The second season of “The Other Two” has been a long time coming for actor Heléne Yorke. The comedy, centered on adult siblings of a teen pop star, premiered on Comedy Central in 2019, with Season 2 beginning to film in February 2020. But like so many productions, it had to shut down amid the pandemic, for what Yorke thought would be only two weeks. (It turned into a year.) Since then, the show has moved to HBO Max. Finally returning on Aug. 26, Yorke’s Brooke Dubek has stepped out of the shadow of her younger brother, Chase (Case Walker), and into a management role of both him and their talk show host mother (Molly Shannon).
It feels like the show has been off for a LONG time. What did you have to do to either keep Brooke fresh in your mind the whole time or slip back into her when filming resumed?
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The character is easy to keep fresh because the writing is so good and [showrunners] Chris [Kelly] and Sarah [Schneider] have done an amazing job of tailoring — they listen to their actors. They listen to who we are and our cadences. And they write in our voices, to the point where our shorthand now is so fine-tuned that when they come up to you on set — because they directed episodes — they say, “Can you just say this the way I know you normally would say it?” or “Can you make that face that you make?” That’s a note I’ve received. There’s a certain cadence they know it needs and they’ve written it knowing how we would say it, but sometimes we’re in our heads as actors and they have a nice way of guiding us back to ourselves.
When the show first premiered you talked about how much you related to her, even while joking that she was a monster. Do you still feel that way, even with the growth and changes in Season 2?
I still really identify with her. And I still think she’s a little bit of a monster — I hate to use the word “mess.” I just think that there’s an innate desire for success perception that she has that’s wanting to live a well-curated, balanced life and realizing that that’s not ever really the case. I spend a lot of time thinking, “OK if I have this element together and this element together, I’ll find ultimate peace and happiness.” And that’s just not how things work. And I think that’s what I really relate to: you reach certain markers in life and you think, “OK great, I’ve arrived.” And then you arrive and you’re like, “Now what?” The idea that being an actress in a successful show is this glamorous thing and you do photo shoots and you’re on a red carpet and you’re living the dream — but then you get there and you’re like, “My feet hurt and I want a snack.” For Brooke, it’s wanting to be perfect, wanting to have arrived, but still feeling unfinished. I think I’ll always feel unfinished, but I think embracing the beauty of what that is is life.
What is the biggest change for her in Season 2?
Essentially, she’s a music manager for five minutes and she’s pretty determined to stay a music manager, but she realizes she’s not actually that hip or cool. So, she’s going to manage her mom. I think what happens is Brooke is accidentally really great at something that she didn’t know she had in her. And I think stumbling upon something that really hits well, she’s surprising even herself. Over the course of the season, she’s trying for more and more notoriety and status within her business and as a working woman, and what she loses sight of, ultimately, is what’s important — as cheesy and basic as that sounds. What’s fun about the season is you watch her not pay attention to things, not hear things, because she’s just trying to get, get, get, get, get. She’s just throwing so much into the fire and before she realizes it, it’s this insane, engulfing flame. Matt Rogers, a wonderful comedian, calls [it] strong but wrong. And she just very confidently attempts almost anything.
Do you feel it’s better if she doesn’t succeed too much because the fails are funnier?
I think there’s a relatability in the sense of, “Oh my god, she’s about to fall into a pitfall I would have fallen into” or “I struggle with this as well” or “I would not have been able to eloquently touch on that either.” One of my favorite themes that Chris and Sarah put in the show this year — and this is probably a spoiler so somebody can kill me if they want to — but she deals with being a bad feminist. Maybe not fully realized and not as pristine as she would want to be in that image of who she’s supposed to be. They constantly put Brooke and [her other brother] Cary [Drew Tarver] in these circumstances where you’re like, “They’re not going to do well at this.” And I think that’s what makes the show so great, like, “Oh she’s at a Vogue party of an unveiling of the third Hadid, she’s going to blow this somehow.”
Speaking of that party, that’s an example of Brooke being in manager mode in a world in which she really wants to belong. Did you pull from any real-life experiences or people you have met in your time in television for how she conducts herself?
It’s just happened to me — where I’m like, “Oh I know what the right thing for this is” and just trying too hard. As far as who I pull on, I just feel like you can curate so easily an image of who you are now — you can make an image of what your life is — but then you pull back the curtain on anybody and everybody’s freaking out. In some of my work sometimes, [such as] if I do a serious show on CBS, I feel like I’m doing an impression of what I think a lawyer would be. Now they’re never going to have me back! [Laughs.] But it’s something I feel so on the outside of. And so, in order to get into it, it has to feel like a cosplay. And that has everything to do with my own ignorance of what that was, to be honest.
What’s the split of time like for her between managing her brother, Chase, and her mother, Pat, and do they conflict?
Her attention is completely drawn into work and I think her conflict lies in how to make room for herself — what part of any of this has to do with her. I imagine that is very hard for managers and publicists because you spend so much time focused on somebody else’s career and it’s like, “Well, what about me?”
Chase wants back in on his singing career, and how is she going to make this kid who cannot sing have some kind of viable career? How is she going to manufacture something? And she does, and a lot of conflict arises from that. On the one hand, he’s my brother and I love him and I don’t want to tell him he can’t do something — but he can’t do this. And so, negotiating what the next steps are — we are so lucky that Wanda Sykes comes back and is the head of the label and has strategies. I think [working with] Pat on her talk show comes so naturally to Brooke; she throws a lot of work Pat’s way and is trying to figure out other things for Chase. And, in that, it’s too much but not quite right.
Chase makes a big image move in going platinum blond. Is this an example of Brooke manufacturing something to avoid the conversation away from the fact that he can’t really sing?
They don’t highlight that the blond is her idea. He’s basically going to be like how Rihanna has a lingerie line now. We’ll have a tequila brand and all of this other shit and it becomes a bit of a distraction. Where’s our next Rihanna album?
If this was her idea, and it did so well, that has to make her a golden child and put her on a good track. Is there a sense of “be careful what you wish for” coming for her?
She does become a golden child in making this multifaceted career that she builds for him, but what comes in conflict is her personal relationships. The main heartbeat of “The Other Two” is the family being there for each other and not being vindictive, not being jealous, not placing any of their own bullshit on each other. It’s about finding themselves within it. A lot of it, as well, is about Brooke and Cary prioritizing themselves in the light of this massive fame spiral they’ve been thrust into: “What about me?” And feeling OK asking that. And I think that’s universal — for moms for people with crazy jobs — and I think that’s a massive, overarching element of the season.
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