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Characters / Life with Derek

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This is the character sheet for Life with Derek.

The Venturi-McDonald family:

  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: With the Venturis representing the red, as they are more brash, impulsive and extroverted, and the McDonalds the blue, as they are intellectual, traditional and more reserved. When comparing in the families, Casey would be the red oni to Lizzie's blue and Derek the red oni to Edwin's blue.
  • Sibling Team: Usually the Venturis vs. the McDonalds, even though there are occasions when it's Derek-Casey and Edwin-Lizzie. Marti has been on both sides.

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Casey McDonald
Played by Ashley Leggat


Casey is the protagonist and is the polar opposite of Derek in just about every way. This often leads to conflict between the two. Prior to her mom remarrying, Casey only had one younger sister and, much like Derek, was used to being in charge. She is studious and high maintenance, but throughout the course of the show becomes a little more easy going. Casey often confides in her guidance counselor, Paul, about her problems - or just to vent about Derek.

  • Butt-Monkey: Usually for Derek, although she knows how to get revenge.
  • Catchphrase: "DER-EK!" Lampshaded in one episode, when Derek responds by saying Casey's name the same way, as well as Sally's.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: She has an acute sense of morality, especially when it involves Derek and him hurting other people, particularly girls.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: She even sports the nickname "Klutzilla" in one episode.
  • Determinator: Both she and Derek are this, but she takes the cake sometimes.
  • Drama Queen: Quite a lot. Especially when she and Max were dating.
  • Flirty Stepsiblings: With Derek. Unintentional on the writers' part, intentional on the actors', particularly Ashley Leggat, who multiple times stated that she wanted her character to end up with Derek.
  • Girlish Pigtails: She wears pigtails in some episodes.
  • Greek Chorus: At the beginning of each episode, she usually makes a comment to the viewers about what the general theme or message of what the episode will be about.
  • Hate at First Sight: With Derek. Their first lines exchanged leaves her concluding he's the most 'arrogant, insensitive, rude person' she has ever met.
  • Insufferable Genius: Casey means well, but sometimes, she can act too overconfident when it comes to her intelligence.
  • It's All About Me: This, along with Derek is one of her biggest faults.
  • The Not-Love Interest: Derek's. Despite him having his own official girlfriends, Casey always seems to be much more important than them.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Played straight with the boyfriends she's had, as both Sam and Max are jocks, but they're really nice guys. She even states how she wants her perfect guy to be gallant and nice and is flat out disgusted by guys like Derek and Truman, hating the fact that she falls for Truman, against her will.
  • The Smart Girl
  • Snowball Lie: Accidentally starts one in the episode Rumor Mill.
  • Straw Feminist: Casey seems to think the word "Secretary" is sexist, and insists that her stepfather use the more politically-correct "Administrative Assistant."
  • Technician vs. Performer: The technician to Derek's performer. While Casey is crazy studious and has a high level of books smarts, she doesn't seem to do as well when it comes to pragmatism, compared to Derek, who has a high level of street smarts.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Girly Girl to Lizzie's Tomboy; Lizzie plays hockey and generally shows no interest in girlish things, which Casey clearly enjoys.
  • Women Are Wiser: The smartest character in the show and, along with her mother and sister, wiser than the male counterparts in the house. Although Derek seems to be more pragmatic than her, when it comes to life issues.

Derek Venturi
Played by Michael Seater

"If you have a complaint, you can put it in my suggestion box."

Derek is Casey's step-brother and her primary antagonist on the show. He's popular and good looking and not very book smart, although it is hinted at a couple of times that he's just lazy and that if he put more effort into school work, he'd probably do a lot better. He is used to being the one in charge at home, but the arrival of Casey and her family disrupts that, and he's not particularly fond of changing his life style around. He's sneaky and manipulative and not above lying to Casey to get what he wants. That said, even though he and Casey are often at each other's throats for one reason or another, he does have a soft side, but it's usually reserved for his younger sister Marti.

  • Beauty Is Bad: More attractive than the other boys in school and probably the biggest jerkass of them all.
  • Being Good Sucks: In season 2, he hates the fact that he wants to do something right for Casey, when he wants to tell her that her date cheats on her, until he figures out how to do 'right and wrong' at the same time, by busting on Casey's date.
  • Big Bad: Casey's main rival and even enemy in most episodes.
  • Big Brother Bully: Primarily towards Edwin.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Primarily towards Marti, and sometimes with Lizzie.
  • Big Eater: He can be seen eating a sandwich in a lot of scenes.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Casey.
  • Beauty, Brains, and Brawn: Derek, Sam and Ralph, with Derek getting the looks and being the most popular guy in school, Sam being the most intelligent and sensitive out of the three and Ralph the most bulky and ditzy.
  • Blond, Brunette, Redhead: Sam, Ralph and him, all three being jocks and best friends, with Derek also getting the Jerk Jock part.
  • Book Dumb: Although, he could just be...
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: The only time he really lets his guard down is when he's around Marti.
  • Comedic Sociopath: He presents many signs of this, as he usually has no regards for the rights and feelings of other people. The only thing that saves him from completely being this is the fact that he cares for his family and, eventually, his stepfamily too.
    Derek (to Casey): That's because you have a conscience...(smirks) I don't.
  • Consummate Liar: In most episodes, he's such a good liar, that he gets his way eventually.
  • Determinator: Not as bad as Casey, but he's got it strong too.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He's in no way evil, but he's the closest thing to an antagonist the series has. Even though he tries to make Casey's life hell, his limit is when he sees her crying because she tells him she saw her cousin Vicky kissing Truman.
    • He states that using Marti the same way that he uses Edwin is cruel.
  • Evil Redhead: Has reddish-brown hair and is the biggest asshole in the entire series. Yes, probably even more asshole than Truman, whom we only see cheating on Casey, compared to Derek who was mentioned to do that to plenty of other girls.
  • Flanderization: In the beginning, Derek verbally makes fun of Casey and mocks her whenever he gets a chance. In season 3, it's revealed that he has pranked her and set her traps so many times, that she has even made a list of top ten worst things that he has done to her. It goes to the point where he fails at school and has to be sent to a private school by his parents, because he's too busy pranking her.
  • Flirty Stepsiblings: With Casey. Unintentional on the writers' part, very intentional on the actors'.
  • Friend to All Children: He's surprisingly good with kids. Especially Marti.
  • Hate at First Sight: With Casey. Their first lines exchanged leaves her concluding he's the most 'arrogant, insensitive, rude person' she has ever met.
  • Hates Being Touched: Derek isn't exactly the "hugging" type.
  • High School Hustler: G rated version. He ran a used clothing, office supplies and CD ring, complete with bagmen.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: No one is allowed to make fun of Casey except Derek.
  • Jerkass: Lazy, selfish, and rude to his siblings, especially to Casey.
  • It's All About Me: He is incredibly selfish, and does whatever it takes to get his way.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He is pretty much a jerk, except when he's around Marti, and occasionally with Lizzie when he teaches her about hockey.
  • Kissing Cousins: Kisses Vicky, who is technically his step-cousin.
  • Lack of Empathy: Although he is persuaded to do the right thing in the end (usually by his parents or Casey), usually he doesn't seem to care when other people express grief or just avoids them entirely. One notable case was when Nora and George were depressed because they couldn't be together - Nora openly crying - and all he cared about was his cake.
    • He has shown to care when Marti is upset.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits!: What he tells Sam when Sam shows an interest in Casey, but it was more about Sam being his friend than actual concern for Casey.
  • The Not-Love Interest: Casey's. Derek is the guy she's most of the time preoccupied with and he seems more important to her than her canon boyfriends.
  • Pet the Dog: Many of his scenes with Marti consist of this.
    • One episode has him comforting Casey, after she catches Truman kissing Vicki.
  • Secondary Character Title: Casey and him are both protagonists, but the story is presented from Casey's perspective in most episodes, making her the primary main character.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Manly Man to Edwin's Sensitive Guy.
  • Smug Smiler: Derek is famously known for his smug smirk/grin that he gives Casey most of the time. He also uses his trademark smirk to get girls.
  • Supporting Protagonist: In spite of being the title character, Casey is more of a main character on the show than he is.
  • Technician vs. Performer: The performer to Casey's technician. Casey is book-smart and studies a lot, while Derek is more on the pragmatic side, being street-smart.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: He is known to be a jerk, but some episodes exaggerate this trait so much, to the point where he doesn't care at all if people get hurt, both mentally and physically.

Edwin Venturi
Played by Daniel Magder

Edwin is Derek's younger brother, and the middle child along with Lizzie. He tends to feel like he's the Un Favorite and although he looks up to Derek, he has been shown to have a bit of an inferiority complex.

  • Double Agent: Often happens when it's a McDonald vs. Venturi showdown.
  • Kid-anova: Has a different crush almost every week, and likes to think of himself as a "ladies man".
  • Only Sane Man: He sometimes comes across this way for the Venturi side, especially when he and Lizzie are commiserating about their elder siblings.

Lizzie McDonald
Played by Jordan Todosey

"But that still gives you 2 out of 20. And any score less than 6, I'm supposed to call a social worker."

Lizzie is Casey's younger sister and, like Edwin, is the middle child. She is probably the most level headed of her siblings, but even she has her moments. She and Edwin often partner up when scheming for or against their older siblings. Being the middle child doesn't seem to bother her as much as it does Edwin.

  • Canada, Eh?: Out of the main cast, she has the most overt Canadian accent.
  • Evil Laugh: Has one briefly in "Fright Night".
  • Girlish Pigtails: Along with Casey, she wears pigtails in some episodes.
  • Girliness Upgrade: In the earlier seasons Lizzie is very much a tomboy, but in the last season she decides to stop "wearing clothes from the boys section".
  • Granola Girl: In the earlier seasons she was an environmentalist, and also a vegetarian.
  • Only Sane Man: She sometimes comes across this way for the McDonald side, especially when she and Edwin are commiserating about their elder siblings.
  • Passionate Sports Girl: Has played a lot of sports, from ice hockey to soccer.
  • Precocious Crush: On her soccer coach in season 2.
  • Vague Age: It's never stated how old Lizzie is, but it's presumed she's around the same age as Edwin, who turns 13 in season 3.
  • Women Are Wiser: Along with Casey and Nora, they are wiser than their male counterparts in the house.

Marti Venturi
Played by Ariel Waller

"I have an announcement! I'm not wearing socks!"

Marti is the youngest child in the Venturi-McDonald household until The Movie. She seems to get along with all of her siblings, but is closest to Derek and is one of the few people to whom Derek will open up. She can be annoying at times, but gradually grows out of that as the series progresses.

  • Outnumbered Sibling: Before the Venturi-McDonald merger, she was the only girl with two older brothers.
  • Morality Pet: To Derek. He has shown to have a soft spot for her.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: She often uses this to her advantage to get what she wants.
  • Spoiled Brat: So much so that both George and Nora have a hard time parenting her.

Nora McDonald-Venturi
Played by Joy Tanner

Nora is Casey and Lizzie's mom. She is married to George Venturi, who is her second husband, and throughout the series is often the Only Sane Man. She finds out that she's pregnant in the final season, and it is revealed in The Movie that she and her mother don't exactly get along.

George Venturi
Played by John Ralston

George is the father of Derek, Edwin, and Marti. He is a lawyer, a bad driver, and it is implied that when he was younger, he was very much like Derek.

  • Like Father, Like Son: There are strong indications that Derek is very much like his father was when he was a teenager.

    Extended Family 

Cousin Vicky
Played by Sarah Gadon (Season 1) and Paula Brancati (Season 4)

Vicky is Casey's cousin. She's first introduced in season 1 and is one of the few characters, apart from Derek, who get under Casey's skin. When it is revealed that the reason she is so mean to Casey is because she's jealous of her, she and Casey reconcile. She later returns in season 4, played by a different actress, and gets caught kissing Casey's boyfriend at a party.

  • Aesop Amnesia: She and Casey reconcile in "The Wedding", but when she's back in season 4 and she's caught kissing Truman at a party, they seem to be back to being enemies.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": She doesn't like to be called Vicki, because it reminds her of "icky".

Aunt Madge
Played by Barbara Gordon

Aunt Madge is George's aunt. She is a notorious cheek pincher who, it's implied, doesn't see George and his family often. She only appears in one episode.

Played by Kate Trotter

Felicia is Nora's mom. She is introduced in The Movie, at which point she hasn't seen Nora or Lizzie and Casey in four years. She openly disapproves of Nora getting remarried and raising five kids, and is not happy when she finds out that Nora is pregnant. At first, she wants nothing to do with the Venturi kids, and is reluctant to agree to let them stay at her lodge. After a fight with Casey, she has a change of heart.

    Reoccurring Characters 

Emily Davis

Played by Shadia Simmons

Emily is Casey's best friend. She lives next door to the Venturis and has had a crush on Derek for a long time, even going so far as to keep tabs on him. She eventually gets over her crush on him and gets together with Sheldon Schlepper until he moves away. She finally gets her chance with Derek at the end of the fourth and final season.


Played by Shane Kippel

Ralph is one of Derek's friends and bandmates.


Played by Kit Weyman

Sam is Derek's best friend. He is also Casey's first love interest on the show. He's a generally nice guy and he and Casey manage to stay on friendly terms even after they break up.

Truman French

Played by Joe Dinicol

Truman is much like Derek, minus any redeeming qualities. He makes his debut in season 4 and shows an interest in Casey. After much resisting, she agrees to go out with him. He then makes out with her cousin Vicky at a party, and they break up. But she takes him back at prom because he's secretly a wounded soul afraid of commitment.

Max Miller

Played by Robbie Amell

Max is a popular football jock at school in whom Casey takes an interest. He's a fairly decent guy, although he and Casey don't have a lot in common. They eventually break up when Casey feels like she's changed for the worse.


Played by Lauren Collins

Kendra is one of the popular girls at school and, like most girls, shows an interest in Derek.


Played by Kate Todd

Sally is Derek's co-worker and is, arguably, the first girl he's really tried to work hard at at winning over. She's a bit older than him and convinces him to take her to prom, since she missed her own. They eventually break up when she leaves for college.

Noel Covington

Played by Adam Butcher

Noel is introduced in season 3 as Casey's leading man in a school play. It's revealed that he likes her, but since she's with Max at the time, he keeps his feelings to himself.

Sheldon Schlepper

Played by William Greenblatt

Sheldon is first introduced when he's running for class president against Casey. The writers liked him so much that they brought him back as a reoccurring character. He gets together with Emily, much to Casey's surprise. When he's forced to move, he proposes to Emily at prom, but she turns him down since they're still in high school.


Played by Arnold Pinnock

Paul is Casey's guidance counselor to whom she vents in just about every episode.


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