‘The Other Two’ series finale: Heléne Yorke and Drew Tarver on their characters’ wild journeys

A blonde woman sits next to a man at a restaurant table.
Heléne Yorke, left, and Drew Tarver in “The Other Two.” Their characters Cary and Brooke Dubek were taken to new heights in the third season of the show.
(Greg Endries/HBO)
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This story contains spoilers from the Season 3 finale of “The Other Two.”

Drew Tarver and Heléne Yorke aren’t actually related, but in the Max comedy “The Other Two,” they play Cary and Brooke Dubek, thirtysomething siblings living in the shadow of their mega-famous family members.

While Brooke and Cary’s personal circumstances are not always relatable to the average viewer, their loving yet gently mocking rapport will be familiar to anyone with a brother, sister or even a best friend who’s known them since childhood.


As the actors shared recently in a joint video chat, the playfulness has been there since day one.

“Well, famously, Drew was cast before me and I had to go in and prove that I have chemistry with him, which was the most devastating situation to be in,” said Yorke, speaking from her home in New York City. “It’s like, ‘You want this job? You better get along with this guy!’”

“We put her under a very bright light, and we were in the shadows, just kind of not laughing. It was very ominous, the whole situation,” replied Tarver, who was dialing in from Los Angeles.

“He’s also been No. 1 on the call sheet for three f— years,” Yorke went on. “I’m like, this is bulls—! Why? Because he’s a man?”

Shannon’s comic roles are suffused with something darker, more complicated. “I don’t like when comedy people make fun of their characters,” she says.

Aug. 22, 2021

Created by Sarah Schneider and Chris Kelly, both former head writers at “Saturday Night Live,” “The Other Two” offers not only TV’s smartest take on contemporary celebrity — sorry, “The Idol” — but also one of its sweetest, most heartfelt family sitcoms. (On Wednesday, Kelly and Schneider announced that the show was ending with Season 3. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the creators had been the subject of a human resources investigation but were cleared of wrongdoing.)

When we meet Brooke and Cary in Season 1, they are both in their 30s, professionally adrift and mourning their father, who died in a horrific accident, when their teenage brother, Chase (Case Walker) becomes a Justin Bieber-esque YouTube sensation. Their mom, Pat, played with poignant hilarity by Molly Shannon, parlays Chase’s fame into daytime TV stardom. Meanwhile, “the other two” siblings cast about in search of a purpose: Brooke goes to work as a talent manager for her mom and little brother. Meanwhile Cary, a struggling actor, is stuck hosting a web series called “The Gay Minute.”

Lance (Josh Segarra) and Brooke (Heléne Yorke) in "The Other Two."
(Greg Endries/HBO)

In Season 3, which concludes Thursday, the show has taken its biggest, most surreal swings yet. Motivated by her seemingly perfect ex-fiance, Lance Arroyo (Josh Segarra), and his pivot into nursing, Brooke decides to leave the industry in search of a more meaningful path. But as Chase, now 18, struggles to make the transition to adult stardom, she is lured back to the industry and produces a mental health telethon designed to boost his flagging record sales. Meanwhile, Cary finally gets some momentum in his acting career when he voices a gay character named Globby — “a proud queer sack of mucus” — in a Disney movie and becomes a series regular in a hit Netflix drama called “Wind Weaver,” but he becomes so toxically fame-obsessed that it alienates his best friend, Curtis (Brandon Scott Jones).

Chock-full of celebrity cameos (Ben Platt and Simu Liu, for example), the season has taken several absurd detours, including a running gag about Cary’s boyfriend, a method actor so fiercely committed to the stock gay roles he plays (including a virginal high schooler and a closeted cowboy) that he won’t have sex; an episode in which Brooke winds up going to space twice with different billionaires she’s dating; and another that unfolds during the performance of an interminable “Angels in America”-esque play. For her part, Pat becomes so famous that she can’t leave the house without full prosthetic makeup, so her kids arrange for a family dinner at a soundstage designed to look like an Applebee’s.

In Thursday’s series finale, “Brooke & Cary & Curtis & Lance,” the siblings find redemption after season-long downward spirals. Cary blows up at his agent for failing to secure financing for a movie he’s convinced will win him an Oscar, then realizes he’s lost all perspective, prompting him to apologize to Curtis and take time off from acting. Meanwhile, Brooke decides to take the blame for scandals threatening to destroy Pat and Chase’s careers, then has a romantic reunion with Lance.

Tarver and Yorke opened up about their characters’ wild journeys this season, the show’s take on fame, and what goes on in their group text.

This season really went to a whole new level, in terms of silliness and emotion. Did Chris and Sarah give you any advanced indication of the journeys you would go on?

Heléne Yorke: People will always ask me, “What do you hope for these characters?” And it’s always like, “For it to get worse, honestly.” It’s such a gift to be able to have taken these characters to this place this year. We get sent all 10 episodes in one stack. And then [Chris and Sarah] just sit by their phones like little Gremlins waiting for us to text jokes they carefully crafted back at them because they’re so proud of what they’ve put together — and they should be. When I read this season, I thought it spoke to their faith in us as actors to pull it off, to hit those moments that are silly, but also have that heart.


It’s just fun to read “face falls into diaper.” Or “the building lights on fire.” Like, what’s that day going to be like on set?

Drew Tarver: All we really knew before we got the scripts was that there was probably going to be a time jump. Chase was now a full-grown man. And we’d be skipping over the pandemic, but touching on it. I know it added to their desperation. A lot of us learned in the pandemic to slow down a little bit and relax. For these characters, it stressed them out.

A man stands between a clothesline and a cloth tent that is in front of a a campfire.
Cary (Drew Tarver) in a scene from “The Other Two” when his boyfriend, who is a method actor, is in character as a closeted cowboy.
(Greg Endries/HBO)

Were there any moments in the script that really lit up the group chat?

Tarver: I definitely remember the moment that Cary has a date with this guy [Lucas] and it goes really well. And then he finds out he’s [an actor] in character. And the next episode they’re at brunch and he’s like, “We’re dating!” I thought that was indicative of the big swings this season. I hadn’t even seen what was coming ahead. But I was like, “Oh, Cary’s fully lost it.” I love that this character is going this far and becoming this sad.

Yorke: And they end up at “Eight Gay Men With AIDS: A Poem in Many Hours.” I had gone to see “Angels in America” with Chris Kelly in Season 1, and I was like, “Oh, my God, this play.” [rolls eyes] Then they put it in the show.

How do you keep some of the more unhinged comedy grounded and real, even when you’re flying off to space with a billionaire, or whatever?


Tarver: Heléne and I both have a lot of stage experience previous to this show. I’ve been screaming in a fake beard at UCB [Upright Citizens Brigade] at midnight for years. There’s an element of trying to find the right gear always with this show. For me, that has been making sure I don’t go too big. Chris and Sarah are very good at guiding us through that.

Yorke: What makes the comedy work is that these characters are in the moment, believing that what is happening to them is happening. So while Brooke is in space, like, she is in space. It makes the funny moments funny. But then it’s easy to bring that down and make it real, because these characters are experiencing things that, while insane, are very real and present for them.

Josh Segarra, Heléne Yorke, Molly Shannon, Case Walker and Drew Tarver sit around a dining table.
Josh Segarra, Heléne Yorke, Molly Shannon, Case Walker and Drew Tarver in the Season 3 finale of “The Other Two.”
(Greg Endries/HBO)

Heléne, tell me about Brooke’s journey this season, and this desire to do good. Do you think her motivation is sincere or is she just reacting to Lance?

Yorke: I think it’s a combo of both of those things. I fall victim to [the worry that ] “all of these people are doing this thing, should I be doing it as well?” constantly. Like, if I had a nickel for every text I send that is like, “I’m not doing this, is that bad?” I’d be so rich. During the two years [of the pandemic], people were making all sorts of changes, and being these good people. I was trash. I was like, “I’m an actor, I can’t do my job right now. What am I contributing?” Brooke is with this great guy who is the opposite of her in almost every way and she feels that she doesn’t measure up. So she’s thinking, “How could I deserve this person? I’m not doing anything.” She’s just calling her purpose into question. I had a therapist once tell me that all anybody talks about in therapy is purpose and love. And I think that’s central to her this season.

At lunchtime on a recent afternoon, the chain steakhouse Del Frisco’s at Rockefeller Center bustles with midtown office workers shouting at each other over the blare of Fleetwood Mac.

Jan. 24, 2019

So when did she hit rock bottom?


Yorke: Watching the last episode when Cary’s like f— Lucas in the tent and texting his agent at the same time, with all the typos, about when she’s going to get the funding [for his film]. I was like, “Oh, my God.” And then Brooke burns down a building and almost kills Lance’s beloved aunt and finds out she’s going to get a Peabody [Award] and decides, “I’m absolved of everything.” That was such a unique way to watch both characters simultaneously hit rock bottom, while thinking they’re having a victory.

Cary on the red carpet in a black tuxedo with a voluminous skirt.
Cary (Drew Tarver) at the premiere of his Disney film, in which he plays a pile of mucus named Globby, that propels his career forward.
(Greg Endries)

Drew, tell me about Cary and his experience with fame this season.

Tarver: [In Season 3] he is doing some of the things he wanted to do. He is checking off major goals in his life. When he’s about to go back to his high school reunion and tells Pat, “I thought I’d be more successful by now.” She’s like, “What about ‘Wind Weaver’? What about Globby?” It hasn’t hit him.

That was such an interesting journey — somebody just trying to constantly get the good feeling inside of their body. I remember reading that end of Episode 1, where Cary is just quietly scrolling the hashtag [for his movie] “Night Nurse,” and it just felt indicative. He’s constantly just being like, “Can I get another hit of the hashtag?”

Heléne, why does Brooke decide to take the bullet for Chase and Pat?


Yorke: That’s one of the things that makes the show so special. It would be so easy to do a show about an entertainment family and have them absolutely at each other’s throats all the time. But at the heart of this is a family that really loves each other. What I loved about [Brooke’s decision] is that she makes the decision so quickly. It’s so easy for her: Obviously, I have to take a fall for these two people because [if I don’t], they’ll lose everything and what do I have to lose? What Chris and Sarah have always done with this show is put the heart of it at the center. It’s the reason we pull off all of the other crazy s—.

What do you both think of the show’s take on fame? Does it seem accurate to you, either based on your own experiences or observations?

Yorke: I think fame is this elusive thing to most people. It has a shine on it, like it’s this big, desirable thing. But when you get it, you’re still who you are, your family still is who they are, and you have this, like, s—storm of other crap to deal with. The higher [people] get, they remain the same but with upped stakes. For me it’s a question of, do people change? Can you change, or are you who you are at your very core — like, you can learn lessons but you’re basically always the same? I feel like they did a really good job, especially with Molly this year, of showing fame as a prison.

Tarver: Molly’s performance was so amazing — being very sad from within pounds of prosthetic makeup. It was interesting to feel empathy for someone so wealthy and famous.

So why does Cary walk away from his dream project in the finale?

Tarver: Over this season, Cary has fully lost himself. That’s his moment of being like, I think I need to slow down. In the first couple seasons, Cary was like, I want to be on TV, preferably a prestige drama. He knew what he wanted and what his talent was. But you don’t immediately know how to do a thing [like being a famous actor], and not have it take over your entire life. [It can be] a constant struggle: How do I engage with this job that I want to do, and not lose myself in competition?


‘The Other Two’

Where: Max

When: Any time, new episodes Thursdays

Rating: TV-MA (may be unsuitable for children under the age of 17)