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TV Series Review

Fairy-tale romcoms quit just when things get interesting.

"Happily ever after?" Really? More like, "Happily every other day or so, assuming the laundry's done and the kids aren't throwing up." Or, "Happily mostly, except when my spouse is being a jerk." Or even, "Come over here and tell me who threw these crayons in the microwave, and then I'll tell you what I think about your 'happily ever after.'"

I doubt even Prince Charming was charming all the time.

Amazon's Catastrophe tries to chronicle what a marriage relationship really looks like—or, at least, what it looks like if the couple in question constantly discusses sex, infidelity, masturbation and flatulence. Oh, and uses the f-word once or twice in most sentences.

So … does that mean that this anti-romantic comedy is looking for a "problematically ever after" ending?

Do You Take This Program, in Rudeness and in Filth …

Admittedly, Sharon and Rob's relationship didn't begin under ideal circumstances. They didn't even live on the same continent before they hooked up for a weekend of nonstop sex. Rob's already back in Boston when Irish schoolteacher Sharon calls him from London to tell him she's pregnant.

The trajectory of their lives changes dramatically, naturally. Rob moves to London. They get hitched, promising to love each other for better or worse—all of which all sounds nicely, surprisingly and refreshingly old fashioned.

And it is. Up to a point.

But the devil is in the details, as they say. And if that's true, there's plenty of pointy tails and pitchforks to be found here.

Honesty on Television: Not Always the Best Policy

Three years later, Rob and Sharon are still married. They have another kid. Both parents are devoted to their children and still love each other—or, at least, mostly. And that's gratifying to see.

But if every relationship has its share of bumps, this one looks like a Jeep trail up K2. And the couple has a penchant for going off-road themselves.

Take Sharon's near-infidelity that bridges Seasons 2 and 3, for instance. Sharon gets drunk in a bar and, when she sobers up, worries that she slept with someone else. So she buys and takes a morning-after pill, the receipt to which Rob finds and …

Well, you get the idea.

As real as Rob and Sharon's relationship feels at times—the issues at hand are depicted with raw honesty—it doesn't mitigate the many problems we see here. There's a reason why couples tend to deal with these sorts of issues behind closed doors, either in their own bedroom or in a counselor's office. And frankly, even when their relationship is clicking, they should probably shut the door and close the blinds—not welcome millions of viewers into their boudoir.

We see sex, sometimes lots of it. Rob and Sharon talk frankly and graphically about everything surrounding that intimate act, from issues such masturbation and pornography to, of course, sex itself. They drink, sometimes to massive excess. Sharon smokes. And both swear about as much as characters from a Tarantino movie.

And keep in mind that Rob and Sharon are relatively responsible, at least compared to some of their other friends.

I appreciate, on some level, what Catastrophe is trying to do. A relationship, it says, doesn't need to be "happily ever after" to be fulfilling and rewarding and, sometimes, even happy. But in trying to provide an antidote to the false promises of the romcom, the cure proves to be worse than the disease.

Catastrophe? Yeah, that's just about right.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Catastrophe: Apr. 22, 2017 "Episode 1"

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Genre

Comedy

Author

Cast

Sharon Horgan as Sharon Morris; Rob Delaney as Rob Norris; Mark Bonnar as Chris; Jonathan Forbes as Fergal; Daniel Lapaine as Dave; Ashley Jensen as Fran; Seeta Indrani as Harita; Marta Barrio as Mallandra; Frances Tomelty as Carol; Sarah Niles as Melissa; Gary Lilburn as Des

Director

Distributor

Network

Amazon

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

Released

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Paul Asay

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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