In the first episode of the second season of Amazon’s Catastrophe, Sharon Morris (Sharon Horgan) describes Rob Norris (Rob Delaney) perfectly: “Just imagine a nice-enough guy who takes a shit and reads about Hitler.” She says it with a smile on her face, a loving dig at her dopey, yet caring, husband.
Delaney and Horgan—who created, write, and star in the series—demonstrated in season one that their playful chemistry would be the backbone of the show. They play a couple whose weeklong sexcapade turns into a lifelong relationship when Sharon ends up pregnant (though even after years into their marriage she remains in Rob’s cell phone as “Sharon London Sex”). Rob leaves his life in Boston to start a family with Sharon in England.
While season one was all about how Rob and Sharon navigate their new relationship, season two introduces a whole new set of outside problems: Rob’s overbearing mother (a hilariously wretched Carrie Fisher), Sharon’s father’s descent into dementia, and the deteriorating relationship of Rob and Sharon’s closest friends. And instead of picking up where season one left off, the show jumps years into the future—the couple now have two kids, live in a country house, and are stuck in unsatisfying jobs. The leap in time helps to maintain the pace that made the first season so successful. We’re thrown right into the whirlwind of Rob and Sharon’s life, two people who, despite their constant bickering, are absolutely perfect together.
Catastrophe is one of the few shows where jokes register among the characters, which makes it feel more authentic. Typical one-camera sitcoms will write jokes for the audience; no matter how funny the line, the other characters in the scene roll their eyes or remain straight-faced. Delaney and Horgan, however, write for each other, constantly laughing at their riffs. It’s a subtle detail that elevates the show above other relationship-driven comedies because the protagonists’ shared sense of humor sets them apart from the show’s other characters.
The short, six-episode season covers everything from the death of a family dog to postpartum depression to struggles with addiction—yet it’s still packed with laugh-out-loud moments. Delaney and Horgan have successfully maintained a delicate balancing act. The only downside is the (likely) yearlong wait until season three starts streaming.
Currently streaming on Amazon Prime