Amazon’s ‘Catastrophe’ Moves Into The Upper Echelon Of TV Comedies In Its Second Season

Editor-at-Large
04.11.16 6 Comments
catastrophe

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The biggest issue with season two of Catastrophe is that, like the first season, it’s only six episodes long. Six episodes is not enough episodes. More episodes would be better. Not an insane amount or anything. Like, 50 episodes would be too many. I do not think I would enjoy a 50-episode season of any show. I’d watch for hours and hours and be all, “Wait, I still have 32 episodes left?” It would be like climbing Everest, but without the cold or risk of death or Sherpas. So not all that much like climbing Everest. Although I guess you could invite a Sherpa over to watch with you, if you want. The company might be nice for the long slog. And I imagine the Sherpa would enjoy the break.

But anyway, as I was saying: Six episodes of Catastrophe is not enough episodes of Catastrophe. Everything else about season two, though? Pretty great, to the degree that it’s probably time to start talking about Catastrophe as one of the best comedies out there, on TV or streaming.

The setup of Catastrophe, if you’re not familiar, goes something like this: In season one, an American ad executive named Rob (Rob Delaney) travels to London and engages in a week-long sexual fling with a teacher named Sharon (Sharon Horgan), and a few weeks later, after Rob has returned home to Boston, surpriiiiise, Sharon calls him to inform him she is pregnant. Rob hops a plane to London and the two of them decide to give the whole thing a go, despite only really knowing each other biblically at that point. Bingo bango, we’re off.

It’s not the premise that makes the it all work, though. What makes it work is the two main characters, and the smart, funny, occasionally mean dialogue they spout off during numerous conversations about, well, everything. Pregnancy mostly, obviously. And sex. (There is a lot of sex on Catastrophe.) But also everything. And it doesn’t hurt that the show — created by Delaney and Horgan, who are married in real life, but to other people — surrounds its central couple with a collection of weird, unbalanced supporting players, which has the effect of making Rob and Sharon seem normal even as they rather openly behave like lunatics. Most notable among these performances: Mark Bonner, who plays Rob’s intense, vaping, shark-eyed married friend, Chris; and Carrie Fisher, who plays Rob’s passive aggressive, borderline evil mom, and whose presence on the show — along with Amazon’s thing where they put little “Did You Know?” tidbits on the screen when you pause — resulted in me learning this…

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