Hint: She really, really loves it

By Lynn Shelton
Updated July 19, 2016 at 12:00 PM EDT
Credit: Hulu
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Every week the cast and crew of Hulu’s dark comedy Casual will be taking EW behind the scenes: For each episode, one member will be recapping and sharing their thoughts on what went down in addition to walking us through the ins-and-outs of the show. This week, director Lynn Shelton brings us inside episode 8, “The Magpie”…

Warning: I’m using the invitation I received to about this week’s episode of Casual to fashion a love letter to the show. So if unmitigated praise is not your cup of tea, please stop reading here.

I’ve had the privilege to direct some seriously solid television — Mad Men, Fresh Off the Boat, Master of None, Maron, New Girl, The Mindy Project, Shameless. All of these shows were enormously rewarding to work on, each in their own way. But the experience of directing Casual (Season 2, Episodes 7 and 8), performed its own unique and stirring magic upon my artistic soul.

“Harmonious” was the adjective that kept floating through my skull, as I labored through the phases of prep, shooting, and editing. From the first morning I showed up, until the afternoon I turned in my director cuts, I felt eerily relaxed and totally at home.

“Why?” I mused, “Why do I feel so mentally freed up and completely empowered to bring the best of my creative abilities to the task at hand?”

It all started with a sense of place.

Except for a few scenes shot on location, Casual is wholly created within the confines of a sweet little island unto itself, far from the bustling big studio lots, off an unassuming exit ramp a little distance from Los Angeles. All the facilities — the writers’ rooms, sound stages, production office, costume shop, edit lairs — are within an arms reach of one another; everyone you see in the hallways is a part of the show. This helps to create a low key and familial atmosphere; a handy quality for any creative environment to possess.

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Of course, if those hallways are filled with difficult or disgruntled employees, then that “familial atmosphere” will quickly sour. And that’s the true genius behind this show: The people.

Every individual working on Casual is a collaborative dreamboat: Sweet tempered, communicative, capable and insanely talented. This goes for the writers, the remarkable cast, and the amazing crew (I can’t list them all but A.D. Ross Novie, D.P. John Guleserian, and editor Steve Edwards deserve special mention).

My hat goes off to Zander Lehmann and all of his producers for assembling such a rock star line up, top to bottom, and for creating such a creatively conducive environment for that lineup to work within.

Thanks so much for having me, Casual. It was an experience that I won’t soon forget.


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