Reel Estate

In Comedy Central’s sitcom ‘The Other Two,’ a NYC apartment seems as unobtainable as a career in showbiz

Heléne Yorke plays Brooke Dubek, a former dancer turned real estate agent.

Jon Pack/Comedy Central

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Comedy Central’s new sitcom “The Other Two” features a Justin Bieber-like tween, Chase Dubek, known as "Chase Dreams," who becomes an overnight success after posting a song on YouTube that goes viral. But the show’s real focus—hence the title—is Chase’s two older, much less successful siblings. Not only do they struggle with their careers, they also grapple with the challenges of NYC real estate.

The brother and sister are Ohio transplants who endure not-so-ideal Manhattan living situations, like many would-be entertainers who flock to NYC with dreams of making it big.

After failing to get their showbiz careers off the ground, siblings Brooke Dubek (played by Helene Yorke) and Cary (Drew Tarver) have taken other jobs and are forced to deal with their newfound fame of their little brother (Case Walker, a viral music star himself), who is under the management of his momager, Pat (played by Molly Shannon). 

In the opening episode we meet Brooke, a former dancer who tells everyone who will listen she attended the School of American Ballet. But now, after a recent breakup with a boyfriend, she finds herself homeless. Fortunately, she’s a real estate agent, and she doesn’t skip a beat; she opts to spend her nights sleeping on an airbed in empty luxury apartments that are for sale.  

(This rings true to me because several years ago, when I lived in a luxury high rise, a real estate agent threw a super-secret and very loud party in the empty apartment next to mine, and I was forced to call the cops.)

The show opens with Brooke waking in a sun-splashed property, quickly dismantling her makeshift bedroom just in time to greet a potential buyer.

When her colleague enters and asks what she is doing there so early, Brooke replies, “Ready to sell this apartment to Mr. …” To which the buyer replies, “Global Biofund LLC.” The line hits home because multi-million-dollar buyers often hide their identities behind LLCs when buying here.

Brooke takes it a step further by donning a disguise to use the building’s private gym without detection.

Shortly after, we see her brother’s hellish, albeit fairly typical, living situation: Dealing with a rather bizarre roommate. Cary, a waiter and aspiring actor who is gay, shares a rather modest two bedroom walkup with a stereotypical gym rat who claims he is straight but then takes every opportunity he can to seduce Cary. His ambiguous sexuality is not only confusing to Cary, but also makes for a rather stressful rental situation. Why would anyone put up with such stress? For the cheap apartment, of course!

In subsequent episodes, Brooke is fired from her real estate gig and takes to picking up random strangers so she has somewhere to sleep each night. But even she has her limits. She turns down an offer to stay in Murray Hill, because she’d rather be homeless than go to that nabe.

Molly Shannon plays Pat Dubek, mother and manager to popstar Chase Dubek, known as Chase Dreams, played by Case Walker.

Jon Pack/Comedy Central

Popstar Chase and his mom sublet actor Justin Theroux’s Soho loft. While it’s not actually Theroux’s real home, it’s not hard to imagine a big star living in a spacious bi-level loft with exposed brick, indoor pool and incredibly high ceilings. What is a bit harder to swallow is that Theroux has a church in the loft, as well as some very strange fixtures.

“Why does Justin Theroux have a room in his house that only has a sink and a motorcycle in it?” Brooke asks, as she straddles the bike (it’s a toilet in an over-the-top bathroom, she suddenly realizes).

Even though price is not mentioned, it makes sense that a singer who commands major press, a billboard in Times Square, multiple record deals and stints on morning television would be able to afford a three-month sublet of a million-dollar listing.

And while it's a bit strange for a luxury apartment to have just one bedroom, yet three saunas, affluent New Yorkers are known to do some strange things to their homes. The show makes the lack of bedrooms into a gag: Brooke opts to sleep in Theroux’s shoe closet and Pat curls up on a lounge chair next to the pool.

Many New Yorkers lament that they live in a shoebox, so when Cary quips to Brooke that he basically lives in a closet it’s something many of us New Yorkers can relate to. But when Brooke fires back, “I literally live in a closet,” less so.

Overall, as hyperbolic as the show is, it represents NYC real estate in a far more reasonable realistic way than one would expect. Brooke’s dream to have her own place seems fairly benign. Cary’s desire to have a normal roommate is totally par for the course. Their rather boring real estate desires make my own dream to one day have an apartment with its own washer and dryer, and fridge that can make its own ice—hey, I can fantasize—seem far more out of reach.  Chasing dreams, indeed.