The funniest show about parenting makes a comeback
Take one dry, Don Draper-esque American, add a razor-sharp-witted Irishwoman, mix in a week long fling in a London hotel room and what do you get? An unplanned pregnancy and one of the funniest TV shows currently on our screens, now back for a second series.
In Catastrophe, writers Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan play, er, Rob and Sharon, a couple who enjoyed a week long rendezvous whilst Rob was on a business trip to London, resulting in a pregnancy – which happily evolves into a relationship and even a marriage. The great thing about this particular story is the way in which Rob and Sharon tell it; completely lacking in sentimentality, Catastrophe is an expletive-riddled laugh-a-minute, with both characters gobsmacked by their situation and reacting, as anyone would, with a mixture of shock and sarcastic humour.
The first series followed Rob and Sharon’s tricky navigation of all the obstacles thrown up by having a baby with someone you don’t really know; explaining the situation to her parents (#cringe), dealing with some seriously all-over-the-place pregnancy hormones and discovering each other’s awful friends.
It’s essential viewing for new parents or parents-to-be, especially because this is fairly uncharted territory in the world of adult comedy. Sharon explained why they took on the challenge of writing a show like this:
“Having sex with random people is fine at a certain point in your life. That’s no life as you get older, though. I think dating and marriage are even-stevens when it comes to comedy, but if you’re gonna write about children and marriage, you can’t write about it as people who have children and are married. It can’t be knowing and nude-nudge wink-wink. You have to make jokes for everyone; they have to see themselves in what you’re talking about. It’s less of a romantic view of a relationship this time around. There was a lot of reality in the first series, but series two is much more: ‘This is how it is.’ There’s a good chance people will watch it and see their own lives reflected back at them. I hope they feel we’re offering some kind of empathy or kinship and they get a couple of answers from it. Mainly we want people to laugh, but we want to move them a little bit as well.”
Rob – who has one of the funniest Twitter accounts we have seen; seriously, follow him immediately – has a typically wry attitude about the reaction the comedy duo were aiming for:
“The stakes are even higher for our characters this series. They were high in series one because our characters aren’t 20 years old – they had to have a kid then or not have one – but now it’s bananas because they’re parents; it’s a heavy-duty business. Churchill said that “democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried”, and that’s marriage. I could list 50 things that suck about marriage, but what else am I gonna do? With all the energy I don’t spend trying to get laid, I can write a show with my friend Sharon. Marriage can be a good way to structure your life. My hope is that hip young people, when they’re watching, will either think, “Never! F**king never!” or, “I wanna have five babies right now!” If you feel something in between, throw the TV out of the window and send me the bill.”
With a disclaimer like that, you’d be daft not to watch. The new series of Catastrophe airs on Channel 4, Tuesdays at 9pm.