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How Carrie Fisher Left ‘Catastrophe’ on the Perfect, Ad-Libbed Note, and the Future of Her Character

Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney discuss the beloved actress’ final posthumous appearance in the Amazon comedy’s third season.

Catastrophe Carrie Fisher Rob Delaney

Amazon

[Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers from Season 3 of “Catastrophe.”]

“It’s great TV.”

Those are Carrie Fisher’s final words on “Catastrophe,” in a posthumous appearance in the Season 3 finale, but she might as well have been speaking about herself. In an interview with IndieWire, co-creators, writers and stars Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan discussed that final scene and Fisher’s impact upon the series.

READ MORE: ‘Catastrophe’ Review: Season 3 Is the Perfect Show for Adults — Parents or Not

“I watched the final episode as it aired [in the U.K.],” Delaney said. “Even though she’s passed away, she’s so good that when you’re watching it, you’re just like, ‘This is funny and amazing. This person.’ So you sort of kind of ping-pong between being just wrapped up in somebody at the height of their powers, being amazing in a show, and then feeling sad and then poignant and, ‘She’s just so funny. Oh my god.’”

The beloved actress, who died suddenly of cardiac arrest in late 2016, was the one actor whom the creators allowed to ad-lib lines because of her uncanny comedic sense. In the final episode, Fisher followed the script for the majority of the episode — such as at the funeral and responding to Rob’s confession about drinking again — but her last scene was pure Fisher.

Carrie Fisher, "Catastrophe"

Carrie Fisher, “Catastrophe”

Amazon

While hanging out with her daughter-in-law Sharon (Horgan) at home, Mia flips through TV, looking for OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, and then stumbles upon what she claims is her favorite show, a reality series called “My Children Are Schizophrenic.” Mia waxes poetic about the premise — a couple who has not just one but two schizophrenic kids and how they cope — before adding the satisfied capper: “It’s great TV.” That entire rambling look into Mia’s TV-viewing habits and mind was entirely Fisher’s creation.

Horgan said, “When she’s just being annoying Mia in the house, we had written very, very little about her watching TV — just asking how she got to OWN — and then that’s what she just came up with off the top of her head. We knew as soon as we watched it back then, especially because she ended on, ‘It’s great TV.’ We wanted to honor her… so that people really saw what great things she was doing. It’s moving and it’s funny and it’s all those things. Finishing on her, ‘It’s great TV,’ felt like a nice little swan song.”

The series has already been renewed for a fourth season, but Horgan and Delaney haven’t quite figured out how to handle Mia’s character in the future. While she was a guest star on the show, her presence was always larger than life and had a positive influence on Rob in spite of her kooky ways.

“I think that’s another thing we haven’t talked about because it’s been a little bit hard to talk about,” Horgan said. “We want to honor her, we don’t want to use the story in a way that’s kind of mawkish. We want to find the right way to do it. I think that’s going to be another thing that takes a lot of conversation. We would’ve loved going on and continuing to work with her for a few years, but unfortunately it’s not so. You want to find the right sort of way to end her story.”

For now, “Catastrophe” ended its third season with an after-credits dedication to Fisher that included a photo of her and the words, “For Carrie.”

Carrie Fisher, "Catastrophe" dedication

All three seasons of “Catastrophe,” featuring Fisher in her final television role, are currently available to stream on Amazon.

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