On most series, a young man’s coming of age might manifest in a birthday party or a quiet monologue. On The Other Two, we get a cross-country shell game involving a thumb drive of armpit pics. (Or, as folks in the biz might call them, “’pit pics.”)
Who would want it any other way?
The armpit in question, in this case, would belong to our young protagonist Chase Dubek—a singer known professionally as “Chase Dreams.” During a recent interview, real-life actor Case Walker reflected on growing up from ages 14 to 20 on set, and the growing gap he’s started to feel between himself and his character as the series debuts its final season.
Unlike Chase Dubek, who returns to our screens fresh off a three-year time jump, Case Walker has lived the last couple years here in the real world—so he’s done some more growing up than his character has. On top of that, he points out, he’s now two years older than Chase, which further separates their experiences.
Most important, though, is the fact that unlike his character, he’s been able to maintain a life outside Los Angeles—especially now that his family has, as he put it, “moved to a mountain town and gotten caught up in all that.” (Hallmark movie when?!) While Chase’s life mostly exists within the industry, Walker leads a whole other life in Colorado, where he’s still “just a college kid who rock climbs.”
Chase Dreams never gets to rock climb.
For three seasons, we’ve seen his family spiral. His mother, Pat (Molly Shannon), has become a mega-famous daytime host and can no longer leave her house without a security team or full-on prosthetic make-up. Meanwhile, Chase’s siblings, Cary (Drew Tarver) and Brooke (Heléne Yorke) both continue to be hot messes this season.
Cary’s narcissism has overtaken his personality as he strives for fame as an actor, and Brooke’s dream of becoming a talent manager suddenly feels meaningless now that everyone around her has switched to a career in nursing, thanks to COVID. Chase’s manager Streeter (Ken Marino) and publicist Shuli (Wanda Sykes) are good at what they do, but their methods are chilling—especially to anyone who gets the show’s many, many jokes about Hollywood’s gross underbelly.
Which brings us back to the ’pit pic. Throughout its third season, The Other Two makes a running joke out of the industry’s knack for monetizing young stars’ coming of age. (Every time someone mentions Chase’s 18th birthday, an onlooker sprouts monstrous features like fangs at the thought of how they can churn a profit from his new “adult” status.) This culminates in a photo shoot debuting Chase’s armpit as a symbol of his newfound virility—a gag that might just be The Other Two creators Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider’s magnum opus.
In its final season, the series works better than ever before. Its idiosyncratic humor makes a perfect match for our “post”-pandemic malaise. Everything in this show’s world has always been just a little bit off, but now, so is everything else. The comedy has also come into its own over time. Walker credits the show’s creators not only for their vision, but for having the confidence to lean into heavy satire while keeping their characters grounded.
“The first season is very raw,” Walker pointed out. “And then in this season, we have supernatural effects like vampire teeth.”
This season continues The Other Two’s grand tradition of over-the-top costumes and absurd “makeovers.” This time around, poor Chase gets dressed up like a dirtbag (and a college Republican) to protect the very ordinary girl he falls in love with from his rabid fans. Why would any of this help the girl in question, whose name is a work of sadistic genius that I refuse to spoil? You’d have to ask Chase’s managers.
The important thing, however, is that Chase’s Pete Davidson era is everything you’d want it to be. There’s make-up, bleached hair, and so many tattoos at the family dinner in a fake Applebees.
Even though they were fake, the tats apparently did not come easy. “They hand drew all those tattoos,” Walker said of make-up artists Andrew Sotomayor and Michael Clifton. “Andrew bought a new tattoo printer, and he would print them out and put them on.” The process took two hours, Walker said, and they needed to be replaced three or four times over a multi-day shoot.
Throughout our interview, Walker praised the cast and crew on The Other Two, especially his “big bro” Tarver. There is an Other Two group text, he said, as well as an email chain. As someone who grew up around his colleagues, the working relationships have been unique.
“It’s been a really cool dynamic to navigate,” he said, “because at the end of the day, everyone goes home. There’s boundaries. But after working together for so long—they’ve seen me go from 14 to 20—you can try to have boundaries, but they know so much about me. … We’ve gone through the lows and the highs.”
As The Other Two charts its ending, Walker is also looking forward to his next steps. Last year, he starred in Monster High: The Movie, and he’ll also star in its upcoming sequel. Attending film school has also deepened Walker’s appreciation for the medium and made him even more passionate about working on more films in the future—perhaps even something like Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis. (There’s an Other Two joke about Austin Butler’s awards season accent in there somewhere.)
“Whatever that opportunity looks like,” Walker said, he’s game. “But film is really the focus.” Long-term, he said, he’s also interested in screenwriting. In the meantime, however, he’s honing his craft—“as cliché as that is to say.”
“I’ll do the work all day, whether people like it or not,” Walker added. “And I want that to be the rest of my career.”
But what becomes of Chase Dubek in the end? After all the surreal family moments and wardrobe misadventures, where does The Other Two leave the one who started it all? Given that the finale is weeks away, Walker obviously could not go into detail. Still, he did offer one tease—one that’s just tantalizing and vague enough to make Shuli proud.
“There’s a little reveal, and it kind of sets up a fun path for Chase,” Walker said. “He makes a decision … and it just sets up a lot more for Chase Dreams.”
Dream on, babies. You can’t keep a guy with a ’pit like that down.
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