Casual (TV series)
|Created by||Zander Lehmann|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||44 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||25-31 minutes|
|Production company||Lionsgate Television|
|Original release||October 7, 2015 –|
July 31, 2018
Casual is an American television comedy-drama series that premiered on October 7, 2015, on Hulu. Created by Zander Lehmann and directed by Jason Reitman, it centers on Valerie (Michaela Watkins), a newly divorced single mother living with her brother Alex (Tommy Dewey) and her daughter Laura (Tara Lynne Barr). The cast also includes Frances Conroy and Nyasha Hatendi.
In advance of its premiere on Hulu, the first two episodes received a preview screening at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival as part of the festival's new Primetime platform of selected television projects.
Cast and characters
- Michaela Watkins as Valerie, a successful therapist divorcing her husband after finding him with a younger woman.
- Tommy Dewey as Alex, Valerie's younger brother who co-founded the popular dating site Snooger
- Tara Lynne Barr as Laura, Valerie's teenage daughter
- Nyasha Hatendi as Leon, Valerie's one-night stand whom Alex befriends
- Julie Berman as Leia, Valerie's assistant
Guest and recurring
- Fred Melamed as Charles, Valerie and Alex's hedonistic father
- Evan Crooks as Emile, Laura's ex-boyfriend
- Frances Conroy as Dawn, Valerie and Alex's mother
- Patrick Heusinger as Michael, Laura's photography teacher
- Zak Orth as Drew, Valerie's ex-husband
- Eliza Coupe as Emmy, Alex's free-spirited romantic interest
- Katie Aselton as Jennifer, a therapist who works in the same building as Valerie.
- Dylan Gelula as Aubrey, a student in Laura's homeschool group.
- Britt Lower as Sarah Finn, Alex's ex-girlfriend.
- Vincent Kartheiser as Jordan Anderson, Alex's new partner in his company and Sarah's fiancé
- Britt Robertson as Fallon, Jordan's assistant.
- Kyle Bornheimer as Jack, Valerie's love interest, friend of Jennifer.
- Rhenzy Feliz as Spencer, Laura's classmate and boyfriend, who has terminal cancer.
- Jamie Chung as Tina Valerie's landlord who becomes involved with Alex
- Nadine Nicole as Casey, Laura's boss and an environmental activist
- Maya Erskine as Rae, Alex's roommate and the mother of his daughter, Carrie.
- Judy Greer as Judy, a single mom who also hires Alex to work in her company's IT department.
- Lorenza Izzo as Tathiana, Laura's girlfriend she met while traveling.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||10||October 7, 2015||December 2, 2015|
|2||13||June 7, 2016||August 23, 2016|
|3||13||May 23, 2017||August 1, 2017|
|4||8||July 31, 2018||July 31, 2018|
Season 1 (2015)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|1||1||"Pilot"||Jason Reitman||Zander Lehmann||October 7, 2015|
|Valerie and Alex go on dates based on matches on Alex's own dating website.|
|2||2||"Friends"||Jason Reitman||Zander Lehmann||October 7, 2015|
|Alex spends the day with Valerie's one night stand Leon, and winds up having a crazy night. Valerie goes out with a group of 20-something girls who coach her on dating young men. Laura gets in trouble at a high school house party.|
|3||3||"Animals"||Max Winkler||Zander Lehmann||October 14, 2015|
|Valerie decides to move out of Alex's house but is blind-sided by the financial repercussions of divorce. Alex adopts a dog. Laura fantasizes about her photography teacher Michael.|
|4||4||"..."||Max Winkler||Zander Lehmann||October 21, 2015|
|Valerie breaks Alex's rules of casual sex. Alex is interviewed about his dating site. Laura makes a move on her teacher Michael.|
|5||5||"Mom"||Michael Weaver||Sheila Callaghan||October 28, 2015|
|Valerie and Alex's mother shows up unannounced. Valerie gets good advice from an unlikely source. Laura and Michael share a moment after she sees her father out with his new girlfriend.|
|6||6||"Biden"||Michael Weaver||Liz Tigelaar||November 4, 2015|
|Alex's secret profile gets its first real match. Laura bonds with Michael after her sex tape goes viral at school. Valerie gets closure with her ex-husband.|
|7||7||"Home"||Tricia Brock||Harris Danow||November 11, 2015|
|Alex and Emmy (Eliza Coupe) have a foursome. Laura discovers Valerie has been seeing Michael and moves out.|
|8||8||"Bottles"||Tricia Brock||Zander Lehmann & Harris Danow||November 18, 2015|
|Laura invites her estranged grandparents and her father and his new girlfriend to Thanksgiving dinner without telling Valerie or Alex.|
|9||9||"Mars"||Fred Savage||Halsted Sullivan||November 25, 2015|
|Alex and Valerie attend their parents' wedding rehearsal dinner. Laura attends a gallery where Michael is showing some of his photographs.|
|10||10||"Dave"||Fred Savage||Zander Lehmann||December 2, 2015|
|Alex leaves the rehearsal dinner to spend the night at Leon's house. Valerie and Emmy spend the day trying to find him. Laura plans to move to Mexico.|
Season 2 (2016)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|11||1||"Phase 3"||Jason Reitman||Zander Lehmann||June 7, 2016|
|Alex's troubling new obsession leads Valerie to take matters into her own hands. Laura investigates switching high schools.|
|12||2||"Trivial Pursuit"||Jason Reitman||Liz Tigelaar||June 7, 2016|
|Alex embraces his new role as Laura's teacher but his methods are questionable. Valerie reaches out to old friends and makes an unsettling discovery.|
|13||3||"Such Good Friends"||Karyn Kusama||Zander Lehmann||June 14, 2016|
|Valerie tries to take her friendship with fellow therapist Jennifer (Katie Aselton) to the next level. Alex considers an offer from a venture capitalist to keep Snooger from going under. Laura considers joining a homeschool study group.|
|14||4||"Big Green Egg"||Karyn Kusama||Harris Danow||June 21, 2016|
|Alex invites new investors to his house for barbecue, one of whom is engaged to Alex's ex-girlfriend, Sarah (Britt Lower). Jennifer plans to set Valerie up with one of her friends, but not all goes according to plan. Laura and Aubrey (Dylan Gelula) bond over a coffee.|
|15||5||"Bicycle Thieves"||Iain B. MacDonald||Zander Lehmann||June 28, 2016|
|Alex struggles to get along with his new business partner and receives a shocking fact about his past and Sarah from his father. Valerie considers freezing her eggs. Laura and Aubrey get high and kiss.|
|16||6||"100 Cows"||Iain B. MacDonald||Molly Smith Metzler||July 5, 2016|
|Alex wonders about the wedding gift for Sarah that can get her attention. Valerie goes out on a date with Harry, one of the friends of Jennifer. Laura and Aubrey take up a task of creating a care package for one of their classmates, Spencer (Rhenzy Feliz), who has cancer.|
|17||7||"Threesomes"||Lynn Shelton||Liz Tigelaar||July 12, 2016|
|Alex dates Fallon (Britt Robertson), Jordan's assistant, to make Sarah jealous, Fallon reveals that she's helping him because she's interested in Jordan herself. Valerie consults Jennifer about her dilemma of choosing Jack or Harry. Aubrey and Laura have a threesome with Spencer.|
|18||8||"The Magpie"||Lynn Shelton||Zander Lehmann||July 19, 2016|
|Alex, Jordan, and Sarah deal with the fall out of earlier events. Laura's growing feelings for Spencer creates problems in her relationship with Aubrey. Valerie is unsure about dealing with her feelings for Jack.|
|19||9||"The Lake"||Marielle Heller||Marguerite MacIntyre||July 26, 2016|
|Alex is served a notice for negligence by Jordan. Valerie goes to a hiking trip with Jack, but is distracted by Alex's problems. Laura continues her relationship with Spencer; Aubrey confronts her.|
|20||10||"Reunion"||Marielle Heller||Rosa Handelman||August 2, 2016|
|Alex is uncomfortable with Sarah's growing presence at his house. Jack and Valerie pretend to be a couple on their honeymoon and crash a high school reunion at the hotel. Laura grows closer to Spencer.|
|21||11||"Death and Taxes"||Michael Weaver||Harris Danow||August 9, 2016|
|Valerie and Drew file their divorce settlement papers and Valerie stalks one of her ex-patients. Alex seeks professional help for therapy. Laura and Spencer go funeral casket shopping for Spencer.|
|22||12||"40"||Michael Weaver||Liz Tigelaar||August 16, 2016|
|On Valerie's 40th birthday, Valerie and Drew rekindle their relationship. Alex tries to make up with Valerie by planning a surprise party, much to displeasure of Valerie. Spencer's trial is successful and cancer is in remission.|
|23||13||"The Great Unknown"||Fred Savage||Zander Lehmann||August 23, 2016|
|After Spencer's cancer goes into remission, Laura loses all love interest for him. Alex and Valerie's father turns up with his mind made. He's ready to die and he wants Alex's help. With the help of Valerie and Laura, they poison his drink. Valerie decides to move out of Alex's house.|
Season 3 (2017)
On June 23, 2016, Hulu renewed the series for a 13-episode third season. The season premiered on May 23, 2017.
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|24||1||"Ashes to Ashes"||Lynn Shelton||Zander Lehmann||May 23, 2017|
|In the wake of Charles' death, Alex and Valerie adjust to their new lives apart. Laura schemes to remove her tattoo. Dawn makes an unexpected announcement.|
|25||2||"Things to Do in Burbank When You're Dead"||Carrie Brownstein||Zander Lehmann||May 23, 2017|
|After the memorial, Alex and Valerie spend one last night roaming the streets of their old neighborhood and discussing where to scatter Charles' ashes.|
|26||3||"The Table"||Carrie Brownstein||Liz Tigelaar||May 23, 2017|
|Valerie enlists Leon's help to accept delivery of a new dining room table. Alex pitches his business idea to investors. Laura participates in a sex study.|
|27||4||"The Sprout"||Lake Bell||Marguerite MacIntyre||May 30, 2017|
|Alex reconnects with Emmy. Valerie upgrades her wardrobe before the first day of a storytelling class. Laura starts a new job collecting signatures for a ballot proposition.|
|28||5||"Look at Me"||Lake Bell||Harris Danow||June 6, 2017|
|Valerie's fling with her classmate gets more complicated than she had hoped. Laura uncovers troubling information about her ballot proposition. A date inspires Alex to consider his future.|
|29||6||"Troubleshooting"||Amy York Rubin||Molly Smith Metzler||June 13, 2017|
|Alex reacquaints himself with the demands of working full-time. Valerie catches up with Jennifer and learns an intriguing secret about Jack. Laura goes door-to-door collecting signatures, while interning for a new environmental group.|
|30||7||"The Rat King"||Amy York Rubin||Rosa Handelman||June 20, 2017|
|Rae's discovery of a rat in the bathroom sparks a hunt through Alex's house. Leon and Leia's relationship escalates.|
|31||8||"Venus"||Michael Weaver||Tommy Dewey and Michaela Watkins||June 27, 2017|
|Alex makes an unlikely friend at work while trying to unearth the identity of Valerie's brother. Laura's relationship with Casey intensifies. Valerie finds her new arrangement with Jack maddening.|
|32||9||"Fresno"||Michael Weaver||Marguerite MacIntyre||July 4, 2017|
|Valerie and Jack drive to Fresno to meet Valerie's half-brother. Laura considers whether to speak at a town council meeting. Alex's plan to impress a co-worker backfires when his house is taken over by a YouTube celebrity's photo shoot.|
|33||10||"Cake Walk"||Gillian Robespierre||Harris Danow||July 11, 2017|
|Alex searches for answers after losing his sexual prowess. Valerie obsesses over Jack's choices while planning a double date with Alex and Judy. Laura finds herself lost after a hard goodbye.|
|34||11||"Firesale"||Gillian Robespierre||Molly Smith Metzler and Rosa Handelman||July 18, 2017|
|Valerie is roped into being a bridesmaid for a wedding she thinks is ridiculous. Alex and Judy revel in their new romance. Laura raises money for a move to Sacramento.|
|35||12||"99"||Jason Reitman||Liz Tigelaar||July 25, 2017|
|It's 1999. A young Valerie and Alex prepare for an unexpected pregnancy. In present day, Laura visits Casey in Sacramento and Valerie's relationship with Jack reaches a breaking point.|
|36||13||"The Hermit & the Moon"||Jason Reitman||Zander Lehmann||August 1, 2017|
|Valerie tries to repair her relationship with Laura while confronting resentments she harbors towards Dawn. Alex resolves to embark on an epic camping trip—but is epically derailed.|
Season 4 (2018)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|37||1||"Carrie"||Gillian Robespierre||Zander Lehmann||July 31, 2018|
|Laura returns from a trip abroad and Valerie soon discovers that fixing their fractured relationship proves more difficult than she thought. Alex's attempts at keeping his new family order are thwarted when an unwelcome presence enters the equation.|
|38||2||"The Missing Piece"||Gillian Robespierre||Cara DiPaolo||July 31, 2018|
|A sudden death has Val questioning her life choices, while Alex struggles with Jeff's intrusion in his family. Laura finds it difficult to balance her relationship with her new career and Leon and Leia receive unexpected news.|
|39||3||"Virtual Reality"||Hannah Fidell||Zander Lehmann||July 31, 2018|
|The realities of Valerie's impulsive decision begin to take hold as Laura endures the fallout from her fight with Tathiana. Alex navigates the bizarre world of virtual dating and makes a surprising connection.|
|40||4||"Dreams Stay With You"||Hannah Fidell||Harris Danow||July 31, 2018|
|Alex embarks on a psychedelic getaway only to encounter an unpleasant figure from his past, while Valerie runs into an old flame during a night out with John. Laura maneuvers a new career opportunity around an inscrutable boss.|
|41||5||"The Last Super Bowl"||Zander Lehmann||Rosa Handelman||July 31, 2018|
|During Alex's 'Last Super Bowl' party gone awry, Valerie introduces John to the gang as Alex processes Rae's decision to move out. Laura has a chance run-in with Tathiana. Leon and Leia are at an impasse after Leia's recent revelation.|
|42||6||"Polytropos"||Helen Estabrook||Tess Morris||July 31, 2018|
|Following a day of misguided decisions, Alex, Valerie, and Laura begin their overdue pilgrimage to Dawn's. But when their road trip takes an accidental turn, each faces an obstacle that tests their willpower in different ways.|
|43||7||"All About You"||Michael Weaver||Nick Jones, Jr.||July 31, 2018|
|Alex's "first date" with Rae goes less smoothly than planned, while a stubborn John tries Val's patience. Laura returns to Tathiana with a newfound resolve, and Leon and Leia begin the process of mediation.|
|44||8||"Finale"||Michael Weaver||Zander Lehmann||July 31, 2018|
|Alex and Valerie grapple with Dawn's unexpected death, then put big life decisions on hold to go on a double date. Laura finds clarity in her love life. After Leia admits to Leon she can't and won't be without him no matter what, they reconcile. So do Laura and Tathiana--after Laura receives a job suggestion from a former colleague leaving the chaotically-run restaurant Laura quit. Alex finally departs for Austin to be with Rae.|
The first season received critical acclaim. On Metacritic the first season holds a rating of 77 out of 100 based on 20 critic reviews, indicating 'generally favorable reviews'. Rotten Tomatoes gave the first season a 93% 'certified fresh' rating based on 28 critic reviews, with the critical consensus "Jason Reitman's Casual is a funny -- albeit very specific -- look at modern dating, sharpened by edgy dialogue and self-assured performances." For the 73rd Golden Globe Awards, the series was nominated in the category for Best Television Series - Musical or Comedy.
The second season received similar acclaim. It holds an 87% approval rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 15 reviews, with an average rating of 8.8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Well-written and solidly acted, Casual offers a profane -- yet profound -- take on life's many challenges". On Metacritic, the season holds a rating of 88 out of 100, based on 7 critics, indicating "Universal acclaim".
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