- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Flipboard
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Tumblr
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
[This story contains some spoilers for the first two episodes of The Other Two season three.]
Molly Shannon and her The Other Two character Pat Dubek may not seem that similar at first glance. But as the actor pushes herself with new challenges this season and the character transforms from a clueless Midwestern mom to a New York media mogul, there have been unmistakeable moments of art imitating life.
The latest installment of the Max series from SNL alums Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider — which stars Case Walker, Drew Tarver and Heléne Yorke as siblings ChaseDreams, Cary and Brooke Dubek — sees Pat become “more powerful than she could have ever imagined,” according to HBO’s logline.
Pat, now a billionaire, has traded her endless and exhausting workdays as a talk show host for a somehow much lighter workload as the head of her own network — and is so famous she can’t leave the house without being surrounded by security. She’s darker and funnier too, Shannon says, giving a simple and relatable explanation: “Fame can change people.”
“I’m very excited for fans to see something I’ve never played before coming up in the second half of the episodes,” says Shannon. “It was a truly fantastic experience and really challenging acting. I was nervous to shoot that stuff and I’m really glad it’s in the can and done.”
Ahead of the May 4 season premiere, which picks up three years after the events of the second season, Shannon talked with THR about navigating story time jumps, taking on a “tougher” Pat and how her character’s life has mirrored her own.
Pat has been in a very different place in her life in each of the three seasons. What has that evolution been like for you?
It’s really fun because in season one she was an innocent, naive mom from Ohio with the heart of gold. Family is her center. She comes [to New York] from Ohio wanting to make her son a star, not knowing anything about show business. This season you see her reaching this crazy level of fame. She has her own media empire. She’s in the public eye. She’s gotten a lot more sophisticated and savvy about show business, and she actually speaks in a different way. It was really fun to play because I’ve never played a character like that before. I’ve never played someone that rich — you know, “Welcome to my house and my empire.” I’ve never really done a character like that before. I did White Lotus, but it was different than Pat. They’re very different characters. So, it was so fun to play.
What do you think happened to Pat during the three years that we don’t get to see? How would you imagine her life over that period?
I think she’s really embraced her big life. It’s so much more than she ever could have dreamed of. She’s grown into it, and you see her actually speaking in a different way than she did in the first season. She’s darker. She’s tougher and she says really funny things that you wouldn’t have heard her say in the first season. Fame has changed her, and she’s really come into her power as a woman, as a famous woman, and you see that reflected in season three.
For most of the first episode, you’re hidden and just a voice. When you first read the script, what did you think about that being how she comes back after the time jump?
I have so much trust in our brilliant, amazing showrunners, Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider. So I never worry. Whatever they want, I’m like, “Yay! Great.” They’re so good at what they do. I thought it was so funny that she’s hidden underneath all these security guards, just looking out with a little like dental mirror. It just felt fun and hilarious and I loved it.
When we left season two, Pat was overworked and exhausted. Now she’s surrounded by security and bored. What do you hope for her in the future, in terms of maybe finding a balance between those two?
At the end of the day, all Pat really cares about is family and when she’s losing touch with that it does not make her happy. It makes her miserable. So she really has to find balance. It’s exciting that she has all these opportunities, and she appreciates that. She came from Ohio from nothing and now her life has just blown up so much. But she’s lonely and, actually, her world has become so small. She needs to figure out how to make her life better. I think that she’s disillusioned. She didn’t realize that it was going to be like this, that it would feel like living in a goldfish bowl. She had no idea. It’s a lot to handle. So I hope that she can find a place of peace with it all.
What has it been like working with the rhythm of this show, having the seasons spread out two years apart and the time jumps?
I was so busy when the show got shut down by COVID [during filming of season two]. I think I was shooting two shows at once. I felt like Pat in real life. We would be doing a scene and Chris Kelly would go, “Okay, in this scene Pat’s so tired that she has to take naps standing up for 20 seconds. And then Pat is about to hop on a plane to take a red-eye.” He’d explain where we are in the script, and I was like, “That’s exactly what I’m doing today.” It was always reflecting my own life, Molly Shannon’s life, flying back and forth shooting. I’m a mom. It was just so funny, and Chris and I would always laugh because I felt like this is exactly what I’m doing.
When the COVID shutdown happened during our show — of course it was extremely scary and a crazy time that we all went through — but on a personal level I was so exhausted that I was like, “Thank God I get a break.” I felt like Pat. I get a break with my family and I get to go back home. I remember I left my suitcase in New York City at a hotel for a year and because I thought, “Oh, I’ll be back.” It was so surreal.
It’s wild to think about how long this has stretched over. Case was so young when he first started and now he’s a young man. Mostly I just feel fortunate that we get to shoot this show with these brilliant showrunners and our talented cast, and so lucky that we get to shoot and that we made it through and we’re still on air.
Do you have a favorite scene this season?
I really like the scene with Ken [Marino] where we’re at my house and he’s trying to give advice to Cary that’s like really bad, cringey advice. It was so hard to not laugh. He’s so funny, and he’s still treating Pat’s kids like they’re little kids. Watching Ken perform was just a joy, and [it was] very hard to not laugh. When you’re laughing that hard and acting it feels so good, like such a release.
I imagine that happens a lot on this show.
It does. But it’s also hard, like the dialogue is hard. The writing is so good and you want to get it right. We’re also all really concentrating. There was a lot to memorize. We shot a lot fast. Especially Drew [Tarver], he had a lot of heavy stuff this season. We just had big days where we had so much dialogue, and we would all try to help one another. I had days where I was like, “How am I going to get through all this?” So it’s not always joking around.
We would shoot in locations, and sometimes you shoot all the scenes for that one location in one day. It’s a lot of dialogue. I was flying back and forth and I was always memorizing on the plane. I remember when I finally finished I was like, “Oh, I can just like watch a movie on my flight and not have to memorize!” I feel that way now. After a while it starts to hurt your head a little bit. It’s nice to have a break from memorizing.
Is there anything that you really want fans to know about this season?
They’re taking big swings comedically, but what’s also great about Sarah and Chris is they’re finding new, fresh ways to tell LGBTQ stories that haven’t been told and are original. That’s wonderful to have that kind of representation in television now and to be a part of it is just a joy for me. It’s really important to me. I love the writing. It’s hilarious and then also heartfelt. Just buckle your seatbelts because season three may be the best season yet and I’m excited for our fans to see it.
Interview edited for length and clarity.
The Other Two‘s 10-episode third season releases new episodes on HBO and Max on Thursdays.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day
More from The Hollywood Reporter
Brandon Scott Jones on Curtis and Cary’s Conflict in ‘The Other Two’: “He’s Reaching a Breaking Point”
‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Producers on Queer Representation, Activism: “It’s Become a Mission For Us”
saturday night live
‘Awards Chatter’ Podcast — Martin Short (‘Only Murders in the Building’ and ‘Saturday Night Live’)