Review: 'The Other Two' Is A Sharp But Surprisingly Warm Look At Fame When their 13-year-old brother (Case Walker) becomes a YouTube star, directionless New Yorkers Brooke (Heléne Yorke) and Cary (Drew Tarver) reluctantly find themselves drawn into his entourage.
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Siblings Struggle (Hilariously) In Their Kid Brother's Shadow: 'The Other Two'

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Siblings Struggle (Hilariously) In Their Kid Brother's Shadow: 'The Other Two'

Review

Siblings Struggle (Hilariously) In Their Kid Brother's Shadow: 'The Other Two'

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

A new sitcom premiering tonight on Comedy Central offers a unique look at how fame happens these days. NPR's Glen Weldon says "The Other Two" mixes over-the-top satire with a surprisingly warm, intimate sense of humor.

GLEN WELDON, BYLINE: In the first episode, 13-year-old Chase, played by Case Walker, becomes an overnight sensation off of a cloyingly sweet homemade video he posts to YouTube.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE OTHER TWO")

CASE WALKER: (As Chase, singing) My friends thinks I'm crazy, but I was thinking maybe I want to marry you at recess.

WELDON: But "The Other Two" isn't about Chase really. It's about his two older siblings, Brooke and Cary, "The Other Two" - get it? - played by Helene Yorke and Drew Tarver. They're a couple of self-obsessed 20-somethings struggling to make it work in New York City and - wait, stop, come back. I know that setup sounds familiar, but "The Other Two" keeps making choices that defy your expectations, especially if one of the things you're expecting is the caustic tone so many sitcoms default to. You just feel for these two characters right away. Cary is waiting tables while trying to make it as an actor.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE OTHER TWO")

DREW TARVER: (As Cary) Hi, I'm Cary Dubick (ph). And I'm reading for the role of man at party who smells fart.

WELDON: His sister Brooke doesn't even know what she wants. And over dinner with her mom, she's maybe a little defensive about that.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE OTHER TWO")

HELENE YORKE: (As Brooke) We might not be the hot, new twink or whatever, but all three of your kids are hot, equally successful millennials.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character) What? You guys aren't millennials.

YORKE: (As Brooke) Yeah, we are.

TARVER: (As Cary) We Googled it.

YORKE: (As Brooke) We looked it up.

DREW TARVER AND HELENE YORKE: (As Cary and Brooke) It's 1982 and after.

WELDON: Individually, Brooke and Cary can be a lot. But in their many scenes together, Yorke and Tarver find an easy, unforced chemistry marked by mutual affection and a shared sense of humor. Over the course of the season, Brooke and Cary get caught up in their younger brother's fame and start to lose themselves in it. And while the satire about the nature of viral Internet success and showbiz phoniness can be broad, the actual jokes are sharp.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE OTHER TWO")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As character) Some in the music industry are already calling him the next big white kid.

WELDON: Co-creators Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider, former head writers at "Saturday Night Live," have a knowing grip on the thing they're making fun of and an intimate sense of these characters. Kelly and Schneider are a gay man and a straight woman writing about a gay man and a straight woman. And the show's particularly smart about how it treats Cary's gayness, showing the tiny everyday negotiations queer people have to make as they move through the world. Take the way Cary's boss at the restaurant keeps pulling his gay waiters aside to update them on just how woke he is.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE OTHER TWO")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #3: (As character) I wanted you both to know last night at my home, my wife and I watched "Brokeback Mountain."

WELDON: Brooke and Cary grow and change over the show's 10-episode season, which sets it apart from other sitcoms that keep their characters static. "The Other Two" knows that watching flawed characters trying to become better people inspires a deeper kind of laughter because it comes from a real place of recognition and empathy. Glen Weldon, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF JAMES BROWN'S "UNTITLED INSTRUMENTAL")

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