The disappointments of family and love plus a little heartbreak will always be fertile soil from which to grow comedic possibilities. Hell, we’ve all been there and see ourselves in the jokes. However, as my video review above says, rarely have the consequences of those seeds seemed both so desperate and so funny as they do in Casual. Debuting on October 7 on Hulu, the series created by Zander Lehmann and executive produced and directed by Jason Reitman flourishes with bleak and refreshingly cynical humor. Which is to say that the first 10-episode season of Casual, which will have a new show every week, is seriously worth watching – for the laughs and for the familiarity.
In a very well-handled pilot helmed by Reitman, newly divorced therapist Valerie (Michaela Watkins) moves in with her committed bachelor brother Alex (Tommy Dewey) – and brings along her 16-year-old daughter Laura (Tara Lynne Barr). What adds spice to the almost traditional sitcom stew is that Alex is the brains of sorts behind a dating site that is very successful, among other things, in keeping his bed warm at night. And the very liberated Laura might just be the most mature and together of this post-modern family – even more so when Grandma shows up and takes the fun out of dysfunctional, if you know what I mean. If you don’t, let me tell you, the strong writing and performances in Casual will help you understand.
Yes, there’s a lot of snark, and sometimes things get a bit too cute and contrived, but there is actually a great heart at the core of Casual – and a very good story about people looking for love and acceptance in the place they had come to think they might find it least.
So take a look at my review, and I say take a look at the comedy itself when it debuts later this week. Tell us what you think.