TV, Catastrophe, C4


I feel as if I have been waiting most of my life for a comedy that reflected my romantic experiences as an adult. And then finally along comes Catastrophe starring and written by Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney, which feels so well-informed about my relationship with my partner and also my friends and nearest and dearest that I’m starting to think they’ve bugged my phone, hacked my computer and, at this very moment, are watching me through binoculars from the house over the road. 

Of course they are doing no such thing. And Catastrophe is barely about my life anyway. It’s more about the life I’d like to have. It's a romantic comedy with the shit bits kept in, but that’s what makes it so attractive. And also so funny.

In the second series Rob and Sharon are living together in London and raising a family and still having frantic sex between the furious disagreements and the leaky nipples. There are a few surprises which we won’t give away, but needless to say Carrie Fisher is still on the scene as Rob’s dotty mum and the same chums and relations are around.

There’s a sensitive subplot about Sharon’s dad having dementia, but in the first episode the emphasis is very much on Sharon and Rob coping with conventional post-baby life, which, despite their protests to the contrary they seem to do pretty well. I’ve never seen a mum cradle a glass of white wine and a baby at the same time with such panache.

The dialogue is both true to life and yet much wittier. Their romance is enviably sparky and their verbal jousting with each other and with others is brilliant. Rob has some kind of tedious but well-paid salaryman advertising job and there’s an office meeting scene in which he delivers a great joke about Coldplay and an even better follow-up. 

But the real action takes place at home. Despite Delaney’s penchant for crude comedy onstage the script actually steers clear of real gross-out gags apart from the occasional nappy quip. Even one animal-related incident which would be ripe for a Farrelly Bros-style gross-fest is knowingly underplayed. 

And that’s the best thing about Catastrophe. The tone is just right. Just sweet enough, just sour enough. People are nasty but people are also nice. In fact it’s just like real life. Except with sharper put-downs and superior jokes. 

Tuesdays from October 27, 10pm, C4.

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