Catastrophe Stars Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney Say Goodbye to Their Beloved Show

The writer–executive producer stars of the critically acclaimed series tell Rotten Tomatoes about how they knew it was time to end their series, the pressure of three seasons Certified Fresh at 100%, and paying tribute to their friend Carrie Fisher.

by | March 15, 2019 | Comments

(Photo by Amazon)

Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney are aware that people love Catastrophe. Nearly every single critic around the world who has reviewed their series has liked it, in fact, earning each of the Amazon Prime Video comedy’s first three seasons, all of which are Certified Fresh, a perfect 100% score on the Tomatometer.

Season 4 is Certified Fresh at 96 percent. (One critic said that “something had curdled” during season 3 and gave season 4 a Rotten review. Delaney’s response: “That’s why we can’t make the show anymore: because of him.”) All six half-hour episodes of the new  season premiered on Friday, March 15. And while the duo didn’t announce too far ahead of its premiere that it was their show’s final season, they knew as they were writing it that they wanted to bring it to an end.

“It is a privilege to be able to leave the show in the way that you want to leave it and to hopefully end on a high,” Horgan said about her “mixed emotions” over the series’ completion.

Below, the duo discuss finding closure, why their show is better than Shakespeare, and the best parts of their beloved Catastrophe.

Jean Bentley for Rotten Tomatoes: The first three seasons of Catastrophe are Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes at 100%.

Rob Delaney: They are? Yes, we did know that. Yeah.

Sharon Horgan: Yeah, we do know that. We’re wondering how we get our fourth one back … Like, how do we build it back up [to 100%]?

I don’t know, but listen, it looks like it’s about to be Certified Fresh very shortly. [Update: Season 4 is now Certified Fresh.]

Delaney: Oh, wonderful.

Horgan: Yeah.

That is a major feat to have all four seasons Certified Fresh and with such high scores. I hope that you all feel pretty good about that.

Delaney: Oh, God, we love it.

Horgan: We brag about it a lot actually.

You should, definitely. Did you feel pressure to kind of live up to that reputation when you were writing this final season?

Horgan: Yes.

Delaney: Always.

Horgan: Each one has felt like that, though. I mean, maybe a bit more so on this one because it’s the last one, but we’ve felt it on all of them.

Delaney: Yeah, I mean, you just can’t rest on your laurels…You just have to always be putting your best foot forward and understanding that you’re getting the privilege to make TV, and you had better make it good because there’s plenty of other stuff on for people to watch.

Horgan: Yeah.

Delaney: That might not have three 100-rated season Tomatoes, Tomato-mobiles — you know what I’m saying.

“Tomato-mobiles” — new name. We’ll rename Catastrophe’s Tomatometer scores just for you. So going into this season, did you know that it was the end, and how did you decide that it was the end, and how did you come to that decision?

Horgan: We knew it was the end before we started writing it. So yeah, there was that, that sort of helped inform us a little about what route we wanted to take and obviously figuring out what that last episode was. But what were the other questions?

Catastrophe season 4 - Sharon Horgan, Rob Delaney (Amazon Prime Video)

Just how you knew it was time to end.

Delaney: Well, I mean, Sharon is funnier and smarter than me, so I won’t speak for her, but I will say that I had exhausted everything I had to say about a marriage in its early years and raising young children. Those are very important topics that are very close to both of our hearts because those are our real lives. We didn’t want to profane it by faking it and doing crap episodes and seasons just for the money. We said what we wanted to say, So say it and get out, is sort of how I feel.

Horgan: It’s a weird thing because it’s like there’s mixed emotions about it, but it is a privilege to be able to leave the show in the way that you want to leave it and to hopefully end on a high. I mean, it’s true. We could have sort of taken the show into sort of multiple-episodes, multiple-season territory, but then it becomes about commerce, doesn’t it? And it’s not necessarily about that thing that you sort of lovingly crafted. So yes.

Delaney: I mean, you look at shows like The Wire, The Sopranos, Parks and Rec, Frasier. I say those names, and you just groan because they just collapsed after — and people just were like, “What is this?” And we didn’t want to be like those shows. I’m kidding! But we said what we wanted to say with our show.

Horgan: Oh, God, yeah, of course. I mean, there’s a million shows that do it great and do it long, but it’s just the two of us who write this, so it’s just harder.

SPOILER ALERT: For those who haven’t watched every episode of the final season of Catastrophe, the following may include spoilers.

Catastrophe season 4 - Sharon Horgan, Rob Delaney (Amazon Prime Video)

There’s something to be said for being able to kind of give closure. I was very impressed at how much closure there was in your six short episodes. Was that an important factor to you as well; just being able to tie up enough loose ends that it felt satisfying?

Delaney: We didn’t necessarily want to think in terms of story closure, but like feelings closure, I guess.

Horgan: Yeah.

Delaney: We wanted you to really know that they were in love. We wanted you to really know that they were committed to each other come hell or high water, no pun intended. So that was the important thing, because really did Sharon and Rob have closure? I’d say they kind of have the opposite. But more important than that, you know the way that they approach problems. You know the sort of tools that they have to bring to bear on certain things, which I think is more important. So you don’t know what’s going to happen with them, but you know that they’re going to do it together, and that’s kind of what we wanted to say, you know.

The finale ended with this obviously huge loss, but also this kind of new beginning, so it’s definitely very bittersweet and still hopeful about life, their life together. I don’t know if you have any thoughts on that.

Delaney: You know what I’m just realizing is, as a rule, Shakespeare comedies end with a marriage and the promise of new life, and then the tragedies end with a death. But ours ended with both, so basically Shakespeare can f— off.

Horgan: It’s also really interesting that I would say maybe every second interview we’ve done today has had a different interpretation of — or takeaway may be the word, of that last — of that final episode and especially the final scene. A bunch of people find it very hopeful and up, and then a whole other bunch of people just find it —

Delaney: The dread?

Horgan: Yeah, yeah.

Delaney: Foreboding?

Horgan: Foreboding, that was it.

Catastrophe season 4 - Sharon Horgan, Rob Delaney (Amazon Prime Video)

That clearly says a lot more about the viewer, yes?

Delaney: I know. Yeah.

Horgan: Yeah.

Delaney: Well, you know the old comedy rule: “Leave them with a sense of foreboding.”

This article is now going to be rules of writing from you guys, subtitled “F— Off, Shakespeare.” The finale was also a lovely tribute to Carrie Fisher, and I want to know the importance of getting something like that in these final episodes as well.

Horgan: It was really important. It was probably one of the things we spent the most time thinking about and talking about and trying to figure out how we were going to do it in a way that was satisfying story-wise and for the character and for the show, but also in a way that felt like the best possible tribute and sort of loving good-bye to our friend. So yeah, it took a while to figure out, but I hope that people who are fans of the show, but equally fans of Carrie Fisher, feel like we did the best job we could. We said goodbye to her in a way that, I think, you sort of feel her presence a little bit in the eulogy and how she’s talked about and remembered.

Yes, absolutely. Looking back on this show, is there anything that you’re most proud of or just a funny moment that still tickles you when you think about it?

Delaney: I mean, for me, “most proud of” is kind of the whole scope of the show in that I do feel like it is a real testament to love in a relationship. The story of Sharon and Rob in the beginning and in the end is a love story, and the fact that they weather all these challenges together; to me, that we said and expressed our sort of one-sentence pitch for the show really makes me happy.

Horgan: Mm-hmm. The thing that I was just lying here and thinking about it, the thing that just made me laugh right now, is thinking of the scene in season 3, where an old man tells Rob he’s going to kick a cupcake up his pussy. [Delaney laughs.] That is genuinely, I think, one of my funniest — there’s so many funny moments, and Mark constantly makes me laugh, but when it’s the two of us together, I feel happiest, you know?

Delaney: Mm-hmm.

Horgan: And the two of us just trying to win an old man around and failing. That definitely is just one of my favorite scenes ever. [To Delaney, who is laughing] “Why are you looking at me?”

Delaney: Oh, I’m happy.

Horgan: No, no, when he said —

Delaney: Oh, he said that. Yeah. You’re quoting my favorite show again. [Both laugh.]

Horgan: So, sorry.

Catastrophe season 4 - Sharon Horgan, Rob Delaney (Amazon Prime Video)

I love that you’re still making each other laugh. I feel like that’s the best sign of a good creative partnership. So now what’s next for both of you? Is there anything in the pipeline? Do you have thoughts to collaborate again in the future?

Horgan: Yeah, hopefully at some point. We had a lovely fun time writing together, and he also makes me write better, so that’s a good, nice thing. Pipeline stuff? Yeah, there’s a bunch of things going on.

Delaney: We’re acting in other people’s stuff.

Horgan: I sort of am developing some stuff, and some shows have come out that some other clever people made instead of me.

Delaney: I’m doing stand-up around the UK, and I thought today that I should also come back to America and do stand-up. So I’m constantly doing that as well, in clubs and theaters around the UK.

It’s rare when people get to kind of bring something to its natural conclusion in this industry, and I feel like you can really feel it when you watch it, that you did have that time to do that, and that’s really nice.

Horgan: Thank you.

Delaney: Yeah, we are lucky for that. And you know what? If you wouldn’t mind maybe opening up the server or whatever and checking out — seeing why we don’t have a 100 for the fourth season. It’s probably some sort of mistake.

Horgan: Yeah, that would be great.

Delaney: We would be grateful.

Catastrophe season 4 - Rob Delaney, Sharon Horgan (Amazon Prime Video)

Well, actually you can take it up with John Boland from the Irish Independent.

Horgan: That f—er. Who is he? John Boland.

Delaney: Yeah.

Horgan: From the Irish Independent.

Delaney: I’m staking a claim. Yeah, well, he showed us. That’s why we can’t make the show anymore because of him. The f—er.

Thank you so much, guys.

Horgan: I’m just going to read all of John Boland’s reviews now and see what kind of a writer he is.

Delaney: Maybe I’ll review him.

Horgan: Yeah!

Catastrophe season 4 is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

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