A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Casual is a dark comedy about a dysfunctional family that lives together. Expect frequent references to sex and graphic discussion of lesbian sex, birth control, and consequence-free sex with strangers. Also expect references to suicide and frequent cursing ("f--k," "s--t"). One character has a casual sex habit and started a website that encourages hookups. We see a man nude from the rear. A man discusses a sexual dream about his father. A teen is having sex with her boyfriend with the consent of her mother, and we see the teen in her underwear. Scenes take place in bars, and characters act drunk.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
For depressed Internet entrepreneur Alex (Tommy Dewey), sex has been CASUAL for quite a while. He uses the women he meets through the successful dating site he founded, Snooger, as an escape from his otherwise colorless and sad life. Also promising: His sister Valerie (Michaela Watkins) has just moved in with her precocious teenage daughter Laura (Tara Lynne Barr), both reeling from Valerie's ongoing divorce proceedings, but they're some comfort and company for Alex. Each member of the family struggles with his or her own personal problems, but when they're together, at least there's someone to sit with on the couch.
Is it any good?
This downbeat comedy is enlivened by the luminescent presence of Michaela Watkins as Valerie and careful direction by Jason Reitman (Juno), making his foray into TV. It feels like we've met these characters before: the delicate and damaged woman, the man drowning his sorrows in women and sex. It feels too easy to turn the plot of this show into a romcom-movie-poster tagline, and some of the characterizations feel glib. Laura doesn't look or talk like a teen, so it's jarring to see her treated like one; Alex is a textbook "nice guy underneath the sleaze" sitcom guy. Only Watkins manages to realistically convey her character's exhaustion and disappointment with her life, reeling in the viewer who wants to see this embittered woman find the happiness we're sure awaits her in forthcoming plot lines. The cursing, sex, and references to suicide make this one too dark for kids -- save it for teens on up, if they're interested.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why shows featuring families are so common. What types of story lines do they typically feature? What types of dramatic possibilities do shows about families have?
Does the actress playing Laura look like a teenager? Would it surprise you to learn she's 22? Why do older actors typically play teens in movies and on television?
Are we supposed to like the characters in Casual? What about the show brings you to that conclusion? Consider dialogue, settings, plot lines, and camera angles.
For kids who love comedy
Our editors recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.