It’s an odd name, doesn’t really tell me anything about the show, but the premise is simple. An American in London has a one-night (actually two or three night) stand with a British woman. A few months later she calls him up and tells him she is pregnant. He goes back to London to try to do the right thing. Naturally they face a lot of challenges, but by the end of the first season they are still together when her water breaks after they have a huge argument. Then a time gap until Season Two … and what’s this? Looks like she’s still pregnant. Then their young son walks in on their lovemaking. So, a bit of time has gone by, and she now delivers a second child, a girl.
A show like this lives or dies on the appeal of the characters, and the lines they get to deliver, and in both categories Catastrophe shines. One big factor, I think, is that they are writing scenes and lines for themselves. Who better to know what an actor is good at, is comfortable doing and being, than the actors themselves? It’s really an ideal situation … if the writing is good. And here the leads really shine. Both of them are writer-producer-actors. Sharon Horgan plays Sharon Morris, who had aspirations beyond teaching in a primary school. Rob Delaney is Rob Norris, who has bad misgivings about his new job. These are both nice people but with an edge to them. They are smart and witty, and mostly love each other. The dialogue sparkles, very smart and verbal. They can’t stay angry with each other for very long, and are often forced to present a united front against the quirky friends and family that a sit-com like this needs. We are partly into the second season and we intend to take it to the limit, which is 22 episodes so far. Be warned: It can be a bit raunchy, with much talk about willies, farting, taking a dump during childbirth and other uncomfortable topics. But it all worked for me. I like these two young moderns, and I often don’t. Give it a try.