a theatre, film & pop culture review
Who: Rob Delaney & Sharon Horgan; creators, writers & stars
What: “Rom-com” series
Where: Amazon Prime
When: First Season (6 eps) premiered in June 2015
Why Watch: The Funniest Person on Twitter, Rob Delaney, and the “Tina Fey of British TV,” Sharon Horgan (Pulling), met on Twitter and decided to collaborate on a series drawing from their individual experiences as spouses and parents. Catastrophe follows Irish teacher Sharon and Boston ad exec Rob as they have a drunken seven-night stand in London from which she becomes pregnant and he moves across the pond to “make it work.” The premise sounds like a British Knocked Up, but this series is smart – and way more realistic. No saccharine rom-com, Catastrophe is a brutally honest and incredibly funny depiction of a relationship’s ebbs and flows – more Richard Linklater than Judd Appatow.
The show portrays mature (read: adult, non-twenties) relationship that’s put through some very serious stuff, the best – and funniest – of which revolves around Sharon’s pregnancy. Any woman over the age of 30 will relate to the increasingly absurd insensitivity of 41-year-old Sharon’s doctors who off-handedly refer to her “geriatric pregnancy,” nonchalantly diagnose her with cervical dysplasia (“It’s a precancer. … It isn’t cancer. But it’s sort of… next door to cancer.”), and – whoopsies! – mess up her risk of having a child with Down Syndrome. It’s so funny because it’s both a horrifyingly accurate depiction of an extremely lacking bedside manner (which I can thoroughly relate to) and the increasingly dismissive attitude toward women as they age. This is solid-gold stuff, and Delaney and Horgan are wickedly funny and raw in their portrayals. There’s also hilarious commentary on adult friendships and relationships with parents. So, you know, if you’re not an “older” woman, you can relate too.