Back for a third season, Catastrophe continues to be one of the funniest and most incisive portraits of a marriage on television. Or streaming services — the new season commences Friday on Amazon Prime. The show stars Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan as Rob and Sharon — he’s American, she’s Irish — a married couple with kids, living in London. Each season contains only six half-hour episodes, which means you can hoover them up like a bag of potato chips if you have a spare evening or two.
The new season picks up where the second season left off: with the aftermath of what may or may not have been Sharon’s one-night stand with a cute musician while she and Rob had temporarily broken up. We also get a glimpse of what Rob’s state of mind is after last season’s startling drug overdose by his pal Dave (Daniel Lapaine), which overlapped with alcoholic Rob’s boozy “slip.”
Doesn’t sound like a laugh riot, does it? And yet it is. Rob and Sharon chat, joke, bicker, and verbally brawl with both precise wit and bawdy bluntness. The show manages to portray marital sex as fun, sexy, and frustrating. This season, it’s not giving too much away to say that Rob is grappling with being unemployed and whether anyone wants, as one character describes Rob, “a jolly white American man,” in their workplace.
As always, Delaney and Hogan — who also wrote all the episodes — keep the reactions in any situation grounded in reality while festooning any plot point with garlands of thorny jokes. The new stuff about Rob’s job search, from his culture-clashing job interviews to his depressed overeating, is terrific. (I choose to think that Delaney’s slightly doughy look this season is a prime example of Method acting in [in-]action.)
For a comedy, Catastrophe has an awful lot to say about a bunch of serious topics, including marital infidelity, sobriety versus intemperance, child-rearing techniques, financial difficulties, and the ways sexual desire can differ between men and women.
None of the four episodes sent to critics for review contains an appearance by Carrie Fisher, who will return as Rob’s raucous mother this season, in what was one of the last performances she gave before her death. I really want to see her onscreen again.
Catastrophe Season 3 begins streaming Friday on Amazon Prime.
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