There are some shows that somehow sneak under the radar for a few weeks before the skill and quality of the series force it to bubble up to the pop culture surface. Before you know it, everyone is talking about the show in every outlet possible. Amazon Prime’s Catastrophe is one of those shows.
Originally airing in the UK earlier this year, Catastrophe stars Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan (both of whom co-wrote the series) as, effectively enough, Rob and Sharon, a couple who ended up pregnant after an extended one-night stand. Rather than give up the child or go their separate ways, Rob and Sharon decide to act like adults and work through their situation. Along the way, they fall in love and, for various reasons not the first of which is love, decide to get married.
This is a standard romantic comedy setup, and it in some ways resembles the Judd Apatow film Knocked Up. But the resemblances are only surface deep. Catastrophe excels because it’s a romantic comedy for people who don’t really like romantic comedies. It follows all the patterns: wacky hook ups and crazy sidekicks overlayed with his/her perspectives on romance. Hell, it even has Carrie Fisher (When Harry Met Sally) as Rob’s mother.
But what sets this apart is the realistic and frank dialogue created by Delaney and Horgan who, no doubt, drilled into their personal experiences for this sense of reality. The show is at once incredibly sweet and completely filthy – much to its credit. Case in point, Rob eventually buys a ring and attempts to propose to Sharon only to have her knock the ring out of his hand into the urine stream of a nearby woman. They carry forward with the proposal, and she puts on the ring (“It’s just a little bit of piss.”). Coupled with the experiences is the remarkable chemistry between the two leads. Their free and easy style go a long way to making us believe they would embark on this journey together without knowing a great deal about each other.
The supporting cast is excellent with Mark Bonnar standing out as the eccentric and unique Chris, husband of Sharon’s frienenemy Fran. He’s an odd and sometimes off-putting comic presence who is also blessed with the fantastic line, “You see a little troll come tobogganing out of your wife’s snatch on a wave of turds and part of you will hold her responsible.”
It doesn’t get any better than that, and romantic comedies don’t get much better than Catastrophe.
Catastrophe is available streaming on Amazon Prime. Season Two will debut in the UK on Channel 4 later in the year.