By Alex Gonzalez
New episodes begin streaming today (August 26), this time on HBO Max after the show’s move to the streaming platform from Comedy Central. The new season of the celebrity culture satire sees the characters in new phases of their lives: Pat (played by Molly Shannon) is a daytime talk show host with a cult following, Brooke (Heléne Yorke) is a talent manager looking for her next big client, Cary (Drew Tarver) is a freelance host on various television and web shows, and Chase (Case Walker) is starting college.
Although two and a half years have passed since Season 1 of The Other Two ended, only a month has elapsed since Chase’s humiliating performance at the MTV Video Music Awards. Brooke and Cary are reeling over their mom’s newfound fame — and using it to their advantage as they navigate new opportunities within the entertainment industry.
“In the first season, [Cary] is digging his heels in trying to be less famous,” Tarver tells NewNowNext, “less known as this kid’s older brother and people screaming at him on the street. At first, he’s like, ‘Please stop. I don’t like this…’ He’s rolling with it a little bit more in the second season, based on Brooke’s advice of ‘Hey, you need to ride this wave. This is weird, but you need to get on board with this and try to make the best out of it.’”
Before Tarver landed his breakout role as Cary, he, like his character, relished in the fame of his siblings. Throughout his childhood, his younger sisters competed in pageants and singing competitions. Tarver himself couldn’t sing, so he would often stand in the background as his sisters sang tunes like Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen’s “Brother for Sale.”
One of his sisters, Katelyn, competed on the American Idol spinoff American Juniors, where she landed in the top five. “They flew our whole family out to L.A.,” Tarver remembers, “and we sat on the side of the stage. My sister would sing, and we would be like, ’We love her. She’s great.'” Katelyn has since seen success as an actress and singer-songwriter; however, during her journey as an artist, Tarver struggled to find a niche of his own. At 18, he moved to New York City to figure out what he wanted to do. He survived on waiting tables, catering gigs, and crashing on friends’ couches.
In The Other Two’s second season, viewers see Cary slowly begin to make strides as a public figure of his own accord. We also see him navigate gay dating with his first boyfriend, Jess (Broadway star Gideon Glick).
“I think he’s really struggling with himself and being a little bit self-hate-y in the first season,” Tarver says. “In the second season, he’s like ‘Okay, I have this boyfriend. I’m better now.’ But he’s also, through that process, realizing, ‘Maybe there are still some things I need to figure out about myself. But I need to hurry because I’m already in my late 20s and I gotta be finished by the time I’m 30.’”
Like ChaseDreams and The Pat Dubek Show, The Other Two developed a devoted following after its 2019 premiere. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic putting production on hold for more than two years, fans of the show kept anticipation for the second season alive through various screencaps and video clips, including the famous “gagging for you” clip.
“I was actually texting Kate Berlant [who plays talent agent Pitzi Pyle,]” show co-creator Chris Kelly says. “Because even when [it was announced] Season 2 was coming back, people were posting like, ‘I’m gagging for this, faggot.’ And I was like, ‘Kate, is this a burden?’ And she said it was an honor.”
Although this will be the first season of The Other Two to premiere on HBO Max, the scripts were written as though the episodes would air on Comedy Central. Kelly says streaming on the platform will allow for them to expand upon the stories and let them “breathe,” as opposed to fitting “zany zany zany” into a 22-minute time slot.
Season 2 also boasts an exciting lineup of guest stars, including Debi Masar, Alessia Cara, Bowen Yang, and Noah Galvin, the latter of which appears as a gay man visiting New York with his “daddy” (played by Tuc Watkins). In the episode, Cary and Jess show them some of their favorite spots in New York — like the High Line, which, ironically, didn’t fully exist when Tarver lived in New York.
Throughout the season, we see the Dubeks visit other iconic New York locations, such as Soho House in an episode satirizing celebrity churches. In this episode, Chase, Brooke, Cary, and Chase’s manager Streeter (Ken Marino) all get baptized to advance their careers.
According to Tarver and Kelly, the baptism scene was one of the most challenging scenes to film because it was shot during the winter. “Chris and [co-creator] Sarah [Schneider] handled all the hard stuff,” Tarver says. “For me, it’s just a temperature thing. I’m like, ‘Oh, it’s cold, I’ve got to act like I’m not cold.’”
Also in the episode, we hear a band playing a song called “Jesus Fucking Slays.” The song was written by queer singer-songwriter Leland, who has written songs for Troye Sivan, Ava Max, and previous casts of RuPaul’s Drag Race. In the previous season, Leland penned ChaseDreams’ viral bops “My Brother’s Gay” and “Stink.”
Although we probably won’t hear much of Leland’s musical stylings by way of ChaseDreams’ viral singles this season, we’ll still see Chase navigate the industry via brand deals with fashion lines. By leaning into other aspects of stardom, ChaseDreams enters a new era as the show remains true to its pop culture parody roots.
“At the end of Season 1, we see Chase can’t really sing,” Kelly says. “The emperor has no clothes. The big idea for Season 2 is that [Chase’s record label executive] Shuli (Wanda Sykes) is not worried about that at all because singing is a very small percentage of what singers do. So he can just be like Rihanna or Justin Timberlake.”
The Other Two Season 2 premieres on HBO Max this Thursday, August 26.