek, aka ChaseDreams (Case Walker). Chase’s song “I Wanna Marry U At Recess” has gone insanely viral, and he’s riding the wave of fame along with his mom, Pat (Molly Shannon). Before The Other Two strays too far into being a straight-up Justin Bieber parody, it pivots to Chase’s older siblings. His brother Cary (Drew Tarver) is auditioning to play “man at party who smells fart” in a commercial, while his sister Brooke (Heléne Yorke) is squatting in an empty apartment she’s meant to be selling. Chase’s new fame immediately puts their lives into harsh perspective.
The Other Two smartly steers away from Cary and Brooke being overly jealous of their little brother. Instead, they’re protective of him. As Chase’s new manager (Ken Marino) and a record label executive (Wanda Sykes) try to keep Chase in the spotlight by any means possible — including plotting a fake relationship with another teen star and dyeing his tongue so it remains perfectly pink — Cary and Brooke question whether any of this can be good for Chase. More than that, is it okay for them to use their brother’s newfound fame to chase their own dreams?
In its first (and so far, only) season, The Other Two accomplishes what other shows may struggle for ages to achieve.
Tarver and Yorke shine as Cary and Brooke. They perfectly balance their characters’ outrageousness and flaws (of which there are many) with concern for each other and for Chase. It’s a joy to watch them, whether they’re navigating a movie premiere or a middle school dance. The rest of the ensemble does great work as well: Shannon’s performance as their mother is fun and nuanced, especially in scenes where Pat, Cary, and Brooke strive to keep a big family secret from Chase. Marino’s Streeter is equal parts sleazeball and sad sack, Sykes nails every scene she’s in, and Walker is a welcome surprise as Chase. It would have been all too easy to make Chase a brat, but Walker plays him as sweet and earnest.
Above all else, The Other Two is hilarious. Its jokes fly fast and hit hard. A running gag about Justin Theroux is particularly funny, as are Chase’s other songs, “My Brother’s Gay and That’s Okay!” and “Stink.” Creators Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider were behind some of Saturday Night Live‘s best musical sketches, including “(Do It On My) Twin Bed” and “Back Home Ballers,” and they bring that same humor and flair to The Other Two.
In its first (and so far, only) season, The Other Two accomplishes what other shows may struggle for ages to achieve. There’s hardly any of the awkwardness of a show trying to find its sea legs. The Other Two‘s cast of characters hits the screen with a bang, fully realized and ready for antics. And while there are antics aplenty, the show never loses sight of the genuine emotion at its core. The Other Two is an effective and heartfelt satire of fame and the entertainment industry, and with a second season on its way, it’s important to catch up. Just make sure you’re ready to have Chase’s songs stuck in your head for weeks after you watch it.