After a celebrated return to Saturday Night Live in April, when she hosted for the second time in 16 years, the appreciation of all things Molly Shannon continues with season 3 of The Other Two, which is now streaming on HBO Max.
The series from creators (and former SNL co-head writers) Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider sees Shannon playing Pat Dubek, the mother of three children with varying degrees of success in the entertainment industry who has also struck gold herself as a wildly popular daytime talk show host.
While talking to ET, Shannon, who has also earned rave reviews for her performances on The White Lotus and I Love That for You, opens up about being back at Studio 8H as well as Pat’s dramatic transformation that resulted in some confusion with her Other Two co-stars.
“Pat is at the point in her career where she now has an empire and she is really in the public eye and more famous than she’s ever been,” Shannon says, explaining that she’s now “figuring out how to navigate that. And it’s not at all what she expected.”
As she continues to struggle with her newfound superstardom in season 3, Pat finds herself increasingly isolated from the real world, including her own kids, Chase (Case Walker), Cary (Drew Tarver) and Brooke (Hel?ne Yorke). “So, we really see her navigating that and also wanting to not lose touch with her family. Always what’s most important to her is her family and her kids,” Shannon says.
And as a result, Pat makes increasingly more dramatic attempts to break free of those constraints and try to return to the real world. First, she tries sneaking out without her security detail before being mobbed by fans. Then, in episode four, she puts on prosthetics and disguises herself as a seemingly ordinary grandmother, fooling almost all her family members as well as boyfriend Streeter (Ken Marino).
“Our directive was like, ‘We just want her to look like a completely different person,'” Schneider says of the overall disguise.
But the look, which was designed by SNL makeup artist Louie Zakarian and took about two hours to apply, was so wildly drastic that it even resulted in her co-stars not recognizing her before they went on set.
“Ken and I had the funniest experience because I was dressed in my full disguise,” Shannon says, recalling how she saw Marino outside her trailer. ” I just said, ‘Hi.’ And then Ken just kind of ignored me and was looking at his phone and talking to the AD. And I was like, ‘That’s weird, maybe he’s just with something.'”
“I didn’t know who she was,” Marino adds, explaining that when he was outside by the trailer, he just saw this person staring at him and smiling. Later, he recalls, “I’m walking to the set and I look over my shoulder and there is this woman walking too close to me. At this point, I didn’t know who she was.”
It wasn’t until they got to the bar where they were filming their scene together that he finally saw her in full costume. “And he was like, ‘Oh my god, that’s Molly,'” Shannon says. “We laughed so hard.”
Tarver had a similar experience. The first time she came to set in the makeup, “I wasn’t aware that it was her,” he admits.
“Like, I just kind of thought, ‘OK, there’s that woman,'” he says, adding that it was fun to see Shannon playing Pat in disguise because “she’s shining through even under pounds of makeup. It was really fun. It kept making me laugh so hard, just her being so excited but in the makeup.”
In similar fashion to what Pat goes through on the show, interacting with people who don’t realize who she is, Shannon says she got the same reaction while donning all the makeup in between filming scenes. “I walked around during my lunch break in the prosthetics and I ordered a sandwich in the deli and they were very rude to me,” she shares, revealing that she had a lot of fun not being recognized. “Oh, god, did I love walking around in those prosthetics.”
Of course, there was no mistaking who Shannon was when she made her triumphant return to SNL as host earlier this year. During her episode, the performer reprised one of her famous characters, Sally O’Malley, and even performed a sketch written by The Other Two recurring star Jimmy Fowlie.
During the monologue, she reminisced about her career while during the closing credits, she was seen getting a little bit emotional, thanking executive producer Lorne Michaels and others for a chance to return “home.”
“Oh my god, it was so fantastic,” Shannon says of getting to host again. “I just really wanted to honor Lorne, who I love, and this beautiful cast.” She adds that “the whole thing was absolutely exhilarating,” before revealing, “I’ve actually never been more nervous in my entire life.”
She acknowledged that fans may have wanted to see more of her recurring characters. “But I really wanted to honor the cast and I didn’t wanna do too much of my old stuff,” she explains. “So, I was a little worried. I didn’t wanna disappoint anybody.”
In the end, however, it turned out to be a hilarious episode. And Shannon says, “I had the time of my life. My kids were there and my husband was there, and my niece and nephew. And it was just, oh my god, it was like a bucket list. I had the best time.” And when it comes to going on her character’s journey in the new episodes of The Other Two, Shannon adds, “It was really fun to play Pat this season.”
The first four episodes of The Other Two season 3 are now streaming on HBO Max, with new episodes debuting on Thursdays.
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