It’s not all been plain sailing for Rob (Rob Delaney) and Sharon (Sharon Horgan) over the past four seasons of Channel 4’s BAFTA-winning hilarious left-of-centre comedy, Catastrophe. Infused with prickly banter between the unlikeliest of parental pairings, the unconventional couple has managed to stay together through some of the stickiest situations that would see most couples run for the hills without looking back.
What to expect
The fourth season promises to deliver exactly what we have come to love about the show. Through the muddy waters of spikiness comes the odd glimmer of tenderness amongst the trials and tribulations of married life, season four will focus on the struggles of staying together. Having tackled financial issues, Rob’s alcoholism and Sharon’s hand dalliance with a student, the new season begins where season 3 left off, dealing with the fallout from Rob’s car crash.
Whilst both Delaney and Horgan – who have co-written all four series – realise the show is a hilarious sitcom, it’s important that the basis of their story lies in realism, and it doesn’t shy away from issues that are rarely spoken about whilst still remaining a whole barrel of fun. With Rob under a court order to undertake community service in a cerebral palsy charity shop, Sharon is left home alone with their son during the day, leaving her to fill up her days with her new found addiction, kleptomania.
Since the series began in 2015, parts of Delaney and Horgan’s real life have been used as bait for their script but as the characters have developed some of those elements have been sidelined. However, their inspiration for some lines do come from the mouths of real people, Delaney stated: “We’re trying to foist our cultural beliefs and stuff on the audiences, like making Rob looks like an ass hole when he talks to the cop and says he is afraid of London. We just wanted to make fun of people who say stuff like that”.
One of the major highlights of the show was the inclusion of Carrie Fisher as Rob’s Mother, a surprising casting yes, but one of utter genius. A chance encounter with Fisher whilst attending an award ceremony, in which she presented Graham Norton with an award and delivered a funny speech, Horgan suggested that they get Fisher to play Rob’s Mother. Delaney was convinced she only agreed to do the series because she could spend some time in London but after completing season 1 realised it was fun.
As you would expect Carrie pretty much ran rings around her co-stars on set. Horgan commented “She loved playing Mia, she totally got it, you never really had to explain it to her”, Delaney went on to say “She would improvise ferociously, it was scary at first but we would prepare for it, she was just so wonderful”. Horgan went on to state: “The first scene she ever did was just me and her talking on the phone, and we just were going at it each, it was the first time we had ever meet and she definitely called me a c***. She was just great to be around”.
With her heartbreaking untimely death, she obviously will not be appearing in the final series even though she is still a major presence, she will get the send-off she wholeheartedly deserves.
This dysfunctional couple may have wormed their way into the hearts of its worldwide audience but nothing can last forever. Making the decision themselves to end the show after the fourth season comes solely from the fact they wanted to go out on a high and not wanting to struggle to come up with future storylines. “We’ve been doing it for five years and we’ve made four series that we love” Horgan commented, “we made exactly what we wanted to make, for better or for worse, and we wouldn’t want to have to struggle to come up with storylines. We’ve said what we want to say about young kids in families. I think if we were going to reboot it – they are rebooted all these series in America now where they come back and nobody wants to see those ones. So we figure if we stop now, people will want us back when we are older”. Delaney added.
Horgan and Delaney have given us some brilliant, witty writing which we’ve all related to in one form or another over the past four years. We’re hoping this dysfunctional family, gets, maybe not a fairytale ending, but one that smoothes a path to bring them back in the not too distant future
Catastrophe S4 premieres on Channel 4 from Tuesday the 8th of January at 10pm.