Your weekly Streaming Pick this week is Catastrophe, an Amazon Prime original series. This series didn’t grab me straight away. Something about the chemistry, and slightly heightened yet brutally honest approach to the relationship kept me coming back again and again. If it doesn’t grip you in the pilot give it a chance. Especially since the episode are short and fast paced.
Rob Norris (Rob Delaney) is an American businessman on a work trip in London. One night after work Rob is out unwinding and runs into Sharon Morris (Sharon Horgan). The two hit it off and end up having a one night stand. Having had such a good time they decide that the one night may as well continue for the week that Rob is in town. When the trip is over the two don’t have any illusions of a relationship. The next time they talk Sharon informs Rob that she’s pregnant and the baby is definitely his. He goes back to London to see her and the two try to figure things out from there.
I was looking for a new sitcom to watch. I like having one 22-30 minute easily digestible show in my rotation. Sharon Horgan was great in 2018’s Game Night, BoJack Horseman, and The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret. She plays a very real character in Catastrophe and the chemistry with her costar, Rob Delaney feels even more real. I was completely unfamiliar with Delaney’s work before this show but he does a great job playing the often joyful guy who can make a joke about anything to his flip side persona of a real asshole. There’s really no other way to put it.
The characters are all flawed in their own ways and the flaws can be played for laughs or for dramatics. The co-leads are flawless in their performances and the writer’s never push the envelope too far or have the characters act in an uncharacteristic way for the sake of plot.
The entirety of Catastrophe is currently streaming on Amazon Prime. Good news for you because it plays so well getting the full picture.
The side characters in Catastrophe are not quite as real as the leads. They are generally extreme versions of the co-leads individual personalities to show ‘what-ifs’ and to be played off of. The scenarios going on with the side characters are mini-stories of their own but with such a tight run time Catastrophe focuses on it’s stars. And it should. The side players aren’t so two dimensional they come across as lazy but the viewers are in it for Rob and Sharon.
Calling Catastrophe a sitcom is accurate but almost misleading. It isn’t a typical show where every problem is wrapped by the end of the episode and the canned laughter reminds you that things are funny. The show isn’t even funny in the laugh out loud sense. It’s more clever, jarring, or witty. You won’t be holding your gut doubling over but the cadence of the comedy points out the absurdity of relationships across every stage as we see years of this couples life together.
The first few episodes of Catastrophe didn’t grab me. I watched three and moved on to something else. Later that same day I popped it on again and ended up finishing the first season. I was in for the long haul but not sure if it was good enough or actually good. The first season ends on a massive cliffhanger. The way the cliffhanger resolves going into season two removes all doubt if you should continue watching or not. It’s an unexpected and exciting move that really takes the show up a few notches.