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As a famous woman onscreen and off-, it’s not entirely surprising that there are moments when Molly Shannon’s life mirrors that of her The Other Two character, Pat Dubek — until she shares that those common experiences include enjoying anonymity courtesy of a disguise.
In episode four of the Max comedy, which debuts on the service today, billionaire media mogul Dubek is tired of being surrounded by security or getting swarmed by fans every time she leaves the house. After sneaking out without her bodyguards proved to be an ineffective solution, she came up with another idea: donning prosthetics and a wig that made her look like “Grandma Dubek.”
She first tests the persona while meeting her son Cary (Drew Tarver) for coffee. “See! No one can tell, Cary. It’s perfect,” she exclaims. “All I need to do is get into full prosthetic makeup every morning for four hours, then I can seamlessly move through the world without my security detail.”
Later, Pat excitedly tells her daughter, Brooke (Heléne Yorke), that it’s “exhilarating” having a bartender be “really mean” because she’s so used to people being nice to her.
In real life, Shannon had a similar day — minus the rude bartender.
“I actually walked around during my lunch break and went to like a butcher shop in Brooklyn and ordered a chicken salad sandwich,” Shannon tells The Hollywood Reporter. “It was very weird because in real life I get recognized when I go out. So it was actually really fun to go walk around and not be recognized at all. I felt like Pat, you know. Sometimes you get these crazy life experiences as an actress because of what’s going on with the character and the work.”
Shannon says it was fun being incognito and added with a laugh, “You could spy on people.”
The episode ends with Pat having a drink at a bar, still dressed as Grandma Dubek, when her boyfriend Streeter (Ken Marino) walks in. He’s supposed to be out of town and admits to the bartender that he lied to his famous girlfriend so he could do normal things like ride the subway and eat at a restaurant. “We haven’t been able to go out as a normal couple for a while,” he explains before describing what he thinks is a sad hypothetical scenario that involves her putting on an elaborate disguise so they could go on dates. “That’s not a life, for me or for her.” She walks past him crying on the way out, and that’s when he realizes the old woman at the bar might have been Pat.
Turns out, Shannon’s wish to surprise someone with the disguise in real life came true.
“Before we shot that, I had just finished getting all my makeup and I saw Ken [Marino] on the street outside by the trailers,” Shannon says. “We were walking to set and I waved, and I forgot I had the makeup on.”
Marino made a strange face and she thought he must’ve just been distracted, so she tried waving again. “He was acting so weird, and he walked way ahead of me,” she says. “Then we get to set and I think he was like, ‘Oh there’s that lady again.'”
Then, it clicked. “He realized it was me and we were in hysterics because he forgot that I would be in prosthetics when we were shooting that day,” Shannon recalls. “We laughed so hard. I said, ‘I was wondering why you were acting so rude.’ He thought I was like some fan following him or something. Isn’t that funny?”
Shannon says she and Marino get along well in real life, which has made it easy acting opposite him as the pair’s onscreen relationship has evolved.
“I think Streeter is her first real relationship because with her first husband she was kind of married alone,” Shannon says. “She really loves him. They have similar values about family, and he treats her kids like they’re his own.”
Still, there have been ups and downs — including Streeter being a little too clingy in the second season and, of course, Pat overhearing his feelings about their relationship at the bar.
“Pat has to learn how to set boundaries in her work life and in her personal life,” says Shannon. “So she’s kind of figuring out how to do that, and this season we see more of her in that stage of her relationship.”
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