gay brothers and instagays on the other two

Talking about gays and TV and how I feel about it all

Okay, I’m actually obsessed with The Other Two. It’s so gay. Like, so incredibly gay. Gay because one of the lead characters is gay, but also gay because the show talks about gay things that gay people deal with every day. The gay has depth, baby.

Cary, played by Drew Tarver, and Brooke, played by Heléne Yorke, are two siblings trying to find success and meaning in their lives when their brother Chase (ChaseDreams), played by Case Walker, becomes an overnight sensation - think Justin Bieber - with his hit song Marry U at Recess. God, that’s gotta suck, right? You spend all this time trying to make it and be an actor in New Yawk and your brother just gets viral fame in an instant. He didn’t even try. He’s also super nice! You can’t actually be mad at him or hate him. I mean, you could, but you’d probably wouldn’t be a good person for doing that.

So, anyway, Cary, the gay one. He just deals with a lot of gay nonsense throughout the series. One of my favorite reoccurring jokes is whenever anyone talks about anything gay, all the straight people in the room chime in with: I have a gay brother. I doubt my brothers have ever used that line. Maybe they have. I actually wouldn’t be surprised, now that I think about it. Having a gay brother is truly a fun fact that you can disclose at parties, meetings, or on dates. People will think you’re interesting because of your sheer relationship to a gay person. They can’t imagine your struggle. I’m getting teary-eyed just thinking about all the brave people out there admitting to having a gay brother. Heroes.

Source: “Chase Gets the Gays” The Other Two


In an early episode in the series, ChaseDreams debuts a song called “My Brother’s Gay and That’s Okay” which is 1. fucking hilarious and 2. stupid catchy that I find myself singing it sometimes. You really do need to listen to it. Obviously, Cary is pissed at first. His brother is disclosing his sexuality to the world. His brother is also using Cary’s sexuality to make himself seem more compelling of an artist. Well, his creative team is, not so much Chase himself. Chase is so lovely.

“Chase Gets the Gays” is a quality episode because of all the ways straight people use their relationship to queerness to leverage themselves. The same can also be said of Cary. After the song debuts, Cary gets a call and sets up a meeting with a large agency. During the meeting, the most iconic line in any TV show is uttered in such a satisfying and hilarious way that I could watch it a hundred times and still laugh uncontrollably.

Source: “Chase Gets the Gays” The Other Two


“I am gagging for you, faggot.”

Holy shit.

Source: “Chase Gets the Gays” The Other Two

“Yas, faggot.”

So, so good. This scene is one of those instances where a straight person will get a little too comfortable and think of themselves as such an ally that making homophobic comments is good, actually. “Yas kween” walked so “gagging for you, faggot” could fly. I love this show so much. But, what’s so satisfying about it is that you can plainly see Cary’s regret the instant the agent says “faggot” and how she continues to push Cary throughout the meeting, asking if they’re best friends yet and wondering if they’ll go shopping together. Nothing gay men love more than being stereotyped as shopping obsessed best friends of straight women. Cary spends the rest of the episode dealing with that internal conflict - whether he should continue to leverage his sexuality for personal gain and deal with the endless barrage of microaggressions from well-intentioned straight people or take a moral stance against the use of his sexuality for personal gain and tell others how it’s not okay.

Let’s move onto the Instagays.

So, later in the series, Cary tries to audition for a Ryan Murphy series where he would play a gas station attendant on a three episode arc who gets his ass eaten. Amazing. But, rumors from other gay actors state that Ryan Murphy won’t consider anyone who doesn’t have at least 50,000 followers on Instagram. Spectacular. Cary has to get 10,000 more followers and luckily the Instagays come into the picture at the right time. Beautiful.

An Instagay is like, an incredibly hot gay person who posts thirst traps on Instagram with captions that are supposed to be inspiring or like, influential, I guess. Coincidentally, Antoni from Queer Eye posted one on Mother’s Day that perfectly fits what I’m describing:

Image

Yes, I liked the photo. No, I will not be taking any questions about that part.

Here’s how this is a quintessential Instagay post. Antoni is shirtless. It is artsy with a black and white filter. Antoni is supposedly celebrating Mother’s Day but there are absolutely no moms in the photo. There’s truly no reason to have that caption, and yet, here we are. He just looks really good, and that’s the point. Other Instagay classics are: posting a shirtless photo in the grass for Earth Day, posting a shirtless photo with an “I Voted” sticker for Election Day, or posting a shirtless photo with a Santa hat for Christmas. If there’s a holiday, an Instagay will find a way to post a shirtless thirst trap.

Cary gets invited to a rooftop pool party by an Instagay named Cameron. He meets Cameron’s Instagay friends who go around and introduce themselves and their work. In a very Queer Eye way, each Instagay has a specific area of expertise. One’s more about lifestyle, another religion, and the last one:

Source: “Chase Gets a Nosebleed” The Other Two


Did I mention I love this show? God, I love this show. Throughout the episode, Cary clearly views the Instagays as vapid - and, as the audience, we are supposed to view them that way, too. Cary thinks they’re just hot gays without thoughts or feelings. He wants to use them to gain followers. The Instagays find Cary so funny. They invite him to church. Confused but nonetheless determined to get a photo with the Instagays, Cary says yes to the invite. Arriving to church, Cary gets asked if he wants a red speedo or just wants to cup his balls. He elects for the speedo. It’s a Christmas photoshoot. You know, because you can’t take a Christmas photo after Thanksgiving or else you’ll look fat. The red speedo? Christmas-themed.

Source: “Chase Gets a Nosebleed” The Other Two

Cary is frustrated. Every chance he’s given to take a photo with the Instagays hasn’t worked. Nearing his breaking point, Cary joins them on a hike through the woods in animal onesies. Cary asks to take a photo, which the Instagays think is so funny, but quickly learns that it is “No Post Sunday.” Who knew the Instagays have better work/life balance and self-care than I do? Cary goes on a rant about how meaningless the lives of the Instagays are and the Instagays are hurt. They truly liked Cary and thought he was their friends.

I love this episode a lot because of how nuanced the role of the Instagays in relationship to Cary are. As I mentioned earlier, the Instagays are supposed to be vapid and self-obsessed. What we see is that Cary is the vapid and self-obsessed one. He doesn’t actually care about the Instagays and uses their looks and status symbols to gain followers himself. Even as people, the Instagays get hints of complexity in the episode. As Cary grows closer with the Instagays, they begin to disclose their thoughts with Cary. The Instagays have body issues and frequently compare themselves to others. They’re just like us! They just want to post inspirational quotes and make others feel good with their posts, even if they are shirtless in the process.

Instagays are such an interesting part of gay culture. Ubiquitous, I’d say, and more so a symptom of larger societal views on beauty standards and attractiveness than simply the cause. As gay people, we can have a tendency to be attracted to the people we also want to be. I don’t think this is something straight people deal with necessarily. We’re constantly shown images of who’s hot - thin, white men with six pack abs - and we’re told we should be attracted to that and also look like that. Body dysmorphia is common in the gay community as a result.

Instagays are easy to criticize - as we saw with Cary - but the performative aspect of Instagays speaks to much larger issues in the gay community. Who are we performing for? Who are we trying to make happy? Why should one body type be the standard for all of us? And, most importantly, how do we break this cycle?


Next week, I’ll be away in Canada celebrating a friend’s wedding and also, coincidentally, my 27th birthday. So, I’m unsure when the next newsletter will come out. I hope to continue to talk about the issues raised in this newsletter. As I came to the end of the newsletter, I realized there was too much I still wanted to say and thought it deserved the time and space it needed to be fully processed and unpacked. If you have thoughts about what I have written today, please let me know - or - if you have articles you recommend that expand upon these topics or helped you think about these topics in a new way, send them my way.

As always, thanks for reading and thanks for your continued support as I find my voice as a writer.


Letters of Recommendation:

Men Have No Friends and Women Bear the Burden - Melanie Hamlett

The Stolen Kids of Sarah Lawrence - Ezra Marcus and James D. Walsh

The Never-Ending Saga of the Online Wife - Miles Klee

Tuca and Bertie - Netflix

Dead to Me - Netflix