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Molly Shannon plays the mother of 3: a burgeoning teen superstar and ‘The Other Two’

Molly Shannon was surprised her character talked about how her husband had died.

If Comedy Central’s “The Other Two” is about the older siblings of a 13-year-old sudden superstar who are flailing to stay afloat, Molly Shannon’s character is the mother duck gliding placidly beside them. And paddling furiously underneath.

“Pat Dubek is the mother of three wonderful children,” Shannon said during an Emmy Contenders chat at the Los Angeles Times video studio. “She’s celebrating a kind of ‘Chapter Two’ in her life, like ‘I’m gonna go for it!’ …

WATCH: 2019 Emmy Contenders video chats »

“Her younger son, Chase Dreams [Case Walker], is becoming like the next Justin Bieber. She has two other children who also live in New York City. Brooke [Heléne Yorke] is a millennial, she doesn’t really know what she wants to do, she’s dabbling in jewelry, real estate, dating, trying to figure out her life. And then Cary [Drew Tarver] wants to be an actor, so it’s a little hard to watch his brother becoming a superstar when he’s struggling to make it as an actor. So it’s really a show about a family.”

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“The Other Two” primarily follows the older siblings’ often absurd misadventures — professional, sexual and otherwise — but benefits greatly from how its other characters ground the show. Chase is no diva-in-training; he’s a good kid who loves and trusts his big brother and sister. Brooke’s sometime-boyfriend, Lance (Josh Segarra), is a wannabe tennis-shoe entrepreneur whose constant smile at first reads as simpleminded, but turns out to be the “Open” sign of a bighearted, supportive, happy guy. Chase’s manager, Streeter (Ken Marino), seems a showbiz buffoon, but develops a real affection for Pat (Shannon says their relationship wasn’t originally in the scripts, but when the writers saw the chemistry she had with her old friend Marino, they wrote it in).

Former “Saturday Night Live” co-head writers Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider created the show. Kelly had directed Shannon in an indie film called “Other People” (2016), for which Shannon won an Independent Spirit Award. The actress said Kelly approached her somewhat sheepishly to play “the mother” in the show, but she said she was eager to work with him again.

“I absolutely loved working with him; he’s the best,” she said, clutching her hands to her chest. “I think he was worried to ask me because I was shooting ‘Divorce’ in New York and I live in California and have kids. He kind of thought I wouldn’t want to do another show in New York City, but I just felt like I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to work with Chris again.”

Pat is enjoying her “Year of Yes” following the death of her beloved husband. It seems as if everything she and Chase try works out. While at times she seems oblivious to the struggles her older kids are going through, it turns out she’s paying close attention and really worrying about them. And in a moment of high stress on a plane in flight (the site of a launch party for Chase’s album, loaded with wide-eyed young girls), Pat surprisingly blurts out some painful truths she’s been trying to hide and gives us a look at what’s really driving her “Year of Yes.” The scene was so unexpected, it surprised even Shannon when she read it.

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“I did not see that coming,” she said. “When we read that monologue at the table read about how, ‘Yes, I was trying to hide that my husband died of alcoholism,’ it’s very dramatic. It’s excellent writing. I love how much compassion she has for him and how she really loved him. She says, ‘He did the best that he could.’ ...

“I thought it was such a beautiful monologue and it talked about alcoholism from the spouse’s point of view. It was very dramatic.”

The monologue is delivered in the absurd setting of that mid-air record-launch party, but lands because of soberly delivered lines such as “He was the only man I ever loved and I didn’t want him to be a joke.”

“That’s so sad. I love that line. She loved him and she felt like, ‘It’s a disease and he was doing the best he could,’ so it just shows the compassion,” says the veteran actress. “I loved it. It makes me cry. I loved it. I loved performing it. I’ve never gotten a monologue like that in my entire life. I just felt like, such responsibility to perform it really well because the writing is such a gift.”

To see the entire interview, click on the video below.


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