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'The Other One' Will Find You Rolling Your Eyes and Giggling at the Same Time
August 11, 2020  | By David Hinckley  | 1 comment

Sometimes, or maybe more than sometimes, you want to scream at every character in a sitcom, "Stop! Just stop!"

You certainly want to do it during The Other One, a Brit comedy that became available Monday on the streaming service, Acorn, and focuses on four people who, given a choice of paths, consistently choose the wrong one.

That this will happen is telegraphed in part by the show's rather outlandish premise.

Catherine Walcott (Ellie White, top) is in her late 20s and has built a seemingly good life. She has a solid job at a good office, and she has a fiancé, Marcus (Amit Shah), who seems to care about her.

Then one day, her father Colin (Simon Greenall) drops dead from a heart attack, and Catherine discovers there is another Catherine Walcott (Lauren Socha, top). Who, by the way, is her half-sister.

It seems that while Colin had been married to the first Catherine's mother Tess (Rebecca Front, top) for all these years, he had been keeping a mistress on the side.

That mistress, Marilyn (Siobhan Finneran, top), is the mother of the other Catherine Walcott. Yes, that's right. Colin named both girls Catherine.

So the two Catherines meet, and Tess and Marilyn meet, and while things certainly begin on an awkward note, the four women start to develop areas of affinity or at least common interest.

They share the memory of Colin, naturally, though Tess finds that memory infuriating while Marilyn is given to rhapsodies about Colin's sexual prowess.

The two Catherines soon develop a more solid bond, though it's unclear exactly what's in it for the first Catherine.

Marilyn and the second Catherine lead not particularly successful lives, and the second Catherine seems to have little ambition to improve on that situation.

Both Catherines have always wanted a sister, though, and they know this is as close as they're going to get. So they dip a toe into each other's worlds, which is where some of the bad decisions start to surface.

The first Catherine is also dealing with another trauma, the revelation that Marcus has been engaged in some highly inappropriate sexting with another woman.

Undaunted, the second Catherine plunges in to help her new sister with wedding and bridal party plans – in part because Tess, while she loves Marcus, remains so distraught over the Colin revelations that she doesn't have much time for her daughter.

It's a familiar sitcom in that it often goes for the zaniest possibilities, sending characters down mine-riddled paths that are clear from the beginning to the viewer and apparently invisible to the characters themselves.

The four actresses' performances raise a number of the seven episodes – though not all – above the ordinary. We end up liking all of these folks even when they're driving us nuts because while they're all clueless in critical areas, none of them are mean. The situation, weird as its origins may have been, isn't really any of their faults.

The Other One puts four ordinary people in an extraordinary situation and watches them make a series of well-intended but ill-advised decisions. No profound messages here, just reconfirmation that it's possible for a viewer to laugh and shake his or her head at the same time.

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I enjoyed the series. The ending was somewhat predictable, but I enjoyed the characters and their tranformations after the father's death.
Aug 16, 2020   |  Reply
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