Warning: Spoilers for episodes one through four of season two of 'The Other Two' below.
In the long-awaited sophomore season of "The Other Two," now airing on HBO Max, returning costume designer Jill Bream helps usher two generations of the Dubek family into new stages of fame and fortune. (Well, almost all of them — you'll get there, Cary!)
Midwestern matriarch Pat (Molly Shannon) channels her irrepressible energy into becoming a popular daytime talk show host, while teen sensation ChaseDreams (Case Walker) begins building his mini-mogul empire. Behind-the-scenes, Bream broadened her approach to costume designing while dabbling in method herself: "The fact is that Pat and Chase are in worlds where they would have stylist for them," she says. "I have to think like a stylist would for a major record label and then also for a woman who's on a daytime talk show."
Meanwhile, with her little brother (briefly) enrolled at N.Y.U., a client-less Brooke (Heléne Yorke) is hellbent on a mission to find the next ChaseDreams.
"Regardless of what Brooke is doing, she is doing it like 120%," says Bream.
As blindingly bright as an MTV VMA moon man, Brooke pounds the pavement (and scrolls TikTok in a coffee shop) wearing a shimmering silver trench by RtA, shiny waxed Rag & Bone jeans, pyramid studded Steve Madden stilettos and a wannabe-Stella McCartney Falabella bag from Aldo (below). A David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust-referential lightning bolt earring, from Amazon, accents Brooke's punky "hair all folded to the left," as she aggressively indicates to a potential client's parent.
In her head, Brooke is like, 'I am music,'" Bream says. "So what is the quintessential cool rock star vibe? How she feels like she needs to be seen in order to really be good at her job."
Later, a brief but very welcome appearance from serial entrepreneur/himbo ex-boyfriend Lance (Josh Segarra) reminds Brooke of her temporary stagnation. He delightfully dabs in a pink terry cloth zip-up polo — embroidered with an alligator readying to eat a flamingo — by Tombolo and a custom-built "see-through raincoat," as Brooke rants.
"He's turned into a street style star," says Bream. "That's really nice for Brooke to see him and just be like, 'Whoa. He's gone off and he's doing his own thing and he's doing a great job of it.'"
Brooke's road to success lies in managing mom Pat, so she sartorially pivots into this new role with conservatively-chic pantsuits — somewhat reluctantly, as she complains: "All these manager costumes I bought are so uncomfortable."
"Yes, of course, they're all 'costumes,' says Bream. "Because, at the end of the day, Brooke, in her heart, wants to be in a ripped-up T-shirt from 2007 and boxer shorts or cut-off jeans."
"All of a sudden, she's like, 'Well, I also have to fit the part and I need to match my mother's color aesthetic and a nice, big, bright, happy talk show. So, of course, I have to wear a professional pantsuit,' Bream says. "She morphs into her environment, like a chameleon, just over the top."
With "Classic Brooke" fashion mishaps behind her — and finding redemption from last season's thirsty attempts at becoming the subject of a Getty-watermarked photo (or impersonating former "Real Housewife" Tinsley Mortimer) — the newly-minted industry power player is officially on the list. She dresses up for a Vogue "first-look" party, unveiling a "third Hadid sister," whose face and body have finally settled in (and to which everyone on the Fashionista pitch Zoom exclaimed, "But there is a third Hadid sister!").
Bream — whose work includes "Vampires vs. The Bronx" and the adorably hilarious "John Mulaney & the Sack Lunch Bunch" — explains that co-creator and writers Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider regularly incorporate comedic costume plot lines into the script. The three "Saturday Night Live" alums then discuss how to best illustrate the laughs through style.
"In this situation, Brooke is finally going to a party, where she's invited. She thinks that she is a star in her own right, so she wants to look loud," Bream says. "She wants to be seen and she's gonna find something very on-trend, like a metallic dress [by Rachel Comey]."
Schutz heels, a thrifted fringed bag with a circular handle and an Asos sloped shoulder coat complete Brooke's red carpet look (above). But, ironically, due to her demanding job responsibilities, she barely makes it into the party: "There was the idea that when she's running across the screen, you want to make sure that you can see her. So we went with a loud, bright leopard print coat," Bream. says
In a flashback, Pat, visiting her struggling grown children, brings a skeptical Brooke to a taping of Rachael Ray, who, as a joke in the show, never stops to talk to her commoner fans. Bream looked to the celebrity chef IRL, along with other genial daytime hosts like Reba McIntyre, for costume inspiration as a way to illustrate Pat's success. "Her clothes are expensive," says Bream, who shopped The RealReal for an explosion of bold colors and wacky prints from Etro, Pucci and Akris. "It might be a little bit of Bonnie Hunt, but she needs to be like three clicks over on the excitability scale in terms of clothing."
To connect Pat to her ardent devotees, Bream studied an Instagram influencer segment beyond Williamsburg and Silver Lake. "I went deep into middle-aged women in suburban areas, who had a lot of followers," she says. Bream discovered a trove of specialized brands, including "Valerie Saint Gil, Doncaster, Artful Home and, always, Chico's."
"Pat's so warm and kooky and excitable, so I wanted the wardrobe to match her, as well as, the set ," says Bream. "All of her turquoises and plums and fuchsias with her crazy necklaces. Because, of course, she did have her necklace collection once."
As for Chase, it's not just his career that's growing — 18-year-old Walker seems to have grown about two feet between seasons. "Luckily, a lot of what he wears is oversized," says Bream. "So in a way, I saved myself for his growth spurt, because instead of things just being very big, they were just a little bit big."
As part of his career expansion efforts, Chase guest edits an issue of Vogue — tracks — and actually enjoys the fête from inside, unlike his manager sister. He's also dressed to portray his new responsibilities, in an aqua blue brocade suit (below), with a matching Peter Pan collared shirt from Asos.
"I loved the fabric and color, but the cut wasn't quite right, so we purchased two full suits," Bream says. "We used the additional fabric to recut the jacket and add a matching cummerbund."
Chase's customized suit also reference Bream's inspirations gleaned from a number of Hollywood multi-hyphenate style stars. "Because he's expanding his empire, I was like, 'He's not just a pop star anymore — he's not just in hoodies and a leather jacket and the colorful explosion that I had on him last year,'" Bream says. She then asked herself: "'What would someone like Harry Styles or Timothée Chalamet or Tyler, the Creator wear?' Because they are, of course, actors or singers, but they're doing so many other things."
Cary is becoming a celebrity in his own right... but in more niche digital spaces. He's also still struggling to book acting gigs, so he regularly buys (and returns) printed button-up shirts where his friend Curtis (Brandon Scott Jones) works.
"My favorite joke," says Bream. "They're all Scotch & Soda, where we shot [the scenes]."
In an enterprising moment of inspiration (and to make rent), Cary joins Cameo and ups his game a notch with a dark green button-up shirt and white round-neck T-shirt. "'Okay, what do I have around my house that, like doesn't have a big logo and you're going to see my face and that's really all you're going to see?'" says Bream, explaining her discussions with Kelly and Schneider about the look. "But he didn't overthink it."
Cary's low-key preppy outfits also offer boundless opportunity for him to get sartorially sucked into his latest career and Instagay fame attempts, like a rustic upstate Brooklyn-on-the-Hudson aesthetic. "He also gets pulled into trying to be the type of guy that he thinks he should be. His costumes reflect that a lot," says Bream, as I recall that clout-chasing unicorn onesie from season one.
With her costume design, Bream pulls off a hat trick of pushing the story forward, being extremely chic in a N.Y.C. kind of way and bringing continuous laughs (as I did the entire way through this interview.)
"New York City is a flat, very fashionable plane and this show is on that plane, but it's just like three steps above," says Bream. "The tone of the show is so much funnier than the real world and, well, the clothes really just need to match that idea."