Rob Delaney stars alongside Irish-English actress Sharon Horgan in the very (very) funny “Catastrophe,” whose second season streaming debut drops on Amazon Prime this Friday. The two star as characters that share their names (Rob of Boston, Sharon of London) and in the first 6-episode season, hook up, get pregnant and fall in love — in that order.
The show’s second season, which already aired across the pond on Channel 4, picks up post-first baby for the couple. We chat with Delaney about the concept of soulmates, the season time jump and what it’s like having Carrie Fisher play your totally awful mother.
We pick up a few years later with Rob and Sharon in season two —what made you do a time jump? And what did we miss?
The gap is just under three years. We thought of the second season as a sequel rather than a continuation. Now we see the stressors of having a marriage that’s been in progress for a few years and kids. We got to the know them and saw how they romanced each other in the first season, so now we wanted to put their feet to the fire.
What I like about the time jump is that it’s up to you — you pick up some clues and some outright statements of fact about what happens in that time. Like they survived and endured and stayed in love, got pregnant again, but nobody got a degree in neuroscience or started an artisanal candle company or anything. Rob got fatter. They got older. Sharon still dresses cool.
And with the time jump, we get to see them as parents. Did your own experiences as parents inspire any of the storylines?
A little bit, but I think in real life I interact with my kids more than we do on the show. But the show is not for kids and it’s not about parenting and we didn’t want to dwell on the hijinks with the kids. I’m not extremely consumed with the fun stuff that they do, but I do know how to tell the stories of what parents go through with them.
This season Sharon is going through a pretty rough time — going through postpartum depression, the loneliness of being a stay-at-home mom, her father’s dementia— and Rob appears to be very supportive. What do you think makes him a strong partner?
I don’t even know if that’s true. He loves her and he does the best that he can. He loves the kids that they made together even though they didn’t plan for her to get pregnant but you can tell that he’s glad that she did. I believe that both characters wouldn’t go back and undo what happened even though it’s not easy, even if they’re not fundamentally happy with the basic facts of it. If he’s the supportive guy, it’s because he’s loves the life they’ve made together.
Did knowing that the season would be available all at once for binge watching in the U.S. make you think differently about the way it would unfold?
The first season was really well-received and we were happy and grateful so we wanted to make sure we didn’t skimp on season two in any way. We didn’t want to relax and really work to make it as good as possible. We didn’t go easy on ourselves for the season two.
Your average American audience certainly absorbs [each season] faster than British audience, because I think most people who watch it in the U.K. watch it when it airs live on TV. We wanted to create something that can be consumed both episodically and all at once. We’re aware of that and I think it’s cool to have to make it work both ways.
And we get to see more of Carrie Fisher as your terrible mother this season.
Isn’t she disgusting and wonderful? I love her so much. [Working with her] is like better than winning the lottery. It’s such a dream come true.
What made you make her so vile?
We thought, wouldn’t it be awful if a super important person in his life is pretty terrible? And that’s just us imagineering a silly nightmare scenario. I’m fortunate to not have anyone in my life like that, but it’s fun to think about it.
Do you think Rob and Sharon are soulmates?
I don’t know what that word means, but I think they’ve chosen to be. They might have been bed mates and then they decided to make it something more. Ithink that that’s romantic though. I think it’s cool when people make a conscious choice to do the work, but soulmates? No I guess I don’t, but only because Idon’t know that I don’t believe in that word.
“Catastrophe” season two debuts on Amazon Prime on April 8.