UK TV review: Catastrophe Season 4
James R | On 17, Feb 2019
Never seen Catastrophe? All four seasons are available as a box set on All 4 and Amazon Prime Video. Why you should watch it.
“What did you think?” “I threw up when I saw it. But then I thought, why not?” That’s Rob (Rob Delaney) and Sharon (Sharon Horgan) finding the perfectly imperfect words to express what made Catastrophe such a remarkable, unique piece of TV. The sitcom, created by the duo, has long been a filthily heartfelt treat, as it charts the ups and downs of Rob and Sharon’s relationship – a bond founded on him accidentally knocking her up during a business trip before agreeing to cross the Atlantic and try to build a family together. It was a leap of faith, a venture out into waters unknown, and Catastrophe’s Season 4 finale takes us full circle back to that act, with renewed complexity and profound maturity.
This final season of the hilarious comedy has found everyone coming to frank terms with their feelings, from split couples reuniting to family rifts coming to the fore. It climaxes in a perfectly judged 25 minutes that whisks us away to Boston on a family holiday, only to receive sad news about Rob’s mum, Mia. The result serves as both a way for the show to pay tribute to Carrie Fisher, who repeatedly stole scenes in the episodes she filmed before her tragic death, but also a way for our lead couple to confront questions of life, loss and grief.
Delaney’s performance is remarkable, building up a pressure cooker of emotion that erupts at little notice from his perfectly-chinned face, while Horgan’s compassionate, loyal and fierce presence makes it clear that they’re a perfect match for each other – no matter whether that was fuelled by an unexpected baby or not. The show wraps up with a joint declaration by our couple that borders on the metaphysical, leaving us unsure whether they’re heading somewhere approaching oblivion or anchoring each other to life’s tempestuous shore. The answer, of course, is irrelevant, and therein lies the timeless brilliance of this astonishingly honest portrait of the wonderful mess that is parenthood, the agonising joy of relationships and the always-awkward timing of shopping for swimwear. More TV shows should have the courage and the heart to end like this. So long, Catastrophe. You’ll be sorely, sorely missed.
Season 1 to 4 of Catastrophe is available for free on All 4. It is also available on Amazon Prime Video, a part of a £5.99 monthly subscription.