‘If a normal courtship is a dance, then ours is like a heart attack or seizure or something’
Hemingway once suggested that when suffering with writer’s block, all you have to do is to write one true sentence and the rest would follow. I’ve never really had trouble with the writing itself, but I have been suffering from a lack of motivation recently. The combination of reaching the business end of my English Literature degree, combined with personal tragedy, has made writing pithy comments about TV shows feel a little redundant. So, this is me writing the one true sentence I can think of – I love Catastrophe.
Rob Delaney was once most famous for being the funniest man on Twitter. A title that evokes a number of unpleasant connotations but is also accurate. Sharon Horgan is a comedy writer and actress formerly known for her charming creation Pulling. Together, Horgan and Delaney have forged a dramedy that beautifully captures the essence of how a burgeoning relationship settles into itself. They have created a show that deals with loss and grief. Most of all, they have created a comedy vehicle that enables Delaney to get his arse out on national television. And that’s the real quiz.
The characters Rob and Sharon evolve from a one night stand into a loving family unit, taking in alcoholism, gender politics and parenthood. Catastrophe works as the perfect antidote to those couples on social media who are always crowing about their flawless relationships. Utter nonsense. A relationship takes hard work. It takes compromise. It takes concealing small bottles of booze in various hiding places around your house. Everyone does that right?
On a serious note, it is difficult to create characters that feel so lived in and so real, and yet Delaney and Horgan have done just that and made it seem simple. All human life is here. Catastrophe runs the gamut of emotion but still finds time to laugh at the hideous preposterousness of it all. And if that isn’t enough to make you watch it, Catastrophe also features one of the final acting performances from the people’s princess – Carrie Fisher.
We are all floating down the endless stream of great TV right now, but Catastrophe feels that little bit more special. I can’t recommend it highly enough.