“The Other Two” Season 2 – Episodes 1 & 2

In more Gay News, Laura Stern is slated to star in a new FX series, which I already stan.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

It’s been almost two and a half years since we last saw The Other Two, and it’s safe to say a lot has changed since then (both in the real world and for the Dubek’s) —but one thing remains absolutely the same: this show is still one of the funniest shows on TV right now.

As much as I want to praise the show’s first season (and, by extension, Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider) for its hilariously accurate depiction of millennial anxiety in the modern world, the first two episodes of season two immediately highlight just how much these characters have grown and matured. Now airing weekly on Thursdays on HBO Max, The Other Two starts with a news-like montage of what everyone has been up to. While Chase has decided to give up singing to go to college (for “however many years”), Mama Pat has become a famous and successful daytime talk show host, to Brooke and Cary’s dismay. Cary, no longer living with his toxic “straight” roommate, now has a boyfriend Jess (played by Gideon Glick), and Brooke is browsing TikTok on the hunt for the next “ChaseDreams”.

Drew Tarver (left) and Heléne Yorke (right)

Molly Shannon gets a significant boost in screentime this season already, and I’m absolutely hyped for her story arc. Shannon takes the goofy/lovable/cringey mother stereotype and turns her into a hilarious multi-dimensional character. Pat’s show (ridiculously title pat!) is filled with a series of repeatable catchphrases that her audience seem to love as well as an entire segment where she FaceTimes her kids. It’s brutal, in the most perfect way possible.

I’m also happy to report that the show is even gayer than ever. While Cary’s acting career hasn’t taken off the way he’d hoped, he still manages to give us some of the show’s funniest bits as he updates us on Gay News and is a recurring guest on BuzzFeed, BagelBitesTV and Thrillist, where he is the “token gay” host. The fast-paced, pop-culture references are sometimes blink-and-you’ll-miss-it types of bits, but they’re all very cleverly written in a way that is so remarkably relatable to queer millennials.

There’s a lot more to love and appreciate about the wacky, witty world that The Other Two operates in, and I can’t wait to see how this season unfolds.

Advertisement

“The Chair” – Season 1

I feel like someone handed me a ticking time-bomb because they wanted to make sure a woman was holding it when it explodes. –Dr. Ji-Yoon Kim

I wasn’t sure what to expect as I started watching this show over the weekend, but within just a couple of episodes I was hooked — and eventually bingewatched all six episodes in less than 5 hours.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

From the very start, as Dr. Ji-Yoon Kim (played by the incredible Sandra Oh) unwraps a gift of a desk nameplate that reads FUCKER IN CHARGE OF YOU FUCKING FUCKS, The Chair distinguishes itself from a typical dramedy. It never takes itself too seriously, while still tackling heavy subjects and modern-day “cancel culture” here and there. It’s bold and funny and unapologetic. And it’s amazing.

Created by Amanda Peet and Annie Wyman, the show revolves around Ji-Yoon, the new chair of the English department of the fictional Pembroke university, who is trying desperately to put out fires. Tasked with fixing the issue of enrollments going significantly down, Ji-Yoon must do so in an industry that has severely awarded older, white men for years even though she knows that change is necessary.

Oh’s performance, if you haven’t been blessed by her Cristina Yang in Grey’s Anatomy, is nothing short of extraordinary. She tackles every interaction with every character with so much nuance — whether she is confronting her somewhat lover/somewhat friend Bill (Jay Duplass) for “not getting his shit together” after losing his wife and acting out in class, or trying to connect with her young daughter, I found myself emotionally attached to Kim’s story and constantly wondering when she is going to catch a break.

(L to R) SANDRA OH as JI-YOON, NANA MENSAH as YAZ, and HOLLAND TAYLOR as JOAN

Another reason to fall in love with this show is Holland Taylor and Nana Mensah, who play Yaz and Joan, respectively. Taylor has some of the show’s most iconic lines (“fanny”) even as she is stranded with what I believed was the weakest subplot — fighting over how she got stuck with a tiny closet for an office in a push to get her to retire. Mensah, a Ghanaian-American actor, writer and director, on the other hand, is given some hefty material. In one of my favorite arcs of the season, Yaz finds herself forced to share a classroom with Elliot (played by Bob Balaban), a white, older, tenured professor. The clash of Millennials and Boomers across the show’s six episodes goes about as well as you’d expect, but the writing elevates these scenes with witty dialogue and multi-dimensional storytelling. I wouldn’t mind spending another season or two with scripts like this.

The Chair ultimately does leave room for potentially more episodes to come. While the finale is satisfying in its own way, there is an open ending of some sort to Bill’s controversial storyline (much of which I would rather leave unspoiled). Overall, the show is both a hilarious and tragic insight into the academic environment, with powerhouse performances and a tight script from start to finish, no doubt making it a strong contender for next year’s Emmy’s.