Season 3, Episodes 1-6
I guess over time I’ll have to learn to forgive you.
The magic of British TV is the brevity in which it airs. Often times, there are a handful of episodes – six or eight – and then the show disappears for an undetermined amount of time. It’s a frustrating process for Americans who are bred to expect a new season of their favorite show to premiere for 22 episodes in the fall. More recently, shows on FX and HBO have taken year’s long breaks, forcing audiences to find other entertaining series. What British shows and breaking American shows have in common is their means to come back. Absolutely Fabulous returned in movie form for fans to enjoy. Broad City is coming back after a year and a half break. Now Catastrophe returns after a year off with the same amount of episodes that past seasons had. These episodes are in no way exceedingly long like a Netflix show; creators Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan are able to tell provocative, mostly heartbreaking stories about marriage and relationships in the time of a regular broadcast half hour. And it’s still outstanding.
Horgan and Delaney return as hapless parents who didn’t want to be in the situation in the first place. This season picks up right after two’s finale as Rob confronts Sharon about her use of a morning after pill. The situation boils over into most of the stories of the season as Rob teasingly finds it hard to forgive his wife. A relationship such as theirs is forced, the love unable to be found for a number of reasons. After all, they were jettisoned into the position and now they’re seemingly stuck with two children. Every moment of their bickering is filled with vulgar attitude and biting remarks. This is a married couple plucked from harsh reality and plopped into the lights of the small screen.
As with previous seasons, Catastrophe continues to follow the supporting characters as well. Sharon’s brother Fergal (Jonathan Forbes) moves to Spain with his wife. The death of their father forces them back together in Ireland. Fran (Ashley Jensen) wants to divorce Chris (Mark Bonnar) as the two begin to see other people. And Dave (Daniel Lapaine) is getting off drugs, losing his memory of what simple things like doors are. Interestingly, each person deals with a different form of relationship woes. No couple is safe from Delaney and Horgan’s script.
The writing this season comes from a place of almost disgust for the significant other. With that in mind, someone like Rob still must keep the best interest of not just his wife but also his children at heart. He leaves the very same job that didn’t have his back after his was falsely accused of sexual misconduct only to return to it. The stress of not being able to get a job after several interviews weights down on him, causing him to drink excessively. Many call him out on it and, with each denunciation, he begins to suspect he has a problem – a thread that comes to a head in the finale. Sharon, on the other hand, deals with her amnesic infidelity and her father’s apparent lack of love for her. She could easily chalk it up to his mental deterioration but such an idea is proved a cop out in the final episodes of the season.
Every single episode tackles the hardship of marriage in such a way that this could play out as a documentary for most couples. Horgan and Delaney’s writing continues to build on itself well. The direction from Ben Taylor is good too as he manages to keep characters in the center of the conversation. It’s not so much that they’re in frame but the way he forces the attention of the audience on the brutal fights is a skill that should be admired.
Should you watch Catastrophe?
Somewhere out there is a couple disagreeing about some inane topic. Here, you can watch it happen. Catastrophe is Amazon’s premiere show that gets pushed to the back (sorry, Transparent). It’s funny; it’s hard to watch; it’s truthful. Invest the short time it takes to watch this show into watching this show.