The Other Two, the funniest show on television right now, just wrapped up its stellar second season with two episodes that drew the Dubek clan even closer together after testing the limits of mixing work and family. Starting on Comedy Central before moving over to HBO Max, the series tackles the complications of an adjacency to fame when the teenage brother of adult siblings Cary and Brooke Dubek (Drew Tarver and Heléne Yorke) becomes the overnight singing sensation “Chase Dreams”—and they are forced to grapple with their own unfulfilled dreams. Helmed by Saturday Night Live alums Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider, The Other Two is a send-up of celebrity and media culture by way of a family-centered comedy, and does so with incredible joke writing and comedic performances.
Tarver and Yorke’s tag team as the titular “other two” is a match made in comedic heaven. Tarver is appropriately cynical and Yorke is elegantly brash, each imbuing just the right amount of New York asshole into their characters as they go through the motions of somewhat pathetic professional and personal lives—especially in comparison to their Justin Bieber-esque younger brother. Season 2 sees the duo ascending to even greater heights as Cary’s dream of becoming a real actor is within reach, and Brooke’s hot mess energy is channeled into a newfound career as a talent manager. But both must deal with their own imposter syndrome and play the fame game in order to navigate the bumpy road to Hollywood success. Through Cary the show dissects online gay culture via Grindr hookups and InstaGay friends while also poking fun at Hollywood’s emphasis on multihyphenate artists; Brooke’s storyline meanwhile is a look at the business side of entertainment, where more is never enough.
An ensemble show that also features the always hilarious and incredibly warm Molly Shannon as Dubek matriarch Pat, the show’s secret ingredient has been Heléne Yorke as Brooke, who is at once lovable and callous. Brooke, who by season’s end now manages her brother, her mom, and an A-list celebrity, often acts as her family’s protector from the claws of celebrity culture while simultaneously playing directly into the ridiculous standards of the industry. Yorke’s performance grounds that dichotomy perfectly. The most socially savvy of the Dubek clan, she knows how to play situations to her advantage and always veers toward the brink of immorality before thinking WWPD? (What Would Pat Do?), which makes her back away from that ledge.
Yorke is even more of a standout in Season 2, which has been a showcase for her comedic timing, both in line delivery and physical comedy. After being the snarky sister with no real direction for much of Season 1, Brooke enters Season 2 with a glow up as a high-powered media executive. Her new career brings her newfound fame and lands her at coveted parties and on dates with rich men—breeding grounds for Yorke’s perfect portrayal of Brooke as a try-hard who masks her desires because she thinks it’ll make her uncool.
It’s hard to pick a favorite Brooke moment from a season rich with so many laugh-out-loud sequences, especially in the back half of the season, but I’ll try. When she’s vying to become a “30 Under 30” recipient, Brooke stalks the decision-maker and name-drops herself in as many accents as she can muster. Once she’s made it on the list, she prances into the photoshoot with an enviable amount of confidence and three suitcases full of clothes only to be deflated immediately with a final picture that resembles a passport photo. Desperate to pretend the award means nothing to her, while being upset that it actually doesn’t seem to mean much to the other recipients, only later is she given encouragement by her ex-boyfriend Lance (the ever-charming Josh Segarra) to celebrate what she’s worked for and earned with pride rather than self-consciousness.
Yorke knows how to deliver a joke on time and with gusto, but it’s even funnier when she’s playing a physical sight gag alongside it. In “Pat Gets an Offer to Host Tic Tac Toe,” Brooke cozies up to a star athlete and ends up sleeping with him, but not before she fills in Lance and his new girlfriend on every detail. In an incredible sequence with the camera stationary in the bathroom, Brooke bursts through the door in various stages of disrobing to provide an update in real time. When she finally crashes in butt naked, exclaiming, “OKAY WE ARE HAVING SEX!” the escalation pays off.
Occasionally her antics are borderline cringe, like when she participates in a women’s panel about feminism and empowerment, but psychs herself out on every question and ends up saying “...pass.” Yorke’s facial expressions as she sifts through her discomfort are comedic gold, and when she finally finds an opening to defend herself, she commits one hundred percent—and is rewarded for it.
The Other Two excels because it makes fun of institutions we inherently trust, pulling the curtain back to expose the inner (sometimes backwards) workings of our culture, using top-tier jokes and talent to execute. HBO Max hasn’t made any announcements yet about Season 3, but it would be a mistake not to renew the series and show us the next chapter of Cary’s “Night Nurse” saga (starting March 13th, 2020!), whether Brooke and Lance reunite, and how the Dubek’s deal with pandemic (as much as we don’t need any more COVID content, there is no show I’d rather see tackle the topic). And while they’re at it, HBO Max should throw some money behind Yorke’s Emmy campaign next year, too.
Radhika Menon is a pop culture-obsessed writer and filmmaker living in New York City. Her work has appeared in NY Post’s Decider, Teen Vogue, and will be featured in Brown Girl Magazine‘s first ever print anthology. She is a proud alumna of the University of Michigan and thinks she’s funny on Twitter.
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