After 3 seasons, 37 episodes, and 94 minutes worth of video content, my web series, The Worst Landlord, has come to a close.
I started writing this series in November of 2012, after Lisa from Notion Films (who may or may not also be my girlfriend) told me to stop writing long, elaborate sketches that were borderline impossible for us to film. My first web series idea was about World War II but told in the form of an MTV high school drama. FDR was the new kid in school, Hitler was a frustrated art student, and the pilot episode alone required dozens of extras and background actors.
“Kevin, can you please write something with just 2 characters in one room?” Lisa begged of me. “Also, get milk when you go to the grocery store,” she added (because she may or may not also be my girlfriend).
So I started writing what became season 1 of The Worst Landlord. I had seen plenty of web shows about roommates living together, but not nearly as many about one guy dealing with his landlord. The first episode is simply about the Tenant moving in to his new apartment. We establish who the characters are and what their relationship is. Total run time is just under 3 minutes with credits. Simple to write, easy to film, a perfect way to create new sketch videos on a regular basis.
But as usually happens with projects I work on, I got bored with this very quickly. The episodes became very formulaic and predictable at times. People enjoyed them, and we got a lot of great feedback, but I personally started to not enjoy the series as much. The 12th episode was a musical episode of sorts, with my character, the Landlord, and the Tenant, played by Will Carey, acting out a song that I wrote called, The Ballad of the Landlord. I knew that we couldn’t follow that episode with another formulaic, two-man comedy skit, so I decided to take a break from the series to write new episodes. The first 12 episodes became known as season 1.
Three months later we came back with the first episode of season 2. This time I wanted the 12 episodes to tell one coherent story. I’ve seen a lot of web shows, but few of them ever tell one story. It’s usually a series of one-off sketches that feature the same characters, but don’t tell one story. That’s what we had with the first 12 episodes, now I wanted to try and create a story worth watching. The story of season 2 involves the Tenant being unemployed and discovering that the Landlord is actually homeless and living in the elevator. A dramatic change of tone. I loved it! But unfortunately we lost a lot of our original fans. People liked the original episodes but weren’t as willing to stick around once they had to start following a plot from week to week.
At this point I was too invested in this project and wanted to keep pushing it forward. I decided to go for broke and made the 3rd and final season even more about plot and story, as well as making it require viewers to have seen past episodes. I knew that this was going to be the final season, so I wanted to make sure that the 2 previous seasons were tied in effectively. The 3rd season aims to answer questions about the Landlord and the Tenant, specifically who they are and where they came from. Most importantly it focuses on their going from enemies to friends.
I won’t ruin the the whole series for you, because I’d rather have you stop reading right now and watch it for yourself. I’m incredibly proud of this show and I feel very lucky that I have access to great people to help me make things like this. Will and Patrick both did an amazing job playing the Tenant and Phil Deadman (the only other character in the series), and Lisa did an amazing job of making us look good on camera (especially in season 3)!
When I first started to get bored with writing this series, back in season 1, I wrote an episode that I called “The Kill Switch Episode.” Basically it was a way for us to pull the plug on the series and give it a somewhat satisfactory ending. Luckily I came up with the idea to focus more on plot than getting quick laughs, so this never became necessary. Oddly enough, the kill switch episode still became the series finale, but now it feels like a logical ending. It’s bittersweet and I think it has a really powerful effect if you watch the entire series.
Season 1- The first season of The Worst Landlord introduces us to the Tenant, who is constantly dealing with the antics of his annoying Landlord.
Season 2 - The second season of The Worst Landlord begins after the events of season 1. The Tenant is unemployed, and the Landlord reveals a secret about the building. This leads to some shocking discoveries and life changes.
Season 3 - The third and final season of The Worst Landlord starts off immediately after the events of season 2. The Landlord wakes up on the streets in front of the apartment building and assumes a new identity. The Tenant, in an effort to pay the rent, let’s a new roommate move in. As the season progresses we learn more about who the Landlord really is.
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