Casual: Season Two – Such Good Friends (Review)

Such Good Friends Screenshot

“Casual” moves forward with “Such Good Friends” into the home schooling cooperative, Valerie’s hesitant friendship with Leia (the c*** from next door with the sofa) and Alex fighting to keep his dating website Snooger.  The family-run “home school” that Laura and Valerie are checking out is comprised of New Age parents but this does not become apparent until after the interview.

In fact the home school faculty (made up  of the parents of the children in the school) all sound like refugees from another Hulu production “The Path.” While they do not have odd symbols on their walls or spout rhetoric about ladders, they do feel like kissing cousins.

Valerie, Alex and Laura meet the group at a school meeting. Valerie is uncomfortable as is Laura.  She explores the house rather than join the other students and texts a picture of a medicine cabinet full of homeopathic medication to Alex. Getting no response she finally meets with the other students.

They are in a “sharing circle” (more shades of the Meyerist movement here) and Laura clearly does not fit in this “caring and sharing” atmosphere.  Valerie is overwhelmed with all the commitment required from her and Alex meets a mother who gives him her number.

Alex and Valerie bolt after collecting Laura and they are all  clearly uncomfortable with the atmosphere. Back at work, Valerie tries to connect, unsuccessfully,  with Leia (Julie Berman) trying to get her into the “friend zone.”   

“Casual” this week seems to find Laura accepting the honesty of the home schooling group and Valerie accepting advice from Alex. She meets up finally with Leia and it looks like they have made the friend zone.

Despite fighting it all the way, Alex finally decides to sell the company.  Another new friend turns out to be  Alex’s number buddy from the meeting. They have sex and she tells a  happy and bemused Alex that their children  will be such good friends.

This show has settled into a rhythm that works.  Although the second season is really more about recovering from the sex tape scandal and Val sleeping with both Alex’s girlfriend and Laura’s teacher.  It will be interesting to see what new problems will arise in the lives of these three dysfunctional human beings.

Tommy Dewey plays Alex (a part that screams for  Ryan Reynolds) as a lethargic yet oddly charming underachiever whose website took off and made money. Now his lack of drive looks like a hindrance.  Dewey grows on you after  a while and it is his underplayed delivery that makes him work as Alex. 

Tara Lynne Barr as Laura just works on every level. Michaela Watkins as  mother to Laura  and sister to Alex is spot on as the walking dichotomy  that is Val. A therapist who is so socially awkward it hurts but who desperately wants to be accepted. 

It took a while but “Casual” has at last become treasured television. The writing, the pacing (which is slow, but for a reason) has become tantalizing and, when it is called for, funny.  The show airs Tuesdays on Hulu. Tune in and give it chance. It was not nominated for a Golden Globe lightly you know.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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