Indie web series These People returns for a third season April 30, and if fans thought LA’s most dysfunctional family, the Bennets, were any closer to getting their lives on track—well, they were wrong.
Co-creator Zac Hug talks about the series with the same excitement and vitality that has roped in so many talented actors and writers—including Academy Award-winner Jim Rash (Community). Together, the pair won best writing in a comedy series at the Indie Series Awards, and the show netted six other nominations.
“It was really gratifying to win for writing,” Hug says. “We’re all just sitting there at the dinner table, looking around at everybody, just thinking how we’re a group of people who make things—that’s really it.”
Rash, who plays meddling gossip columnist Kevin Pratt, relishes how the series has grown since he joined in the second season, but also still honors its indie roots.
“I saw the first season and probably clicked like or something and Zac just reached out,” he says. “And it’s become this creative reward and it’s about remaining creative. Even now, shooting feels like inviting a bunch of friends to a party. And as a writer, I'm always attracted to dysfunction. I love it. I love the messy of family.”
The Bennets are as messy as any family comes. Season three focuses on brother Chuck (Cameron Miller Desart) looking for mother Julia (Carolyn Hennesy) somewhere to live after the bank forecloses on her house. Meanwhile, Todd (Hug) deals poorly with ex-boyfriend Josh (Jeremy Glazer) moving in with self-absorbed “pocket gay” Kip (Ben Baur). And don't forget sister and actress Jenny (Claire Downs) who got pregnant from a Tinder hookup for a role—that she didn't get.
“In this family, one day you’re the hero, and one day you’re the monster,” Hug says.
In season three, Hug wanted to go deeper into the Bennet family history, adding a confrontation with Bennet father, played by Parks and Recreation’s Jim O’Heir.
“In two seasons, we’ve never really gotten into their past,” he says. “It’s this line we’ve walked with these characters. We didn’t want to blame their past for who they were or the decisions they made. We wanted the audience to see them for themselves.”
Rash agrees that despite the West Coast-sized egos and general insanity, the Bennets still feel very authentic into season three. “You can say that you love your family, but there’s certainly times you don't like them. You’re there for them, but you definitely have to see them at their best and their worst.”
No doubt, the Bennets spend plenty of time at their worst—and like some emotional sinkhole, drag in outside characters just as wonderfully awful as themselves. Ben Baur’s Kip is no exception.
“Kip is always looking out for himself,” Baur says. “He’s the hero in his own head. Everything he does is PR.”
After coming out in season two and dumping Jenny for some media attention, he returns in season three asking her if she can name him as the father of her baby—so he can look better on set. His reasoning—who hates a gay dad?
“Playing Kip is super fun because of how much of a monster he is. I like to think I'm a nice, down-to-earth guy,” says Baur, laughing, an Out100 Honoree, a web series veteran (and winner of our Most Dateable TV Character Poll) from his popular role on Hunting Season. “So it’s nice to play someone who pulls some really shady shit.”
Baur also enjoys how refreshing the series’s gay storyline involving the romantc conflict with Hug’s Todd Bennet feels to portray.
“I really like that the story and the family are the source of the drama, not the gay characters being gay,” he says. “We need to move out from the coming out stories and start talking about what it means to live this life with other problems—like a crazy family. We’re trying to tell a simple story about this one, messed up family and the people in their lives.”
The formula of family has not just kept the series alive, but thriving, and season three promises even more mouth-dropping dramatic moments that seem almost outside the realm of possibility for these siblings—almost.
“The Bennets get into these hair-brained schemes, but you just can’t get rid of them,” Hug says. “You’re there for them.”
These People returns April 30. Watch an exclusive clip below: