‘The Other Two’ is the Gayest Show on TV Right Now
With deep-dive jokes about "Instagays" and straight girls at queer bars, writers Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider are reading gay culture like no other series has before.
If you follow any amount of LGBTQ people on social media, you've probably heard the rave reviews about Comedy Central's The Other Two by now. Created by former Saturday Night Live head writers Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider, this sitcom about the older siblings of a 13-year-old internet celebrity is gaining a reputation for subtle, instant-meme-worthy comedy about gay culture — and frankly, they didn't have to come for us that hard.
While Chase Dreams (Case Walker) gets instant fame and success from a viral music video, his brother Carey (Drew Tarver) struggles to make it as a gay actor, and his sister Brooke (Heléne Yorke) ends up working as his assistant and trying to pull her personal life together.
The latest episode, airing on Comedy Central at 10:30 p.m. Eastern, sees Carey trying to land an audition with the latest American Crime Story series, but he has to reach a certain number of Instagram followers to even be considered. He starts hanging out with a group of gay social media influencers so they'll tag him in all their selfies, and the portrayal of "Instagays" who "run around with no shirt on, posting song lyrics that have nothing to do with the pic he's put up" is so spot-on it's almost painful.
We recently talked to Kelly and Schneider about why they decided to explore this specific online culture. We mean, Carey and Brooke had awkward interactions with the queer community. Fortunately, their years on SNL inspired and aided them to indulge in a more niche style of comedy. (Mild spoilers ahead.)
Gayties.com: Congratulations on being renewed for Season 2. Were you expecting the enthusiastic response this show has received?
Sarah Schneider: We're excited! It's always gratifying when you put something out there and people reach out to you saying, 'I relate to this!' or 'This really speaks to me!' That’s always so nice to hear.
Chris Kelly: People have been commenting and mentioning the smallest moments or specific lines that they relate to, and that's very fulfilling. You work on something for so long, you forget all the details and you never know what someone is going to notice or not notice. It's been very cool.
For this upcoming episode about the Instagays, there's a clip of Carey at a pool party asking gay influencers, "So, what do you do?" YouTube star Tyler Oakley retweeted that clip and said he's "finally feeling represented in media." We haven't really seen a sitcom make fun of this online culture in such a specific way before. Were you leaning into the fact that audiences consume entertainment as much online as they do with TV?
Kelly: It was just something we talked about a lot in the room. We wanted to brainstorm different parts of the entertainment industry that [Carey and Brooke] could be having to experience, and at the same time, we wanted to make sure it wasn't something we'd seen on TV a thousand times. That just felt like something new and fresh that we hadn’t seen before. Our room had a lot of gay writers in it, and [gay influencers] was something that we all knew so deeply, and we followed so many of them. Once we started spit-balling and coming up with jokes, it just came so easy that we were like; this is enough for an episode, because everyone has so many opinions on them.
Schneider: Even the non-gay writers in the room were like, 'Oh yeah, we're aware. That has gotten to us.'
Kelly: Yeah, it's not just gay people, but it's definitely a subset of this type of person on Instagram and social media.
Schneider: We wrote this episode early last year, like a year ago, and we were like, 'Please, nobody beat us to this!' We hadn't seen it [on television] yet, but we were like, people must be noticing and talking about this.
This episode is actually well-timed, because there was a recent article about gay influencers potentially promoting an unhealthy body image; and the Fyre Festival documentaries portray social media influencers as this toxic, narcissistic culture. But The Other Two takes a much kinder and funnier approach to the subject — why is that?
Kelly: We didn't want to go in and just be mean to these guys. We never wanted our show to be mean or overly cynical toward a group of people. We wanted to have fun at their expense and make fun of them a little bit, but we also show that Carey is the villain in this situation. It was important that over the course of the episode, if you really think about it, they are nothing but nice to him. Yeah, it is a little bit dumb, what do they do for a living, but they are friendly to him and kind and ask him to hang out. They never do anything wrong. Carey's frustration is just based on the fact that they're not working as hard as he is. It's just coming so easily for them.
Schneider: Going in, we knew we didn't want to stereotype them; we wanted them to feel real. Like Chris was saying, we liked showing the idea that any group in society can be dismissed if you don't spend the time to get to know them, as lofty as that idea sounds. We liked the idea that we get to know them a little bit and see their point of view when Carey starts saying, 'This is all you do, you don't work.' We liked seeing both aspects of it.
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