The night before she suffered the heart attack that would kill her, Carrie Fisher had dinner with Sharon Horgan, the creator and co-star of Amazon’s Catastrophe. Horgan later recalled to the Associated Press, “She had been at the antique market earlier that day and she was showing me all these lovely little bits and pieces that she bought for her mom to bring back.”
That small anecdote gains a little more resonance in light of the final episode of Catastrophe’s third season, in which Fisher gave one of the final performances of her storied life. Her character Mia is a homebody and kook who, throughout Catastrophe, occasionally shows up to torment her son, Rob, and his wife, Sharon. For this episode, she leaves the U.S. for the U.K. to attend Sharon’s father’s funeral. Among the quirks we’re reminded of is that Mia, who wears colorful and bejeweled plastic-frame glasses, has a jones for shopping. At the funeral she, impolitely, wonders if her son can take her shopping for “nice Irish wool sweaters.” Later, she stays up to the wee hours ordering antique tea kettles on eBay.
Catastrophe is a comedy that draws, to an unusually explicit extent, from the lives of the people who write and star in the show. Mia, in some ways, must have reflected Fisher as well. “Carrie was the only cast member Sharon and I would let improvise,” co-creator Rob Delaney wrote in a posthumous tribute to Fisher. “We’re a bit despotic and inflexible with our dialogue because we’re insane, but Carrie was more insane and would always, always make it funnier and better.”