At one point during Casual season 4, which premieres Tuesday on Hulu, Valerie Meyers (Michaela Watkins) tells her younger brother Alex (Tommy Dewey), “I’m going to miss this.” With an understanding smile, he responds, “Me too.” It’s one of the more poignant moments from the Casual season 4 trailer, because the next eight episodes will be the show’s last.
Created by Jason Reitman, Zander Lehmann and Liz Tigelaar in 2015, Casual was one of first shows to usher Hulu into the realm of acclaimed programming. By the time season three’s final episode had aired in August 2017, however, no one knew if the series would be coming back. (Hulu didn’t announce Casual season 4 until that October.) When the new finally did break, the cast and the crew felt a great sense of relief.
Michaela Watkins and co. talk Casual season 4
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“We were delighted and thrilled to find out we were getting another season. And then it was bittersweet to find out it was going to be our last season,” recalls Watkins. “But at the same time, the scripts were that much more meaningful, and shooting it felt that much more heavy, in an immediate and thrilling kind of a way.”
As Tara Lynne Barr, who plays Valerie’s daughter Laura, explains it, knowing Casual season 4 would be their last assured everyone at the show that they would get to the chance end the story on their own terms.
“I have a lot of friends who have been through heartbreaking cancellations. You hear about them all the time in this business,” she says. “So all of us felt really, really grateful that we were going to have the space to finish the season. Not just for the viewers, but for us as actors and for our crew, the producers and the writers. It felt like a real blessing, like we were able to get the closure we all needed as coworkers and friends.”
Dewey adds that finishing the story provided the cast with some much-needed creative fuel. “Because the real experience of ending the show dovetails with the experience of these characters moving on to new phases of their lives, the fantasy and reality got intertwined a little bit,” he says. “We were able to use some of those feelings about the show’s end when portraying these characters in their last moments in the story.”
“You know, this was tough,” Dewey admits, “but it was only tough because it was so great.”
Even so, everyone admits that they’re going to miss the show, and especially their respective roles, a lot. “Alex strikes a tone that really resonates with me,” says Dewey. “I grew personally in many ways from confronting some of the ideas around Alex. It’s a nice way to vent, because he doesn't suffer fools. I am probably a little too polite because I hear my sweet, southern mother's voice in my head, so it was nice to play Alex and tell the world what he thought of it.”
“I'm going to miss her like I miss a bad boyfriend who can sometimes be a real asshole, but you love him despite his wart,” Tara laughs when asked about Laura. “I know she wasn't always the most sweet, charming or likable character, but I hope people, especially women, watched her and thought to themselves, ‘What a pain in the ass… but I like her.’”
As for Watkins, whose smile can practically be heard over the phone, letting go of Valerie is both a heartbreaking prospect and a welcome measure of change. “I really started to take Val home with me. She's a good one, and I’m going to miss her big time,” she says. “I want this show to feel like when you finish a really good novel and then you cry a little bit. You're going to miss everyone you spent all this time with because that's it. There’s no more pages.”
Casual season 4 premieres Tuesday, July 31, on Hulu.