Heléne Yorke delivers the comedic performance of the year as Brooke Dubek, and The Other Two should be in contention for multiple acting races, writing, directing and comedy series. In just two seasons, we have seen Yorke create a character navigating her family’s success in the entertainment industry and then decides to make space for herself. (which I named the best series of 2021) lovingly skewers the entertainment industry, but Yorke reveals the chemistry between the family is one of the best reasons to keep coming back.
Since season one dropped on Comedy Central in 2019, you can say a lot of things have happened. It gave audiences a long time to catch up between seasons, and I admit to having fear of what a second season would look like. Yorke did not share my concerns.
“I have such a blind respect for Chris Kelly and Sara Schneider, so I knew season two was going to be great. My biggest concern was that we started shooting in February 2020 and then we shut down for about a year. Knowing how great season two was and hoping we could pick up and carry on, we were blessed by the HBO gods. We have a broader audience, and I think season two is so good. So many people, like you, come up and talk to me about how much they love the show. I remember when I met them at the audition, and I thought, ‘I hope they will be friends with me.’ It just felt like comedy and their world was such a club, and they are very magnanimous people. Also, the smartest funny people you could know. You better up your game if you go to dinner with them.”
Brook has a blinding optimism in season two, and that’s because things are finally going her way. If you say that Brooke is a screw-up, that argument doesn’t hold water, because she has the verve to make things work. They might be rough around the edges, but she gets things done the Brooke Dubek way.
“I describe her as a person who sees an empty pool and dives in with hopes that it will fill up with water before she gets to the bottom. That blind faith is what makes the character so charming. One of the most exciting things about the shitty times in your life is that it will, eventually, turn itself around, and I think that’s what Brook really understands. Even if something is bogged down by crap, hopefully it will turn around just in town. Matt Rogers wrote on season two, and he describes her as, ‘Strong but wrong.’ She’s fun to play because she is so uninhibited, and it’s funny to watch her muscle through it.”
Episode seven, “Chase Becomes Co-Owner of the Nets,” is the strongest episode of the season, because it doesn’t give you a chance to breathe. As Carey is moonlighting as a nurse (and finding fellow actors along the way), Brooke unwittingly finds herself on a women’s issues panel where she doesn’t know what to say (“Pass…”).
“My husband and I are about to have a baby any minute now, and he thinks that our child should watch The Other Two. We were watching the women’s panel episode the other day, and it’s so hilarious to me that she’s inarticulate on women’s issues. That’s broadly relatable even though we all consider ourselves experts on everything right now. It’s refreshing to see a character who is, definitively, not an expert at anything.”
Is The Other Two necessarily making fun of the industry? The show doesn’t “take down” celebrities or say horrible things about actors, but Yorke acknowledges that the industry can take itself too seriously at times. She insists that it’s necessary to getting through this crazy business we call show.
“I’m not sure if I think it’s important, but everyone takes themselves to seriously. And everyone in the industry does too. From the outside, it’s easy to perceive this business as something serious and once you’re on the inside you realize what a flaming mess it is. The show celebrates a ‘fake it til you make it’ quality that I’ve always admired in people. I’ll have conversations with actor friends who wonder how some people are doing so well, and it’s because they always believed that they would. It offers a refreshing perspective on things. You can watch Harry Styles in a strawberry top and a Lucite necklace get interviewed on Howard Stern, but what’s his actual home life like? Is it as breezy as everyone else’s? Probably not. It’s probably as dumb as The Other Two.”
We ended up falling into a conversation about Molly Shannon, because, well, we have a beating heart and a love for her. Admittedly, I find myself having this conversation all the time, and I could do it all day long.
“Molly Shannon is having the best year…ever? She’s just so real. Even on The White Lotus. Look at me promoting other shows now. She told me that she knew women like that when she did that show, and she doesn’t make fun of it from the outside. Her personality is one of the most singular things you can possibly witness. I leave set thinking and tell myself that I will be a better person. It lasts ten minutes, but, hey, it works.”
Brooke sometimes feels like she wants to separate herself from her famous mom in order to do things on her terms, but Brooke thrives as her mother’s manager. If Brooke was working for a monster, her heart wouldn’t totally be in it, and she wouldn’t care as much for who she works for. It’s a professional starting off point that gives her the skills she needs in order to succeed while remaining close to the ones she loves.
“I think Brooke likes working with her mother in the same way that I like to work with Molly Shannon. The two go hand in hand. Brooke likes working with her mom, because it requires a lot of brainpower and organization. Pat becomes wildly successful in such a short amount of time, and Brooke comes into her own as she realizes how capable she is. Working with her mom is nice for her, and I think the family dynamic is something that makes the show so strong. We genuinely love each other, so that’s why work doesn’t feel like work. I can relate to Brooke in the sense that I, too, love being around Molly Shannon all day.”
One of the funniest aspects of the relationship between Carey and Brooke is how much Brooke encourages her brother to live more authentically. She wants him to be on Grindr. She wants him to get out there and not be ashamed to love sex. She just wants to be able to go online without seeing her brother’s butthole. Again.
“Brooke wants Carey to be more confident, so he can be himself more fully. She is so also just so engrossed in gay culture and thinks everyone loves her. I love the moment in season one when she’s at the gay bar and she says, ‘Everybody here loves me!’ and the guy leans over and says, ‘Everybody here hates her.’ She fancies herself a gay icon, and her perspective is, ‘What’s your problem? Why won’t you just be gay?’ He is dealing with his own level of discomfort because of their father, but Brooke isn’t too precious with him. She really gives him room to come into it on his own in her own silly, large way.”
A few fans were surprised for the dramatic hospital scene in the season two finale. It feels like everything was going so well, and it was too good to be true, but Yorke loved having the opportunity to have a dramatic moment for the characters to air out their grievances towards one another. The scene works to beautifully, because the actors love these characters. It makes us want them to succeed even more.
“It’s nice to be asked about that scene, because it took us a moment to find balance. We all worked really hard on that scene. Each character is airing different things, and I think the big moment for all of us is when the camera comes back onto Case [Walker]. He gives a wonderful performance in that scene, and to see him act in that scene was moving for all of us. It took time, because we also care about these character, and we wanted to explore where these feelings came from. We didn’t treat it as silly but not too precious as well. By the end, Carey has to choose between his family and his ambitions. I love that the big payoff is that he chose himself, and no one holds that against him. It was a different tone for the show, and it was a difficult day to do it. Riding the wave of it and finding the nuances were great to find. Chris and Sarah know how to touch on seriousness in a way that lets the audience know they are being taken care of.”
The Other Two is streaming now on HBO Max.