Catastrophe is a new six-part sitcom from Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney.
Sharon and Rob play… Sharon and Rob, and have a one-night stand after a chance meeting in a bar. It’s all very casual and he’s due to go back to the US in a few days, so the odds are that they won’t see each other again. However, before long, after this brief fling where they got it on 25 times and he only wore protection twice, she became pregnant. And that’s the catastrophe.
Yes, the potential birth of a new life the source for this comedy.
The show came about following another chance meeting – when the two leads got together via Twitter. They put the characters’ names as Sharon and Rob in the original script, and then were going to change them for the finished programme, but they’ve stayed the same because Channel 4 preferred to keep them as they were.
In the first episode, Sharon entertained the idea of going ahead with the pregnancy, yet attracted Rob’s disgust when he replied, “How old *are* you??”
Later, she was revealed by a doctor to have cervical dysplasia – a pre-cancer, which isn’t cancer… but is *next door* to cancer, and so needs to be checked so it doesn’t become cancer. That said, it still didn’t stop her having a cigarette soon after.
She also bumped into an old friend – who she’d clearly rather not bump into, played by Ashley Jensen (The Office, Ugly Betty), who invited them both round for dinner. After a brief exchange, Rob said expectantly, “She seems nice”, to which she replied, directly, “She’s a c**t”.
I wouldn’t normally shy away from using that word, but in the case of this comedy, it seemed a little unnecessary and simply thrown in for shock value. Hey, I guess that’s Channel 4 being “Born Risky”(!)
The dinner party was a relatively sparse affair with the three of them plus her husband, played by Mark Bonnar (Psychoville, Line of Duty), one of the humourous references being in relation to an old woman who “is in a wheelchair – the type you have to blow into to make it move”.
I’m not sure how it’ll play out. I really enjoyed Horgan’s series Dead Boss, Free Agents and Pulling, but not all of these go on for more than one series when they should really last longer, as they felt more consistent throughout each episode, whereas Catastrophe seemed like a random set of ideas which were thrown together and it sometimes works – where, if you miss one witty exchange then it’s not long before another one comes along.
One such exchange came from when Sharon asked Rob for his surname, and he said, “Norris”. She repeats this disdainfully, and then states it’s because her surname is Morris, following up with “Norris… Morris… well, that’s fucking ridiculous(!)”
Catastrophe certainly wasn’t a catastrophe, but it felt rather unsatisfying, following so many things Sharon Horgan has been in. I don’t know much of Rob Delaney’s output. Apparently, he’s the King of Twitter. Sounds like something that’s been forced on him by the media rather than, say, when Michael Jackson declared himself the King of Pop.
I’ll stick with the show and hope it improves, but based on the first episode, I think it’s going to be a series which is fun but forgettable.
One question – early on, why did Sharon take some things from Rob’s bathroom? Is that what women do after a one-night stand?
Catastrophe continues next Monday on Channel 4 at 10pm.
Check out the trailer below:
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.