Comedy Central’s “The Other Two” references “Call Me By Your Name,” which kinda makes it the gayest show on network television right now.
Story by Kaci Pelias
I love television so much that sometimes I feel like an old lady who leaves functions early to make sure her “programs” are recorded. I think that a lot of who I am is shaped by the comedy shows I watch. Most of the time, however, my reactions to comedies just involve snorting air out of my nose or thinking to myself, “Oh, that’s funny.” Few shows have the power to actually make me laugh out loud, and Comedy Central’s “The Other Two” is one of them.
Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider, the show’s creators, served as co-head writers on “Saturday Night Live” during, what some would say, the show’s best recent seasons. Responsible for re-popularizing the digital short, the duo wrote “Back Home Ballers,” “(Do It On My) Twin Bed,” and “First Got Horny 2 U.”
Their latest project follows the older brother and sister of a tween boy named Chase whose Tik-Tok-esque viral video skyrockets him into fame with the stage name “Chase Dreams.” The thirty-something siblings, Cary and Brooke, live and work in New York City, attempting unsuccessfully to break into the entertainment industry. As a theatre major, sometimes I found their waiter antics and audition-talk to be a little too close-to-home. Season one explores the family’s shifting dynamics and love lives as they process their grief over their father’s recent death. Molly Shannon, playing the family matriarch, made me simultaneously laugh and cry as she revealed the odd way in which their father passed away.
Centered around Chase Dreams’ “musical career,” the show features several original tunes,. You can find them all on Spotify, and they’re surprisingly catchy. Who am I kidding; surprisingly? Troye Sivan’s Oscar-nominated co-writer Leland wrote their melodies. Hits like “My Brother’s Gay And That’s Okay” and “Marry U at Recess” prove that musical comedy is still one of Kelly and Schneider’s strengths.
“The Other Two” exists in an only slightly exaggerated version of our reality. Though the writing and acting are satirically kooky, the show is grounded in truth and terrifyingly familiar. Kelly and Schneider have their fingers pressed against America’s cultural vein, making niche references to VMA performances, “Watch What Happens Live,” and the fireplace end credits scene from “Call Me By Your Name.” One episode even touches on first date etiquette, where Cary and his crush have an awkward conversation about who can eat their slice of pizza, i.e. who won’t be bottoming later that night.
The explicit queerness of this conversation reflects the show’s writing room, which consists primarily of female and queer writers, including Matt Rogers of Las Culturistas fame and “Big Mouth” writer Joel Kim Booster. While we’ve seen gay characters, specifically men, on screen before (i.e. Will from “Will & Grace”) “The Other Two”’s depiction of gay culture and relationships seems different. Perhaps because the references are so niche and “now”: episode four “Chase Gets the Gays” includes a joke about the Out100 list. Another episode follows Cary’s desperate attempt to gain popularity by connecting with a group of “Insta-gays,” gay men who spend most of their time taking shirtless selfies. While I’ll honestly enjoy any media that features gay characters, “The Other Two” seems to be one big inside joke for the queer community and I love that for them.
The first episode of “The Other Two” is available to stream for free on Comedy Central. The full season is available on Comedy Central with a cable login or for purchase on Amazon.