Thursday, August 26, 2021

REVIEW: 'The Other Two' - Brooke and Cary Must Cope with the Success of Their Mother's Talk Show in 'Chase Goes to College'

HBO Max's The Other Two - Episode 2.01 "Chase Goes to College"

With their little brother, ChaseDreams, officially retired and in college, Cary and Brooke must now contend with a new famous family member: their 53-year-old mother, Pat Dubek.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the season premiere of HBO Max's The Other Two.

"Chase Goes to College" was written by Chris Kelly & Sarah Schneider and directed by Chris Kelly

Chase is no longer the only famous person in the Dubek family. Of course, the hardcore fans of the young pop star know everyone in the family. But now, Pat has her own successful daytime talk show. It's promoted everywhere in the city. Plus, everyone in Brooke and Cary's lives are watching it daily. It's a hit. And yes, she talks about her kids endlessly. She somehow finds her way to talking about the family dog humping Cary while doing a cooking segment. It's nonsense. But the appeal is easily understood as well. Brooke even acknowledges that at the conclusion of this premiere. It's awkward and embarrassing for Brooke and Cary because it's their mom telling personal stories on national television. They are included in this project even when they are annoyed when she does so. Her life has changed in a dramatic way. All of her kids are happy for her as well. But they each have their own ambitions too. Sometimes they aspire for more while failing to acknowledge and accept what they already have. Other times, they simply need support from this crazy family thrust into the public spotlight. It takes a moment for Cary to profess that he has a boyfriend. Everyone knows that he is gay. That's the only kind of role he can book as an actor too. He is asked to serve in that stereotypical role and nothing else. He is the gay host meant to enjoy the trivial details of pop culture through stilted dialogue. That service absolutely exists. It's not sustainable or fulfilling for Cary. He yearns for more. He wants to be taken seriously as an actor. His biggest opportunity yet was taken away when Chase decided to retire and go to college. And yet, Cary has some moderate success. He has started a relationship that is really encouraging. It's still in the early days. It takes a beat before he can call Jess his boyfriend. He gets there in the span of this premiere. That declaration is made and he is proud of it. Of course, more nuance will need to come to flesh out this relationship. This is a solid start though. Cary has independence. He has enough to feel secure in his life. He doesn't always feel that way. He is still prone to bouts of insecurity. His family reminds him of what he has. They support him as well. Meanwhile, Brooke is desperate to prove that she doesn't need to cling to her family in order to prove her worth as a manager. She can guide careers beyond those who are related to her. She was a strong advocate for Chase in his singing career. Of course, she didn't acknowledge that he was a terrible singer. When she came to that realization, it was when he was onstage in an epic failure. That too drove him out of this industry. Music was no longer fun for him. College isn't all that better. That was a direction he was given to pursue. He puts on a strong face of being happy at NYU. He is actually miserable. The other students are bullying him. The teachers are as well. It's easy for him to fall back on the idea of being a famous musician. Brooke was relieved that Chase's career didn't have to go any further. She and Cary say that while still loving their brother. They want him to succeed. They must be clear in what's possible though. They promise so much. Brooke humbles herself and accepts that she can do well managing the careers of her mother and brother. That acceptance arrives. Her personal life is still fragile. She is still devastated by Lance not wanting to get back together. He still wants to be an active member of the Dubek family. It's too hard for Brooke. It's hard for all the siblings though. They don't all have the same opportunities. Their lives are evolving at different rates. They try their best to support one another. The trajectories of their lives don't promise sustained happiness. It can seemingly happen in a flash like it did for Chase and Pat. That's the viral energy that dominates the world at the moment. Cary and Brooke hope to build something in their lives. It's proven to be more difficult even though they have found various things to be happy about as well. That acknowledgement is powerful even though the audience is aware the story is about to make them miserable in several distinct ways. Plus, that restaurant is absolutely racist.