Cary is a struggling actor auditioning for “man at party who smells fart” in a commercial. His sister, Brooke, danced as a kid but is now jobless and homeless. So life kind of sucks for these millennial siblings. Then something happens that makes it suck even more: Their 13-year-old brother Chase becomes a megastar after posting a song called “I Wanna Marry U at Recess” on YouTube. Show-biz pundits predict he’ll be “the next big white kid.”
That’s the premise for “The Other Two” (10:30 p.m. Thursdays on Comedy Central), a dark and existential sitcom that probes tough questions like, “What if I’m just not good enough?” and yet keeps the laughs coming.
The show’s creators, former “Saturday Night Live” writers Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider, have assembled a fabulous cast. Presiding over Chase and “the other two” is mother Pat, played by Molly Shannon with her usual glint of madness. She lies through her teeth when she tells her flailing older children, “I don’t care if any of you is famous. I just want you to be happy.”
Helene Yorke brings plucky desperation to Brooke’s efforts to “find her passion.” She tells her mom she’s planning to be a “travel agent … writer … photographer” — and also a “rapper/rap critic.”
As Cary, Drew Tarver wearily takes absurd notes from the commercial people. They know he’s gay but want him to play the role straight because, as Cary’s agent explains, “If you’re gay and you’re at a party and you smell a fart, that’s a lot for the audience to digest in 30 seconds.” Richard Kind, whose face exudes exasperation, is deadpan hilarious as the agent (who once almost boiled to death when he fell asleep in a hotel hot tub).
Sometimes things get a bit too ridiculous — like the character Britlynn, who looks like she’s 30 but turns out to be an 11-year-old who’s a genius at putting on makeup. But there are also tender moments that make the siblings seem a little more sympathetic. They all spend the night in a posh New York hotel room paid for by the “Today” show, which flew Chase in from Ohio for an interview. Then comes the big reveal: Their father died just a few months ago.
“I miss dad,” says Chase as he snuggles with his older sibs. Brooke responds, “Yeah, me too.”