Created by two former SNL head writers, Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider, The Other Twois a Comedy Central sitcom that at first glance feels too on the nose. Two down-on-their-luck elder millennials who are siblings have, by their own expectations, washed out in the city of their dreams. But while Cary (Drew Tarver) and Brooke (Helene Yorke) are both adrift, their tween sibling, Chase (Case Walker) becomes an internet sensation à la Justin Bieber. Breaking out with a corny YouTube single, Chase has the perfect combo of nice-guy attitude, Middle American mall looks and earnest naiveté to appeal to a massive demographic ranging from tweens to their moms. What initially seems like a blip of fame turns into a potential career, reuniting Chase, Cary, Brooke and their mother Pat (played by Molly! Shannon!) in New York City. Cary and Brooke aren't really doing anything right? So, much like they were gang-pressed into doing chores as children, they find themselves working for Chase Dreams as Chase chases his dreams. And here's where the show begins to really surprise you.
In between the expected (and loving) jokes about viral fame, influencer culture, and the cost of creative meritocracy, there's a surprisingly sweet human connection as we find out that Cary, Brooke and Chase recently lost their father. In a scene-stealing moment, an exhausted and overworked Chase mentions as he and siblings hang out in the lap of recently obtained luxury that he misses their dad. And it's only then that Cary and Brooke show what they truly excel at -- not acting (Cary) or the real estate biz (Brooke) -- but being there for Chase and each other as they try and drag themselves back up from hitting bottom. As two adults in their mid-30s who feel like they haven't thrived in all the ways they were promised, they still manage to set aside an innate jealousy (which is excellent fodder for comedy on this show) to be there for a scared kid who isn't sure who he is with a major part of his family gone.
It's in these tender moments that Cary and Brooke, despite questioning their brother's talent and meteoric rise to the top, remind us that love him dearly which enables the rest of the show (and cast) to revel in the delightful pettiness that is a hallmark of all showbiz satires. Shannon as a Midwest momager living her "Year of Yes" feels like a role that Shannon was born to play. Ken Marino as the desperately lonely agent of Chase who is hellbent on becoming a part of this family is pitch perfect. And let us not forget the perpetually slept on Wanda Skyes as Chase's record label publicist who lives and dies on whether the gays are on her client's side.
Across the board the cast is phenomenal and, combined with the comedic legacy of the writers (Sarah Schneider, in particular, wrote the insanely catchy "Do It In My Twin Bed" for SNL which bodes well for future Chase Dreams singles), the show does so much more than expected. In lesser hands, it would be fair to worry about how the premise could wear thin -- after all, when the comedy comes from a place of being brought low, it's hard for the characters to grow and still be funny -- but The Other Two stands steady on purposefully meandering feet. In fact in a few episodes it'll be hard to remember why it's called The Other Two at all.
The Other Two premieres on Comedy Central Thursday, Jan. 24 at 10:30/9:30c.