One of my favorite TV couples of all time is back for the fourth and last season of Catastrophe, with a superb final outing of six hilarious episodes, just as sharp and mean and biting as ever. Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney are still Sharon and Rob, struggling just to make it together while raising their kids and trying to maintain a relationship.
If you don’t watch this show, it’s hard to explain why it’s so good. Everyone has their own sense of humor, and mine is fairly dark, which is why the meaner both Sharon and Rob are, the more I love them. But their harshness and verbal jabs at each other and at everyone else might not be to your taste- if so, that’s too bad. You’re missing out. As abrasive as these two people are, they are still, believe it or not, one of the most romantic TV couples ever, simply shaped to fit each other in their style, taste and personalities.
After going darker in the third season with the death of Sharon’s dad and Rob falling off the wagon, it’s back to lighter fare this time, with Sharon watching Rob like a hawk and spewing venom at him for it, as he fulfills his court mandated community service in a neck brace that she can’t stop laughing at. Each episode is an adorably funny setup that makes Rob and Sharon yell, laugh and exchange their typical, only them banter, in perfectly written scenes by Delaney and Horgan, which so realistically run the emotional gamut from annoyance to affection and back again. You can imagine what it’s like to live with these two, as they both alternately irritate and amuse each other from moment to moment.
This UK/Channel 4 commissioned show makes for short and sweet seasons, but I could so easily take many more episodes from them. The show tackles workplace harassment as Rob enjoys the bromance started by his sexist boss who brushes aside his female supervisor, and Sharon freaks out at the too comfortable moves made by her own new boss towards her, but the topical issues never sacrifice an ounce of laughs for cheap sentimentality. The always great supporting characters like Fergil, Fran, Chris and Dave take their final bow, while Rob’s sister Sidney (a perfectly cast Michaela Watkins) comes on for a couple of appearances as a kind of replacement for the late Carrie Fisher, who played their mother Mia in the first three seasons.
The show does right by Fisher’s death, writing in a finale that acknowledges Mia’s own offscreen demise and sees Rob and Sharon in Boston for a family vacation that becomes a funeral, an event which turns darkly comedic, as a poignant tribute to Rob’s mom feels just as much like one to Fisher’s sardonic self. It all ends with another of Rob and Sharon’s epic fights, but this one leads to another familial surprise and a note perfect ending that feels like the quintessential summation of all that Catastrophe represented in terms of maintaining the craziness of a relationship. The constant ups and downs never make any sense, and the whole idea of trying to force these things might be nuts in itself, but if you can laugh at the beginning, middle and end of every fight, or death or car accident or relapse, you’re probably meant for each other in some crazy, shape shifting way. I’ll miss these guys. I could watch them live life forever.