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Alongside fellow Hulu original comedies The Mindy Project and Difficult People, it’s safe to Casual is the most dramatic of the streaming company’s half-hours. But that may change, albeit slightly, when the series returns in May for season three.
“I think this year we may try to go a little bit more comedic and maybe have a couple standalone episodes,” creator Zander Lehmann told reporters Saturday at the Television Critics Association winter press tour. “You always want to be evolving a little bit. I think every season the goal is to be 10 percent different than the season.”
However, Lehmann doesn’t see the show moving too far away from the dramatic stakes and darker comedy that has helped make the series one of Hulu’s standouts (as well as one of its first Golden Globe-nominated originals).
“For us, we’re specific. We fit in that sort of dramedy, comedy-drama space and I love working in that sandbox because, to me, that is the most true representation of my voice,” he said. “I would consider us a comedy.”
Deadpanned star Michaela Watkins: “I guess some people don’t think killing puppies and fathers is hilarious.”
Star Tommy Dewey said the show’s darker moments actually boost the comedic elements. “The comedy always rings truer and funny plays harder when it’s rooted in the deep emotional stuff,” he said. “Just silliness can get tiresome.”
Lehmann also discussed a certain amount of evolution that will take place onscreen for the characters… to a certain extent.
“I think they always have to learn or else you end up with the same stories over and over. So whether they have a new awareness in later seasons, I think they have to take away something away from their experience but if its too much, we forget about who these characters are and the tone changes and the voice changes,” he said. “Like all of us, they sort of learn piece by piece, bit by bit, but they don’t necessarily change. I think they learn things and then make the same mistakes and hopefully as they move forward, they can make new mistakes and maybe learn new things.”
In light of that, Tara Lynne Barr is optimistic her character will be able to embrace that idea of growth in the upcoming episodes. “I think that she has learned that she has an incredibly screwed up idea of intimacy in her sexual relationships,” she said. “In season three hopefully we see her using what she learned and going out into the world and not having these self-sabotaging relationships with people.”
The biggest change, however, might be for Alex’s close friend Leon (Nyasha Hatendi). “We get to see Leon outside of the context of Valerie and Alex for the first time in sort of a real way. That’s been fun to construct and to construct that character outside of the destructive orbit of these two.”
Casual returns May 23 on Hulu.
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