Tired of the same old Boy-Meets-Girl stories? You’re in luck, because Amazon recently released its latest original series, Catastrophe. Created, written by, and starring Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney, Catastrophe is fundamentally a boy-meets-girl story, but with a few complications thrown in.
American advertising executive Rob Norris is in London for a brief business trip, and meets Irish schoolteacher Sharon Morris while at a bar. Rob and Sharon hit it off pretty well, and have lots and lots and lots of sex. They attempt to have a “real date” here or there, but it’s obvious that their chemistry is probably about 90% physical. Eventually Rob’s work in London is done, and he returns to the U.S. and gets back to business as usual. So how does Catastrophe set itself apart from other shows about modern romance? For starters, about a month after Rob gets home, he receives a phone call from “Sharon (London Sex),” who informs him that she’s pregnant. Oh – that’s not a spoiler; it’s the premise for the entire series.
Understandably, Sharon and Rob are pretty freaked out by the situation they find themselves in, and aren’t exactly sure how to handle it. Rob decides to pick up and move to London, if only so that they can figure out their next steps together. What follows is a really charming and funny series about two people trying to navigate an uncertain future.
No doubt many of you will know Delaney from his popular twitter account and his standup specials, and it’s nice to see him in this sort of role. His delivery is authentic, and he and Horgan deserve all sorts of praise for crafting dialogue that is real, funny, and at times, painful. One of my favorite moments: during an argument, Rob says, “Can you, for a second, accept the fact that I like you and want to be with you, you fucking idiot?” Man, who hasn’t been there before?
And Sharon! Sharon is delightful. I didn’t watch The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret enough to get a sense of Horgan then, but she really is the heart of Catastrophe. Although Rob has moved across an ocean to be with Sharon, this journey is still hers, and Horgan knocks it out of the park. When Sharon receives potentially bad news, Horgan’s reactions are so honest and devastating that you feel it. What’s more, she is wickedly funny. I haven’t laughed so hard at a TV show in a long time.
If you have an Amazon subscription, or a friend whose password you can steal, set aside an afternoon for Catastrophe. The first season contains only 6 episodes (30 minutes each), and you’ll blow right through them, and then you’ll be sad that you binge-watched them. Luckily, Catastrophe has already been renewed for a second season, hopefully with more than 6 episodes.