Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan’s filthy romantic comedy Catastrophe returns to Amazon for its third season on Friday. It remains, through these six new episodes, an absolute delight, and one I’ve already written about extensively at the start of season one and season two. So rather than rehash those points again, I just wanted to remind you this wonderful show is coming back, and to tease a few things you should be prepared for:
1. Rob is fat.
Delaney doesn’t go the full Rob McElhenny from Always Sunny season seven, but he’s notably thicker around the midsection as a way to illustrate how Rob has let himself go during his unemployment, and the show weaves a lot of verbal and physical comedy around his new shape, particularly when we see Rob at the gym struggling to take the weight off.
2. It’s a much darker season, without ever losing sight of the funny.
We pick up not far after we left off last year: Rob is unemployed and quietly off the wagon, while Sharon is trying to find out exactly what happened during her drunken hook-up in the season two finale. There’s some real emotional and financial tension in the relationship this time out, even as Delaney and Horgan’s writing manages to hit the sweet spot where it’s still clear that these two like each other, and where these heavier story turns in no way undermine the balls-out comedy of it all. This is what separates Catastrophe from a lot of current comedies that are similar on paper, like, say, You’re the Worst, which tend to put the jokes on hold for the sake of more dramatic stories: even when things are at their most serious, there is somehow still room for humor, like a scene where Rob visits the kids’ babysitter that is simultaneously one of the season’s saddest and most ridiculous.
3. Chris is a motorcycle assassin.
Well, not really, but Rob’s vaping Scottish buddy Chris (Mark Bonnar) has taken to wearing a leather jacket that inspires that insult from ex-wife Fran (Ashley Jensen). Chris remains the show’s strangest and most reliably funny character, but he also adapts nimbly to the more serious stories being told this time out, proving himself a true friend to Rob even as he’s not reacting well at all to developments in Fran’s love life.
4. You’ll have to wait for Carrie Fisher, but it’s worth it.
Her work in the third season finale as Rob’s insufferable mom Mia is the last performance Fisher delivered before her death (though Star Wars: The Last Jedi comes out later this year), and it’s bittersweet as hell, especially since a few of her scenes take place at a funeral. But she was a comic force of nature up to the very end, as Mia continues to annoy the hell out of Rob and, especially, Sharon. And her performance, like Bonnar’s, gets to pivot into something dramatic without undercutting the fundamental joke that is Mia Norris. In Delaney’s eloquent farewell to his idol/co-star, he wrote that he and Horgan wanted to give Fisher more to do than she got in either previous season, and though she’s still only in the one episode, both the creators and Fisher delivered magnificently.