If you haven’t already seen Hulu’s dramedy Casual, you better arrange a binge-watching session ASAP because the second season of the Golden Globe-nominated series premieres today, June 7. Michaela Watkins and Tommy Dewey star as Valerie and Alex, siblings who grew up in an uber-dysfunctional family and are now trying to navigate their way through adulthood together. After an ugly divorce, Valerie and her teenage daughter, Laura (Tara Lynne Barr), move in with Alex, and the three of them (try to) deal with their issues together.
The series is a funny, emotional, and endearing look at relationships, family dynamics, and dating in the age of Tinder—and everything in between. Ahead of today’s premiere, we sat down to chat with 22-year-old Barr about all things Casual—her character, filming, online dating, and what’s to come on season two.
On her character, Laura:
She’s a really dry, sarcastic, wise-beyond-her-years teenager but not in that cutesy, precocious way that I feel like we’ve seen a lot of. I feel like she’s more like a regular girl that just happens to be really, really smart and doesn’t take s— from people. I think she's really cool.
On what we will see from Laura this season:
She’s sort of picking up the pieces, and she leaves her old school because it’s an incredibly toxic place and she doesn’t feel comfortable there and she's totally humiliated. So she goes to this homeschool co-op and she ends up meeting a couple of people who sort of force her to confront these really screwed up views of sex and intimacy that she’s previously held. She really is trying to figure out a purpose and her identity as a now-17-year-old girl. And it’s a lot to tackle, but our writers do such a good job of keeping it really down-to-earth and they don’t overdo it--they sort of do it in a very gentle, natural, true-to-life sort of way.
On identifying with her character:
I think I do. I think I am kind of a smartass, and I try not to be. But I also think Laura just is similar to me in that we both feel things really deeply but maybe we don’t necessarily display those feelings. Sometimes we hold our tongue a little too much and then we end up repressing our feelings. I feel like Laura and I both have a really similar sense of humor. Very dry, sarcastic, wry.
On her wardrobe:
I dress a little bit like Seattle grunge--like 1990s. I like it. It’s not terribly flattering … but I wear like, a pair of Chuck Taylors everyday and ripped jeans and flannels, and it’s really, really simple.
Swipe right or left?
I've never online dated. It's a little scary to me. No Tinder. No OkCupid. No ... what's that other one? Bumble? I feel like if I haven’t started now, I don’t know if I’ll ever do it. It depends on what you’re looking for, right? Maybe at some point I'm just going to be bored one night and be like, “Yeah, why not?” But I think for now, I’m going to stay away. It’s kind of terrifying, to be honest.
On whether her real-life mom has ever embarrassed her like Valerie does on the regular:
Not to the extent that Valerie had. I haven’t like, walked in on my mom sleeping with the person that I was in love with. That’s never happened. But yeah, she does mom things. She says weird things. She’s very, very proud of me on social media. She posts interviews that I’ve done or articles that I’ve done, or she’ll be like, "Did you see that really cute picture that so and so posted of you? Can I repost it?" And I’ll be like, “Sure Mom, yeah.” And she tags me in it.
What about that faux sex tape?
It actually was more comfortable than any of the other [sex] scenes because essentially my character was filming it on her laptop that was facing us … and so our director was like, “You know what, we don’t need any audio really, I’m just going to set up the camera"--because they’re going to treat it to make it look like it was shot on iMovie or something--"and we’re all going to leave the room and you guys just go for it, and yeah, that’s all we need.” It was weird because it felt more real because there was nobody in the room, but it was also like, you weren’t worried about what camera operator had a view of your side boob and other parts. It’s not ... It’s weird, my job’s weird. It’s very weird.
Catch new episodes of Casual every Monday night at midnight on Hulu.