'I'm His Son, I'm Straight, And I'm From Kansas': 'The Other Two' Has Fun with Daddies

Sunday September 5, 2021
Originally published on September 2, 2021

Noam Ash, Noah Galvin and Tuc Watkins on "The Other Two"
Noam Ash, Noah Galvin and Tuc Watkins on "The Other Two"  (Source:HBO Max)

With good reason, the phrase "I'm his son, I'm straight, and I'm from Kansas" has been trending since it dropped on the second episode of HBO Max's "The Other Two" last week. The line capped a very funny episode that cleverly satirized "daddy" culture and coming out issues.

The line is spoken by a man expecting a Scruff hookup, but instead gets caught up in some "daddy" drama with his intended partners. They are Eddy (Noah Galvin) and Troy (Tuc Watkins). Eddy could easily be Troy's son, which they use to their advantage by scamming talk show host Molly Shannon (who in the second season has become a media sensation) of $25,000 by coming on the show and "coming out" to his homophobic dad.

"The Other Two's" premise concerns two siblings — Cary (Drew Tarver) and Brooke (Heléne Yorke) — who live in the shadow of more successful family members. In the first season it was their younger brother, Case (Case Walker), who became a TikTok music sensation (though he can't sing); in this season it is their mom, Pat (Shannon), who becomes a hugely popular daily chat show host simply by being so nice (and gullible, it seems).

Gideon Glick and Drew Tarver on "The Other Two"
Gideon Glick and Drew Tarver on "The Other Two"  (Source: HBO Max)

Equally gullible is Cary, who this season has a boyfriend of 29 days, Jess (Gideon Glick). When they spot Eddy and Troy out at dinner, they decide to mentor the boy and dad into queer culture. "He's from Kansas. He's probably never even met a gay person," Cary tells Jess. "We can show them we're not scary!"

Little do they know that Eddy and Troy are using Scruff in search of a top to fuck them while on Molly. They find their hookup, John (played with deadpan perfection by Noam Ash), and right when they are to meet up, Cary and Jess intercede with their offer to cruise Manhattan gay life. Upon meeting John, Troy tells him to say he's his other son. "I'm his son, I'm straight, and I'm from Kansas," which he says repeatedly. John turns out to be a hilarious not-so-straight man. When pressed about his girlfriend, John says awkwardly, "she has long hair... and red nails." Asked about his hobbies, he says they are wearing cologne, drinking beer, and listening to Green Day.

The latter turns out to be a personal reference from "The Other Two" co-creator Chris Kelly, who told BuzzFeed News he bought the band's 1994 album "Dookie" as a decoy for the Mariah Carey album he truly wanted. 

Tuc Watkins and Noam Ash on "The Other Two"
Tuc Watkins and Noam Ash on "The Other Two"  (Source: HBO Max)

Kelly explained that he hoped the situation would resonate beyond its sitcom setup. "The storyline is so stupid and heightened and sitcom-y in a way that I really like, but we also wanted to land it emotionally, to make sure that it was an over-the-top comedy of errors but also make sure that there were reasons we were doing it."

Kelly added, "the show doesn't set out to actively explore new parts of gay culture every week, but instead tries to find ways that the fame of Cary and Brooke's mother and brother can be used to teach them something about themselves."

"In the writer's room, we're always trying to ask ourselves, 'How can Pat's fame ruin Cary's life?' " he said.

Kelly explained the episode, which was filmed in February 2020 — just prior to the pandemic — "is all about Cary trying to perform a 'sanitized, PG version of himself' that he thinks might make his late father more comfortable with a gay son."

He went on to say that it was drawn from his own experience. "I could only write to what I experienced. I confidently came out of the closet, but still certainly felt like I had to be a certain type of gay so I wasn't too scary to my parents. I was confidently telling them I was gay and I was proud to be gay, but at the same time I was trying to be like, but barely, guys! I'm gay, but honestly you'll hardly even notice!"

Asked about the line Ash told BuzzFeed News that he didn't think the show was casting sexual judgment on either gay couple, but instead taking a look at the community at large, he said: "It allows you to look at the big picture and think how weird some of the things are that are normalized in gay culture and realize how absurd it is," he said. "Taking a pic of their holes? You can't — it's so real. And they manage to convey that reality of a lot of parts of gay culture. Sure, parts of it are crass, but they do it in such an endearing way."

Over the weekend, Ash attended a music festival where strangers greeted him with, "I'm his son, I'm straight, and I'm from Kansas."
"The line isn't Shakespeare," he said. "It's very simple words, but they do it in situations that are so incredible and the language is so ridiculous that it makes it unforgettable."