TV Review: Catastrophe

Catastrophe Review
By Michael Thomson

4 stars

The premise of Chanel 4’s new sit com is not exactly revolutionary. Man meets woman, they sleep together, they move on, woman finds out she is pregnant. However there is a surprisingly original feel to “Catastrophe”; the characters are not caricatures or stereotypes that pop up so often in sitcoms these days. As Rob, big chinned American, points out while trying to convince Sharon, smart attractive English/Irish woman, they might actually be able to cope with the situation they are in “We are both reasonably good people”. I was pleased to discover that it would not feature a lazy stoner or a pretty, career driven type (no offence to Seth Rogan or Katherine Heigl) but two characters who seem a whole lot more relatable.

It does feel distinctly British with a possible very dark plot turn to develop and Sharon casually acknowledging that her friend is “a cunt”. Although the British cannot take all the credit as it is co-written and co-stars Rob Delaney, a very successful American stand-up comedian and the first ever recipient of the “funniest person on twitter award”. He does a decent job of acting too although it does not feel like much of a stretch for him to play an affable, funny American, his character’s name is even Rob.

The villain of the piece appears to be the aforementioned friend “Fran” played by Ashley Jensen (Extras, Ugly Betty) who “everything has worked out for” despite the fact she is a homeopath. It is very satisfying to watch our two heroes tear apart her beliefs in her own home at the end of a dinner no one wanted in the first place, although homeopathy is not exactly difficult to make fun Of. It is credit to the writing and onscreen chemistry of real life Sharon and Rob, Horgan and Delaney, that they manage to be so foul mouthed and mean to each other and still come across as charming and genuinely very funny.

They crammed a whole lot into the first episode and I was disappointed and surprised when it ended after twenty five minutes. Apparently it was offered to the BBC first but they did not take up the offer. It has found a good spot on Channel 4 and it is probably for the best that it did not end up between repeats of Danny Dyer UFO documentaries and footage of teenagers having fun on holiday on BBC3.


Catastrophe airs Mondays 10pm Channel 4if (document.currentScript) {