Somehow, last year Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney—the creators and stars of Catastrophe—pushed out two solid seasons of this charming, filthy comedy. Well, they did in the UK, anyway. But all six episodes of the second season are now coming finally, officially, legally stateside on April 8th, courtesy of Amazon Prime. I’ve seen them all and I’m going to respectfully assume you have not, so here’s a review of season two with only the faintest hint of spoilers.
The first season of Catastrophe appeared to end on a cliffhanger with Sharon’s water breaking sooner than expected. But Delaney and Horgan have no particular desire to draw out the drama of childbirth or to make a show about the struggles of having a newborn. That could very well shift the focus away from Rob and Sharon’s relationship and this show is, as it was last season, far more interested in how the couple weathers the compounding trials ever-threatening to break them apart.
Season two therefore picks up after a sizable time-jump. Rob and Sharon have moved from her flat into a proper house, their first kid is already two years old, and they’ve got an altogether new baby with a terribly Gaelic name (Muireann) that Rob can’t pronounce.
Though Rob and Sharon are certainly at the center, a very interesting aspect of this season is how it branches out and away from them a bit, giving plotlines to the other members of the ensemble cast. We see both sides of Chris (Mark Bonnar) and Fran (Ashley Jensen)’s crumbling marriage, as Fran reenters the dating world and Chris explores his sexuality. Chris is a charming oddball, played brilliantly by Bonnar and very probably my favorite character on the show, so it’s a real treat to see Catastrophe spend more time with him.
More surprising are the layers added to the character of Rob’s friend Dave (Daniel Lapaine) who previously came off like little more than a loud, drugged-up, womanizing thorn in Rob’s side. However, we now see the depths of his drug addiction as well as his attempts to better himself scrutinized with sincerity.
Though Catastrophe is still a very funny show, season two, more than the first, seems happy to serve up scenes of pure drama and it does it well, to boot. It is, at times, genuinely intense and, just like a good drama, some episodes employ effective cliffhangers, leaving you eager to see how things will resolve (or dissolve).
This all works as the natural evolution of the core element that defined Catastrophe’s debut series: honesty. This continues to be a show that doesn’t shy away from life’s darker, nastier elements. Affairs, drug addiction, alcoholism, sexuality and the many ways people explore it—these are all subjects this show presents unflinchingly. But on a more general level, Catastrophe refreshingly acknowledges how nobody really ever has their shit together regardless of the stage of their lives they’re in. Furthermore, it presents the stark truth that, at times, you can’t help but just plain hate the people you’re supposed to love.
Catastrophe season 2 continues to bring the drama and comedy of an accidental couple trying to keep it together as everyone and everything around them comes undone. It’s a funny, unique, and bold look at life. If you enjoyed season one, season two will definitely not disappoint.
All of Catastrophe season 2 premieres on Amazon Prime on Friday, April 8th.