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Series / The Other Two

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The Other Two is a single-camera sitcom created by former Saturday Night Live head writers Chris Kelley & Sarah Schneider and produced by Lorne Michaels. It originally aired on Comedy Central before moving to HBO Max starting with season two.

It follows struggling twenty/thirty-something siblings Cary (Drew Tarver), a struggling actor, and Brooke (Heléne York), a former dancer, after their 13-year-old brother Chase (Case Walker) becomes a viral teen idol known as ChaseDreams. Although supportive, they find themselves struggling to reconcile Chase's sudden fame amid their own problems: Cary grappling with how to succeed in the entertainment industry without compromising his homosexuality, and Brooke trying to figure out what her next move should be after quitting her latest dead-end job and breaking off a longterm relationship. Complicating matters further is the unexpected arrival of Chase in Manhattan with their mother Pat (Molly Shannon) and his new agent Streeter (Ken Marino) to manage his burgeoning career. Also appearing in the series are Josh Segarra as Lance, Brooke's ex-boyfriend, and Wanda Sykes as Shuli, an executive at Chase's record label.

The show explores the anxieties and ambitions of aging millennials while spoofing the culture around internet celebrity, especially Youtubers and influencers. It also features plentiful celebrity cameos such as Patrick Wilson, Andy Cohen, and Michael Che as themselves. It lasted three seasons, with the final episode airing in 2023.

Associated Tropes

  • Accidental Public Confession: In an emotional frenzy, Pat admits her husband didn't die of cancer and was an alcoholic who froze to death during Chase's album launch livestream and in front of a plane full of his young fans.
  • Adam Westing: In his guest spot, Simu Liu makes fun of being the star of a Marvel Cinematic Universe martial arts film by playing himself as a jetsetting bro who is constantly referred to as "Marvel's Simu Liu", is bad at oral sex, and is paid to stay jacked.
  • Age-Gap Romance:
    • In "Pat Connects with Her Fans," Pat gives money to a young gay man who supposedly just came out to his father. In reality, they're not a gay guy and his father, but a gay guy and his much-older daddy, so to speak.
    • In season three, Pat starts dating Simu Liu, who is three years younger than Brooke.
  • Air-Vent Passageway:
    • In "Chase Goes to a High School Dance," Streeter sneaks Chase into the school through the ventilation system. Apparently all the stars are doing it.
    • In "Brooke Hosts a Night of Undeniable Good," after Brooke locks the COVID safety officer in the broom closet, she escapes through the vents.
  • Alcoholic Parent: The Dubeks' late father had a serious alcohol problem, and when Pat insisted he stop drinking due to concerns over how it'd affect the kids, he stubbornly climbed onto the roof in the freezing cold and died up there. Pat is still too humiliated to talk about it.
  • All Gays are Promiscuous:
    • Subverted. Cary hastily fools around with his roommate out of sheer horniness, but soon stops because he's uncomfortable being used for sexual experimentation. Also, Cary presumes the Instagays are promiscuous and fooling around with each other, when in fact they are religious virgins and one of them is straight. They just like hanging out in speedos and taking pictures of each other's bodies.
    • In "Pat Connects with Her Fans," Jess and Cary encounter a kinky gay couple (plus a third from Grindr) believing them to be a newly-out gay guy and his father (and the guy's brother). The kinkier gays are weirded out that Jess and Cary are so chaste.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: When Chase and his new girlfriend Pam break up, his team makes him up to be a rude, disgusting bad boy so his fans will take Pam's side instead of trying to kill her. Unfortunately, Chase's fans love his new vibe, including some who didn't even like him before.
    Brooke: Fuck! We forgot that everybody loves a bad boy now! Like it's actually hot and good to be ugly and bad?
  • All Take and No Give: While Lance is very supportive in all of Brooke's endeavors, she doesn't put in as much effort to support his, at least not after he becomes a nurse and all she cares about is being as "good" as he is. Lance calls her out very harshly for this in "Cary & Brooke Go to an AIDS Play," pointing out that she treats him like shit because she trusts that he's always gonna be good to her. This culminates in them breaking up.
  • Ambiguously Bi:
    • Cary's roommate Matt is supposedly straight, but has casual sex with Cary. The fact it isn't clear if Matt is actually into guys or just playing around is why Cary stops fooling around with him.
    • Brooke's ex-boyfriend Lance is still into women, but doesn't hesitate to agree with Brooke that Shawn Mendes is sexually attractive.
  • Amicable Exes:
    • Brooke and Lance stay supportive friends after their breakup. They get back together, but their second breakup is on much worse terms, before getting back together again.
    • Chase and Pam break up just a couple of weeks after dating, but it was mutual and they want to remain friends. Unfortunately, Chase's fans don't care and threaten Pam's life just because she's the ex-girlfriend, to the point Shuli tries to send her to a retreat in the woods.
  • Audience Murmurs: Parodied in the third season, where a fake Applebee's is constructed and actors hired to play servers and customers so that the famous Dubek family can have a normal family dinner. Pat, who isn't aware that it's all fake, starts a minor crisis because all the customers are saying "peas and carrots" to simulate chatter and orders this, even though Applebee's doesn't serve 'peas and carrots' as a dish.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In the finale, Brooke worrying about her reputation being ruined is interspersed with two writers at The Atlantic and BuzzFeed writing scathing articles talking about taking someone down. Once the red carpet interviews start, Brooke gets off scot-free, but it turns out the articles started scandals about Pat and Chase.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: In "Brooke Gets Her Hands Dirty," Streeter calls Brooke upset that Chase has a "coke problem"... that is, he refuses to do coke.
  • Bait-and-Switch Lesbians: Male example. "Pat Gets an Offer to Host 'Tic-Tac-Toe'", Cary goes out with Dean Brennon, a straight actor who deliberately 'gay-baits' by going out with men on pap-infested dates, taking gay roles, and pointedly not clarifying his sexuality to boost his career.
  • Bait-and-Switch Time Skip: In the series finale, Chase has a breakdown waiting for his agent Mackenzie to call after she promised to get a director for Cary's Oscar Bait movie. Cue a montage of Cary leaving frantic phone calls t Mackenzie while roughing it in Lucas's tent, growing a Beard of Sorrow and braving all sorts of weather conditions, including snow. Eventually he snaps and just tracks Mackenzie down to her house in the Hamptons. Shocked, she informs him it's only been thirty-six hours since they had their meeting, and it's the weekend. Apparently there wasn't even really any snow.
  • Big Applesauce: The show is shot in NYC, and Pat and Chase are excited to move there. Brooke and Cary have struggled to survive and don't see it as quite so glamourous, but they still enjoy being there.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Both Brooke and Cary are very protective of Chase, especially when he's put into grown-up situations he's not mature enough to handle. Furthermore they are not thrilled to find out Chase is going to school online, being denied important childhood experiences. This comes to a boiling point when they find out he pretty much finished school and Brooke fights for him to have the night off so he can enjoy a school dance with kids his own age.
  • Birthday Episode: "Cary Gets His Ass Handed to Him" has Pat try to have a nice, normal dinner at Applebee's for her birthday. Since she's too famous to have that, her boyfriend Simu Liu puts an Applebee's together on a soundstage and tries to convince her it's real.
  • Blackmail: In "Cary & Brooke Go to an AIDS Play," Cary threatens Lukas Gage that if he doesn't give his role to Cary's boyfriend, Cary will tweet that Lukas walked out of the boring AIDS play. Lukas decides to stay and watch the rest of the play, even if it's very slow and boring.
  • Bottle Episode: The first season Episode on a Plane is a bottle episode, with all scenes taking place on the plane. The teen extras playing Chase's fans were identical twins, with one set of twins shooting the first two days of filming and the second set filming the second two days of filming.
  • …But He Sounds Handsome: In the finale, after Taking the Heat for Pat and Chase's controversial tweets, Brooke tweets out statements from them both to fire her, making sure to mention how unbelievable it is that someone with her "snatched-ass bod" would do such a thing.
  • But Not Too Gay: Invoked in-universe when Cary books a commercial. He's given the note to act with "less color" by the casting director (ergo, less "gay"), despite the fact that Cary himself is not actually very flamboyant to begin with.
  • Catfishing: A genitalia variant. Brooke suggests that Cary use a photo of Lance's penis as his profile picture on Grindr to get more attention from guys. At the end of the episode, Cary's hookup calls him out on using a different dick for his profile picture... because it looks so much bigger in person!
  • Caretaking is Feminine: Brooke expresses reservations with her on-off boyfriend Lance's career change to nursing, fearing that it makes him look gay.
  • Celebrity Voice Actor: In-Universe, Disney is making a live-action remake of Bambi starring teen singer Chase as Thumper, Drake as Bambi, and Cardi B as Bambi's mother.
    Chase: But we're not actors.
    Streeter: Yeah. They don't let actors do voice acting for movies anymore. It's only singers and athletes. So it's you, Drake, Cardi B, Shawn Mendes is Mr. Mole, and Damian Davis from the Golden State Warriors is Flower.
  • Chekhov's Gag: Two in "Chase Becomes Co-Owner of the Nets":
    • Curtis tells Cary, who's studying for a role in a hospital movie, that his dream role is to be a sobbing woman who busts her way into her husband's hospital room. Later in the episode, Chase is in the hospital after a fainting spell and needs to get a ride home, so he calls Curtis, who finally gets to do the part.
    • Early in the episode, Pat wants to post on Instagram about Cary's new role in Night Nurse, but she doesn't know how to use it. This comes back at the very end of the episode, when she makes the post with her assistant's help, not realizing that the movie's been cancelled, making everyone believe the movie's still on.
    • "Brooke Hosts a Night of Undeniable Good" ends with Pat texting Streeter a long rant about how she actually hated her visit in Ohio and misses having sex with him, only to realize she was on Twitter, not texting, and deleting the tweets quickly. In the season finale, Pat gets into massive online controversy and loses a ton of support and advertisers because the tweets offended her small-town American audience.
  • Class Reunion: The B-plot of "Brooke Hosts a Night of Undeniable Good" has Cary attend his high school reunion in Ohio to try and show off how successful he is.
  • Comically Missing the Point: At the end of "Cary & Brooke Go to an AIDS Play," when Brooke sobs over breaking up with Lance, Streeter still thinks she's upset about him breaking up with Pat.
  • Contrived Coincidence: When Cary speeds home to his class reunion to show off his new success, not even taking bathroom breaks, he's surprised to see multiple other gay drivers doing the same.
  • Coordinated Clothes: In the season 3 premiere, Brooke and Cary both show up to the premiere of Night Nurse in the same outfit (topless under a royal blue suit jacket with matching pants).
  • Corrupt Church: The Christsong Churchnote  is an exclusive church that provides a plethora of opportunities and riches for celebrities, but holds homophobic and sexist beliefs. It's later also revealed that the leader of the church's father was involved in a pedophilia scandal that the leader used church money to cover up.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The Season 2 finale follows Pat and Chase instead of Brooke and Cary for a change, shining a light on how exhausting it is for them to be famous and still never have their needs met. The Idiosyncratic Episode Naming is even altered to match — while most episodes have Pat or Chase's name in the title despite actually focusing on Brooke and Cary, this episode is titled "Brooke and Cary Go to a Fashion Show," and Pat and Chase are now the titular "other two."
  • Deliberately Monochrome: In "Brooke Gets Her Hands Dirty," Cary crossing onto the set of procedural Emily Overruled is depicted as him crossing into a black-and-white setting to emphasize the monotonous culture of the set. As he convinces the rest of the crew to make actual acting choices instead of just staying on their mark and saying the lines the same way each time, more color spreads to the set. The lead actress panics about returning to normal on set after realizing there's more to entertainment than her role, so Cary actually paints her in black-and-white makeup as a metaphor for letting her get back to her role while Cary takes more risks. When Cary leaves his mark and adds more acting to his scene, spreading color across the jury extras.
  • Denser and Wackier: Season 3 incorporates more surreal and fantastical elements to symbolize issues with the industry, such as characters turning into vampires when they hear Chase is almost 18, Brooke literally being invisible after she quits her job, a procedural being Deliberately Monochrome a la Pleasantville, or Brooke going to space twice in one night. These become less frequent later in the season as Cary and Brooke start to really question their behavior, suggesting these may be their twisted perspective and not actual events.
  • Description Cut: In "Brooke Hosts a Night of Undeniable Good," Pat goes to Ohio during Cary's high school reunion, but Cary declines. Later, Pat bemoans to an old friend that Cary couldn't come, only to cut to Cary racing against the clock to make it to Ohio because he now wants to flex his success.
  • Did Not Die That Way: Chase believes his father died of cancer. He later finds out that his dad was an alcoholic who froze to death on the roof of the family home.
  • Double Standard Rape: Female on Male: Discussed in "Chase Gets a Girlfriend." Brooke jokingly recounts kissing Lance while he was asleep, and is surprised to learn it's sexual assault because she's a woman and a self-proclaimed feminist. She feels ashamed and apologizes to him, but he doesn't see anything wrong with it.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Male on Male: When Brooke hears the mental health therapist at her "Night of Undeniable Good" is sexually harassing the crew, she asks if he was grabbing girls' butts or guys' butts, and implies that it might not be as bad if it's just the latter. The rest of the crew doesn't seem to agree.
  • Dreadful Musician: Played with. For the most part, Chase is a decent singer in his videos. But in the season finale, when he sings live, it turns out he's actually pretty bad and only covered by studio tricks and distractions like dancing and costumes.
  • Earpiece Conversation: During the opening scene of "Chase Becomes Co-Owner of the Nets," Pat does a "73 Questions" video with Vogue, and Brooke tells her all the answers to repeat to help her career.
  • Embarrassing Last Name: Brooke and Shuli are already disgusted when Chase falls for a normal girl named Pam, but it gets worse when she says her last name is Snot.
  • Episode on a Plane: Chase's album launch takes place on a plane full of fans and livestreaming, and the whole episode takes place on the trip.
  • Failed a Spot Check: When she's accused of breaking a non-disclosure agreement about sleeping with an actor, Brooke is convinced one of her friends blabbed. She wonders how it could happen, each time remembering being in a car talking about it with the driver. She moans "oh, it's so obvious..." And then is on the phone telling her friends "your apartment is bugged!" She adds how once again, she fucked the guy in front of another driver. When told she broke it again, she goes for the idea that one of them is bugged. Even when her friends walk out on her, Brooke still can't grasp that the drivers were tipping folks off as "I was alone every time I called!" It finally sinks in at a meeting.
    Agent: These are videos from three separate Lyft drivers.
    Brooke: Who, of course, are little human beings up there.
    Agent: Yes and if I had to guess, that's the energy that made them send us the tapes.
  • Fake American: In-Universe, Lucas turns out to have been Australian all along. He'd just been playing American characters so much that he forgot his real voice.
  • Female Misogynist: In "Chase Gets Baptized," Brooke actively tries to seek out women who will give her permission to enjoy the perks of an anti-women church. She rules out two women with feminist T-shirts and approaches a woman from Texas, assuming she won't be a feminist. However, the woman is from the liberal city of Austin and very interested in social causes.
  • Flash Mob: Cary has an acting job in season one in which he is part of a flash mob that entertains tourists.
  • Foreign Culture Fetish: Parodied. White American actress Blake Lively opens a Thai fusion restaurant because she was so enamored with Thailand...after staying there for a layover. It serves spaghetti. The characters are repeatedly assured by staff that the restaurant isn't racist.
  • Gay Best Friend: Parodied when Cary and Curtis both go up for the role of the heroine's supportive best friend for a pilot. The character was initially a woman, but the producers decide to turn it into a gay man at the last minute while changing very little else. Curtis muses that he booked the role of "Courtney No-last-name" because he's more effeminate than Cary.
  • Gayngst:
    • Played with regarding Cary. He isn't outwardly ashamed of his sexuality and everybody in his social circle knows he is gay, but he often surprises himself when he reveals some internalized homophobia to himself and others. Example: when an acquaintance says he didn't know he was gay after asking him out, Cary's response is "thank you", which instantly ruins the moment.
    • Cary also feels enough shame about being gay that he never told his grandmother about it and doesn't intend to, while his late father struggled with the knowledge and never really got over it by the time he died.
    • Parodied by Cary's acting coach when giving a class, advising him to look more "ashamed" when simulating gay sex.
    • Parodied when Cary, while attempting to write a screenplay, attends a one-man play about a gay guy who grew up in the Midwest with a disapproving father. Two women lament that it's not enough to be compelling.
      Woman 1: Like, I kept waiting for him to get gay-bashed or something.
      Cary: Yeah, definitely wasn't enough. But maybe if one of his parents died...
      Woman 2: Ugh, so overdone. I can't with dead parents anymore.
    • Parodied with all of Lucas's roles, as his agent deliberately chases angsty gay roles for him because they're more "prestigious." This backfires for Cary since Lucas is an extreme method actor, so when he gets cast as a self-loathing closet case, he refuses to have sex with Cary.
  • Hollywood Old: Parodied, late-20s Cary is considered "perfect" for the role of an elderly teacher with dementia on a Riverdale spinoff.
  • Horrible Hollywood: Though a comedy, one of the show's themes is how Hollywood is built for self-centered people (or decent people with ruthless PR teams) to easily rise to the top, and how silly things can get when celebrities who are not that smart or competent nonetheless have money and power available to them.
  • How We Got Here: The season one finale opens with Brooke and Cary discussing Chase's VMA performance and how their lives are now ruined because of it, before flashing back to the events that led to the scene.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • In "Chase Gets Baptized" Cary (a gay man) and his sister Brooke join a celebrity church for the perks and learn after the fact that it has a history of misogyny and homophobia. Realizing that this makes them look like huge hypocrites, they then scamper to find women (Brooke) and gay men (Cary) who will validate their desire to join.
    • After spending all night chiding people for saying "insane" or "cuckoo bananas," the mental health advocate for the Night of Undeniable Good calls a bad driver a "fucking psycho" on her way out.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each episode title of the first season alludes to something Chase does in that episode, despite the actual plot usually being about Brooke and Cary. This extends to Pat in season two when she also becomes famous. The second season finale, "Brooke and Cary Go to a Fashion Show," inverts this format as it's A Day in the Limelight for Pat and Chase. The third season switches to using Brooke or Cary's name in each title and referring straight-up to their plot in the episode.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: Cary's roommate Matt identifies as straight, but frequently makes sexual advances on him when in the confines of their apartment, which Cary reluctantly accepts because of his attraction to him.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Chase doesn't want all the trappings of fame — he just wants to sing, even if he's not that good, and have a normal teenage life. When his mom gets famous, she likewise wishes she could have a normal life with her family again instead of being exhausted and hounded by security all the time.
  • Incestuous Casting: Happens In-Universe. Brooke steps in to dance in her brother's video, only to be horrified that she has to grind in front of him in a skimpy outfit. She doesn't, and she also keeps reminding the other dancers that her brother is only 13-years-old.
  • Instant Web Hit: Chase's first video creates his celebrity, and he later has other viral smashes.
  • Ironic Echo: In "Cary Pays Off His Student Loans," Lucas, in character as a closeted Gay Cowboy, recites his lines to Cary, "I can't do this anymore. I'm so fucked up— I'm so fucked up since I met you. I just— I got no one, nothing. It's not right what we're doing together, it's not natural." Later, Cary says the same thing to Lucas, but it's referring to Lucas's ridiculous method acting and Cary's debilitating loneliness.
  • It's All About Me: Brooke and Cary make Chase's success all about them, and often they are not wrong. It does change their lives dramatically.
  • The Jailbait Wait: Season 3 begins with Chase saying he's finally eighteen, with a Running Gag of industry people turning into literal vampires whenever he says so. When Shuli clarifies that he's only almost eighteen, they revert back to treating him like a cute teen pop star. Even Streeter almost kisses him on the mouth before remembering Chase is 17 for five more hours, then kissing him on the head. The rest of the season has Shuli and Streeter take full advantage of Chase's newfound "adulthood" with saucy publicity stunts a la 18-year-old Justin Bieber.
  • Jar Potty: In "Brooke Hosts a Night of Undeniable Good," Cary drinks a ton of energy drinks during his long drive to his reunion Ohio, then pees in the cups and flings them behind him. We see the liquid hit another driver's windshield at one point, who pulls over to call Cary out on it... but he's also racing home to "win" his class reunion, so he actually has advice for Cary (wear a diaper instead). And then another driver throws piss onto Cary's window.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Brooke implores Chase not to offer a free BetterHelp trial if fans buy his album because it'll make him look exploitative. While this is Hypocritical Humor because Brooke pushed a similar deal while trying to promote her telethon, Chase going ahead with the idea anyway indeed gets him accused of exploiting his mentally ill fans.
  • Lecherous Licking: Cary creepily licks the side of Lukas Gage's face when trying to psych him into leaving the AIDS play or giving Lucas the role Cary wants for him.
  • LGBT Fanbase:
    • Invoked in "Chase Gets the Gays". The label has Chase sing a song about how he loves his gay brother Cary, and proceeds to evaluate how the LGBT community feels about it through events like a conservative talking head decrying it, etcetera. They finally land on "it's camp" and decide that Chase should pursue other 'safer' demographics like American suburbia now that he has an LGBT fanbase.
    • In-universe "news" show The Gay Minute is always reporting on Laura Dern, because gay men love to root for cool middle-aged women.
  • Littlest Cancer Patient: Subverted in "Chase Gets the Gays." Chase gets fan mail from a little girl named Rachel Kline who's in the hospital and feeling sad, but when Brooke can't find any patient by that name at the hospital, she assumes it's a pervert pretending to be a little girl. Brooke storms over to Rachel's house and walks in on a funeral. Brooke assumes the worst happened to Rachel... until she sees that the deceased is an old lady. Turns out, Rachel did really write the letter, but she's perfectly healthy — she was in the hospital visiting her grandmother and that made her sad.
  • Loony Fan: In "Chase Goes to a High School Dance," Cary gets one in Elijah, a high schooler with a Precocious Crush on Cary who presses their head against Cary's chest, insists he never leave them, and gets very upset and stalks Cary when he goes off with the drama teacher Jeremy. They also add Cary's name to a list of other men who have presumably abandoned them as well.
  • Lonely at the Top: A big theme of the show is how industry success can screw over your personal life. This is highlighted in Season 3: Brooke and Cary become more famous and renowned than they'd ever dreamed they could be, but their huge egos and competitive attitudes push away their loved ones, leaving them feeling hollow and chasing higher and higher pursuits.
  • Lost in Character: In Season 3, Cary falls for Lucas Lambert Moy, a shy, idealistically romantic guy who holds deep conversations with Cary about the meaning of life. Turns out he's a well-known method actor playing the lead in a Love, Victor copycat series. Cary continues dating him, but struggles to make real progress in their relationship, particularly in the sex department, since his character is a virgin. Every other role he gets after that also prevents Cary from having sex with him, as he plays a closeted gay guy in a Hallmark Christmas movie, then convinces himself he's in the 1980's with AIDS, then acts like a gay serial killer. Cary desperately tries to get him a role where he actually has sex, only to realize it's not worth it if he can never connect with the real Lucas. When he finally doesn't have a role lined up anymore, he ends up wandering naked with no idea who he really is.
  • "Meet the Celebrity" Contest:
    • In "Brooke and Cary Go to a Fashion Show," a woman wins a contest to spend the day with Pat. Unfortunately, Pat is so overwhelmed and exhausted that she doesn't spend much time talking to her. The woman also gets to participate in Pat's fashion show, wearing an uncomfortably revealing plastic outfit.
    • In "Cary & Brooke Go to an AIDS Play," Brooke suggests pretending that Chase's potential civilian girlfriend Pam is just a contest winner, much to his disapproval.
  • Meet Cute: After a personal low point, Cary runs into Lucas Lambert Moy, a sensitive guy who offers a sweet carnival date, and the two walk around the city and have fun. Cary even comments on how romantic their first meeting was. Turns out to have been invoked, since Lucas is Method Acting[[note]] for his role in a romantic dramedy.
  • Mentor in Queerness: Parodied in "Pat Connects with Her Fans". After a father and son appear on Pat's show to talk about the latter coming out of the closet, Cary and Jess take it upon themselves to help the son come to terms with the his sexuality and show them how to "be" gay through doing stereotypical "gay" things. The "father" and "son", however, are actually a married couple with children (who are very secure and sexually liberated) pulling a scheme to fleece money out of Pat, who regularly brings on guests with similar claims — and they're not the only ones who've done it, either. The ruse culminates with the "father" kissing Cary at a club, which leaves him very confused.
  • Never Trust a Title: The episode titles usually focus on what Chase or Pat are doing, while the actual plot is about what Brooke and Cary are up to. For example, "Chase Becomes Co-Owner of the Nets" only mentions Chase being the part-time owner of the Nets during the Cold Open, and the rest of the episode has nothing to do with Chase nor the Nets, instead focusing on Brooke attending a women's rights panel and Cary shadowing a nurse to prep for a new movie role. This gimmick is dropped in the third season, where the titles refer to Cary and Brooke's careers and are Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The hip pastor of the exclusive Christsong Church, Jax Dag, bears a strong resemblance to the former pastor of the exclusive real-life Hillsong Church, Carl Lentz. Lentz baptized Justin Bieber into Hillsong, so here, Dag baptizes Chase into Christsong. The episode takes jabs at the scandals surrounding Hillsong.
  • Offended by an Inferior's Success: When Cary lands his first sizable film role, he gets quite an ego from it, while Curtis is still doing cheap pop culture video shows. However, Cary struggles to land another good role after this, so when it seems Curtis' new Paramount+ TV show is going to do well, Cary avoids the premiere party. Only when the negative reviews roll in does Cary attend... and Curtis brutally calls out the way Cary refuses to celebrate Curtis's success unless he's "below" Cary on the Hollywood food chain.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted in "Cary & Brooke Go to an AIDS Play," in which Cary pretends to be Lucas's manager and calls insisting that Lucas get a role as a porn star, since his Method Acting would benefit their sex life. Unfortunately, Lucas's manager also manages Lukas Gage, so he gets the role.
  • Oscar Bait:
  • Political Overcorrectness: The titular play in "Cary & Brooke Go to an AIDS Play" is an extremely long and nonsensical play that jumps between time periods and takes forever to even mention AIDS. Nobody wants to criticize it or leave because it will make them look homophobic and dismissive of the important cause that is HIV. By the third night, the audience members are all openly asleep.
  • Poor Man's Porn: Parodied. After Chase turns 18 the first picture of his armpit is treated with utmost seriousness because of how lightly erotic it is. Brooke discusses it, saying that she masturbated hard to the first picture of Justin Timberlake's armpit, and wonders if they're actually dealing with porn.
  • Practically Different Generations: While Brooke is only two years older than Cary, Chase is well over a decade younger than both of them. As such, they generally act closer to a second set of parents toward him than they do siblings.
  • Queer Character, Queer Actor: Discussed In-Universe. Cary protests that Dean must be into men because he's playing George Michael in a biopic. Shuli points out that only straight people play gay roles, and that Dean is 'gay-baiting' by dating Cary to generate buzz for said biopic.
  • Quote Mine: In her falsified statement from Chase and Pat firing her for their bad tweets, Brooke adds that there's a lot of other issues in the world, so the main headline of the night shouldn't be "Brooke Dubek is Bad." The news anchor and chyron simplify it down to "Brooke Dubek is Bad."
  • Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud: During the "Night of Undeniable Good" telethon, the Parkland school shooting survivor is simply introduced as "Insert Name of Whatever Parkland Teen We Get."
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: In the series finale, when Cary tracks Mackenzie down to berate her for not getting his movie a director yet, she lashes out at length about how rude and entitled he's been and how he should appreciate how much she's done for him. It really seems to have an impact on Cary.
  • The Reveal: "Chase Drops His First Album" reveals how Cary, Brooke, and Chase's dad really died — he froze to death on their roof because Pat wouldn't let him drink in front of Chase.
  • Romantic Rain: Discussed in the finale, when Curtis jokes to Cary that he doesn't want to make up with him and start "kissing in the rain." This actually happens later in the episode between the newly reconciled Brooke and Lance, and the former even lampshades how much she loves that it's raining.
  • Running Gag:
    • Debra Messing will occasionally send stuff to the main characters, which is always met with "Your fan, Debra Messing" "Oh, Debra" between Brooke and Cary.
    • Brooke will often mention her dream of meeting Alessia Cara at inappropriate moments. She finally does near the end of season 2.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: "Brooke Drives an Armpit Across America" has Brooke and Streeter covertly deliver a hard drive with suggestive photos of Chase across the country to Rolling Stone, fending off rival magazines trying to jack the goods. Then they get to Rolling Stone and it's revealed they were one of six decoy trucks, and weren't delivering the real file after all. This sends Brooke into a breakdown as she realizes her job is stupid after all, and she ends up quitting.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The ending of “Chase Turns Fourteen” has Cary doing the end of Call Me by Your Name, with Brooke acknowledging it and name dropping it.
    • Chase and Pam's first meeting in "Cary & Brooke Go to an AIDS Play" is a send-up of Romeo + Juliet, but instead of the two looking at each other through the glass of an aquarium it's a popcorn machine.
  • Shower of Love: At the end of "Brooke Drives an Armpit Across America," Brooke gets in the shower with Lance after quitting her job to celebrate her renewed connection to him.
  • Show Within a Show: There are several fictional shows and films that help portray the Hollywood satire.
    • Pat's hugely successful daytime talk show It's Pat!.
    • Cary gets a foot in the door by hosting a variety of online news segments, such as The Gay Minute, Age/Net Worth/Feet for E!News, and a variety of things for the fictional "BagelBites TV".
    • A subplot involves Cary's feature film debut Night Nurse, co-starring Patricia Arquette (later replaced with Edie Falco) and Beanie Feldstein.
  • Significant Double Casting: In "Cary Pays Off His Student Loans," Lisa's kids Meg and Mark, a pair of perfectly nice suburban young adults who know nothing about the entertainment industry, are played by the same actors as Brooke and Cary. Despite her newfound disdain with suburbia, Pat sticks around with them because she misses actually spending time with Brooke and Cary.
  • Successful Sibling Syndrome: The show's premise is about Brooke and Cary, both struggling in their thirties, getting stuck in the shadow of their 13-year-old brother after he becomes a famous singer. In a twist on this trope, there is no animosity between the three at all, as Chase is shown to be a good kid that both Brooke and Cary treat with a level of affection that borders on being parental.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: The climax of Cary's subplot in "Brooke Gets Her Hands Dirty" has him leave his mark and do some drastic improvisation to make his scene more memorable, enlightening the rest of the crew. It's depicted as inspiring... then it cuts to the production coordinator and director, frustrated that they'll have to rework an entire extra day of shooting to accommodate Cary's changes to the staging, not to mention changing the union status of all the extras since Cary involved them more in his staging.
  • Take That!:
    • "Pat Gets an Offer to Host 'Tic Tac Toe'" takes a dig at Disney Live-Action Remakes, describing an in-universe live-action ''Bambi as, "It's gonna be exactly the same as the original, only cost more and look worse." They add that "they don't let actors do voice-acting anymore, it's all singers or athletes."
    • The titular play in "Cary & Brooke Go to an AIDS Play" makes fun of "prestigious" Tragic AIDS Stories," particularly the six-hour, two-part Angels in America and the similar two-part The Inheritance. 8 Gay Men with AIDS is frustratingly slow and long, spanning multiple days and time periods, but nobody is able to criticize it because it's "important" subject matter. By the third day, everyone in the audience is either sleeping or using their computers.
    • "Brooke, and We Are Not Joking, Goes to Space" has two plots full of jabs:
      • Brooke's plot mocks tech billionaires by depicting them as hammy manchildren who get crazy and competitive the second they hit a billion dollars, with both of Brooke's billionaire dates getting lip filler and dragging her along to space. Specific allusions are made to Mark Zuckerberg (doing things in the metaverse instead of real life) and Jeff Bezos (wearing a cowboy hat and flying to space).
        Brooke: You all just have all the money and the power and you do nothing!
      • Cary's plot mocks the media cycle whenever Disney or another big media corporation hypes up a new gay character whose sexuality turns out to be completely missable in the actual script.
    • When Simu Liu puts together a fake Applebee's dinner for Pat and her family, he reminds the actors to have some "deadness behind the eyes" just like real Applebee's patrons.
    • Near the end of the show, Mackenzie tells Cary that the gay film they are putting together so Cary can campaign for an Oscar has Harry Styles interested as the love interest. "He says he wants another stab at playing gay. He really thinks he can get it right this time," she says, referencing Styles' mixed-reviewed performance in My Policeman.
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: In "Cary Gets His Ass Handed To Him," all of Pam's questions about the New Beginnings retreat she's being shuttled off to are debunked word-for-word in the introductory video.
    Pam: I'll just go home to Iowa. This'll all blow over.
    New Beginnings founder: And by now you're thinking, "I'll just go home to Iowa. This'll all blow over." But if you're this far in, your home has been set on fire.
    Pam: What? No it hasn't. I'm Googling.
    New Beginnings founder: And by now you're Googling. But trust me. It's on fire.
    Pam: Oh my god. It is!
  • Telethon: "Brooke Hosts a Night of Undeniable Good" is about Brooke putting together the titular eight-hour telethon for mental health awareness to try and sell Chase as a mental health advocate and salvage his reputation. Unfortunately, issues keep arising during production, and Brooke makes some less-than-good decisions.
  • Time Skip: Season 2 ends right before the COVID-19 Pandemic, and Season 3 picks up in 2023, three years later, filling in the audience on what the characters have been up to since then.
  • Token Minority: Parodied with the fictional Disney film franchise Haunted Buddies, which was getting flak for not having any LGBT characters. The execs decide to introduce Globby, a sentient green blob with eyes, as the series' first gay character. Globby's homosexuality is established with a scene of him in bed with another blob.
  • Tragic AIDS Story: Parodied harshly in "Cary & Brooke Go to an AIDS Play," when Lucas gets a role in a "prestigious" Broadway play... which, for gay men, means an AIDS Period Piece. 8 Gay Men with AIDS: A Poem In Many Hours exaggerates the tendency of these stories to take place before doctors knew what HIV was, jumping across many time periods and extremely confusing subplots that don't even seem related to AIDS. By the third day of the play, nobody is invested anymore, but the usher guilt-trips anybody who complains since the subject matter is so important.
  • Troubled Production: In-Universe, Cary acts on a fantasy show called Windweavers that's an absolute mess by the point of post-production. Everybody quits and the sole post-production person keeps bugging Cay to get ADR a week before release to compensate for a terrible unclear script, and even then she loses the hard drive and has to redo it. To everyone's surprise, it becomes a massive hit.
  • Undignified Death: The Dubeks' dad. He stubbornly refused to quit drinking and froze on the top of their roof. His penis also apparently froze to the roof since he was on his stomach, and he peed himself too.
  • Wham Line: The mid-credits scene of the Season 2 finale reveals Cary's movie, his big break he's waited his life for, is about to start filming on...March 13th, 2020...
  • Wham Shot: In the Season 1 Season Finale, there is a final shot of Pat's image on a Times Square jumbotron, announcing her new afternoon talk show.
  • Younger Than They Look: Brittlyn from the second episode is an eleven-year-old who looks like a grown woman due to her expert makeup. Brooke thinks she's propositioning her with sleepovers and offers to play with toys before Cary tells her Brittlyn is a preteen.


Video Example(s):


Chase and Kiernan

Shuli sets up her client Chase to marry the actress Kiernan Shipka, a member of the "Hollywood elite", so he can be taken seriously now that he's 18.

How well does it match the trope?

4.33 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / PublicityStuntRelationship

Media sources: