It has been just over two and a half years since The Other Two premiered on Comedy Central (January 24, 2019). Just over two years since The Other Two ended its first season (March 28, 2019). Just over two years since it was renewed for a second season (February 11, 2019). Just over one year since it was officially moved to HBO Max—alongside Southside—from Comedy Central (August 13, 2020). And on Thursday, August 26, 2021, The Other Two finally returns for its second season. Yes—in this climate. And surprisingly, perhaps even improbably, this 10-episode season (of which six episodes were watched for this review) may somehow be even more packed with jokes per minute than the first.
When last we left The Other Two’s Dubek clan, 14-year-old Chase (Case Walker)—aka viral pop singing sensation ChaseDreams—had just bombed at the VMAs and decided to retire from music altogether to attend college—NYU, or New York University to be exact. While that choice might have made it seem like the Dubeks would then no longer be in the public eye, that news was immediately followed by the season-ending reveal that matriarch Pat (Molly Shannon) would be hosting her very own daytime talk show—a natural conclusion to things, as the season had planted seeds throughout of Pat’s own star rising. As a result, Brooke (Heléne Yorke) and Cary (Drew Tarver) would continue to remain “The Other Two” of the celebrity family, only in a new, different kind of embarrassing way. In fact, the ending was perfect for the ethos that series creators/co-showrunners Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider have had about the very concept of “The Other Two.” According to Schneider, “We like the idea of the dynamic within the family constantly shifting and maybe even like, who ‘The Other Two’ is shifting based on what’s going on with the rest of them.”
As this season will have a two-episode a week structure, each The Other Two drop will come from a place of both Chase and Pat’s current status, beginning with the premiere “Chase Goes to College” and the second episode “Pat Connects with Her Fans.” That means, every week, there’s a double dose of Brooke and Cary being “The Other Two.” But while Brooke and Cary are still the most obvious “other two,” this second season works in interesting ways to both help them grow and become successes in their own right while also continuing to show just how big of a mess they both are. Plus, with manager-slash-Pat lover Streeter (Ken Marino) still very much in the picture and believing that he’s part of the Dubek family, there’s always the concept of “the other one” on the table. Especially when you consider that this season has Streeter more focused on becoming the fill-in patriarch to the family, despite them still barely considering him at all.
Despite airing—yet again—over two years after the first season, The Other Two season two actually starts things up just a month after the events of the first season finale. (18-year-old Walker somewhat stretched believability as a 13-turned-14-year-old in the first season, but that fact becomes especially funny, albeit unintentionally, this season.) But as easily as fame comes to the non-Brooke and Cary members of the Dubek family, a month is really all that it takes for Pat’s talk show (Pat! The Pat Dubek Show) to become wildly successful, with citizens of New York now recognizing Brooke and Cary (who has become “Gay Son nee Brother”) because of that. But for the Other Two, Brooke is now working as a music manager—scrolling through TikTok, desperate for a new client, as the person who was technically her sole client has retired and gone off to college—having finally found her calling. She even has the hairstyle to prove it. Cary is still not living his Serious New York Actor dreams, but in a way, he is doing better than he was in the first season: He has a new agent, numerous hosting gigs, and an actual boyfriend, Jess (Gideon Glick).
As for Brooke’s love life, don’t worry, everyone: Lance (Josh Segarra) is still around to loveably dab his way in and out of the season, giving out his himbo gems of wisdom when he can.
While The Other Two’s first season introduced success as something both Brooke and Cary often talked about wanting and what that looked like to them, this second season introduces the reality of them actually finding success, even when it’s not quite what they expected. What does it mean for Brooke to become a successful manager? What does it mean for Cary to finally have a boyfriend? What are Brooke and Cary willing to do to maintain their status and gain upward mobility? Does Streeter actually look better as a blond? These are the questions this season of The Other Two asks. And it does so by maintaining what made the first season work so well: It never portrays Brooke and Cary’s frustrations and pettiness as something that’s used as a weapon against the more famous Chase and Pat. Even at its most biting, The Other Two consistently and constantly shows how strong the Dubek family unit is, even when certain members are envious.
Plus, its biting humor and wit remain from moment one. The amount of jokes in just the first 30 seconds of the season premiere—even in just onscreen text—is an instant reminder of just how dense and astute of a comedy machine The Other Two is. As the series exists in such a realistic, relatable, and recognizable world, all of those comedic moments where it’s just slightly askew continue to hit hard, especially when it comes to the celebrity culture in which these characters find themselves in. Whether it’s a joke about Blake Lively’s new restaurant or Jesse Metcalfe’s very existence or people who may or may not be Mayim Bialik, The Other Two’s second season is a comedy that understands and loves pop culture—both the very good and the very bad. (The Bieber/ChaseDreams comparison grows stronger this season, as it eventually introduces a Hillsong-esque church.) Kind of in the way 30 Rock ultimately proved itself to be a “documentary” of working at NBC, The Other Two is that way when it comes to being immersed in pop culture, especially Very Online pop culture.
While the end of season one suggested that this season would solely be about Pat as “the famous one” in the family, season two still focuses on ChaseDreams (who is the most affected by the time jump, as puberty really hit). Season one had a simple enough episode naming structure, as each title focused on whatever Chase was doing in that episode, even if he actually had the least screentime of any of the characters. (Episodes like “Chase Gets the Gays or “Chase Shoots a Music Video.”)
One of The Other Two’s most biting pop culture statements in the first season was ChaseDreams’ music. Unfortunately his upsettingly catchy pop songs don’t return. This season definitively proves it doesn’t need those songs to be funny, though—they were just another tool in its arsenal. Especially when you have Molly Shannon in your cast, who simply continues to prove time and time again, from comedy to drama, just how talented she is. Plus, once you’ve done “Stink,” there’s really no other place to go but down, musically speaking. The Other Two remains proof positive that satire and parody doesn’t need to come from a harsh place to work, even in—again—this climate.
Despite her mother’s wishes, LaToya Ferguson is a writer living in Los Angeles. If you want to talk The WB’s image campaigns circa 1999-2003, LaToya’s your girl. Her writing has been featured in The A.V. Club, IndieWire, and Entertainment Weekly, among other publications. You can find her tweets about TV shows, movies, and music you completely forgot about @lafergs.