Hulu's Casual has found a special place in the hearts of TV fans, and its most recent season marks its farewell to that enthusiastic audience. Casual won't return for Season 5 — Deadline reported back in October that it was the end of the road for the quirky comedy-drama. But it did find a way to go out with a bang.
The Golden Globe-nominated series, which debuted in 2015, focuses on a woman (Michaela Watkins) coming to terms with her divorce as she raises her daughter (Tara Lynne Barr) and shares a home once more with her younger brother (Tommy Dewey). It's unclear if it was a network or a showrunner decision to make Season 4 the final one, but the goal to deliver a proper sendoff was one that everyone seemed to share, according to creator's Zander Lehmann comments to Uproxx.
"Showing that the characters had grown some was important to us," he said. "In the first couple of seasons they oscillate between growth and no-growth, and I wanted to send them off properly where they seemed like they were in a better place, and good with each other. And, honestly, I wanted kind of a happy ending."
To get to that happy ending, Casual hit viewers with a four-year time jump in its series finale. Lehmenn said in an interview with ScreenRant.com that the jump allowed them to skip over some of the dicier details of building toward a resolution, and made it so the characters would be where they needed to be at the end.
"We didn't have to spend time answering the things that we thought would be less satisfying," he told the outlet. "So we started with this premise: We're jumping into the future, we'll answer some questions, we'll leave somethings unexplained and we'll assume that in the four years that have passed, some of the wounds have been healed, these characters are kind of okay with each other."
Reviews for the final season are in — the season has a 100 percent positive audience score on Rotten Tomatoes as of Wednesday afternoon, and social media is buzzing with talk of Casual's swan song. According to social media, fans would ideally love more seasons, but certainly aren't complaining about the way things played out.
Critical acclaim for the last season has largely been just as enthusiastic. Jen Chaney from Vulture praised Casual's final season and its way of effortlessly illustrating how important the small moments of life are, saying that "even as it depicts big issues like death and divorce and parent-child conflict, it excels the most at showing us the less momentous elements of daily life."
Ben Chaney from IndieWire called the last batch of episodes a "beautiful goodbye" and that though Casual is "a thing of beauty pulled from us too soon, these four seasons provide a lifetime of moments to treasure."
Casual was one of Hulu's first dips into original programming, and while it rose to some critical acclaim, it certainly wasn't the smash break-out that The Handmaid's Tale, another Hulu project, became. It had a quieter following, which perhaps explains the decision to end with this season. The goodbye seems appropriate and successful, though, and finishing on that note allows Casual to live on as a piece of beloved television.