Title: Catastrophe, Seasons 1-3
Fix: Laughing Forever, Horny Older First-Time Parents, Indignities of Parenthood and Aging, Excellent Accents
Platforms: Amazon Prime Video
Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan write and star in this R-rated comedy about a one-week stand between a Boston ad exec and a London schoolteacher that leads to an accidental pregnancy. When Rob moves to the UK to help figure things out, cultures clash and hormones flare as these two realize they don't know the first thing about each other.
What could be better than a torrid, no-strings-attached fling with a visiting foreign man? Well, not getting knocked up would be a good start. On the other hand, neither of them are getting any younger, and maybe this baby—and their relationship—are meant to be.
Despite the setup, which could be horrifying, or just horrifyingly sappy, Catastrophe’s brand of sly, honest humor stands out. If this one has somehow flown past your radar, get thee to your nearest streaming device! (Just remember to use headphones at work and around actual children.)
The first season is all about Sharon and Rob getting to know each other under these absurd circumstances, the second is about dealing with being new parents, and the third is…extra dark. (Still funny, but it feels like being flattened with a Steamroller of Dark Hilarity.)
Sharon Horgan as Sharon Morris
Rob Delaney as Rob Norris
Carrie Fisher as Mia Norris
This is Carrie Fisher’s last acting role (she’s at her best here as a nightmare mother-in-law), and superfans might note that her dog Gary also appears.
Tobias Menzies as Dr. Harries
After watching him as Frank and the extremely sadistic Black Jack Randall in Outlander, you might wonder if Menzies has a capacity for humor. He does! And I only had nightmares about him being my evil doctor once!
Couch-Sharing Capability: High
I’ve got to give credit where credit is due. The first time I saw this show was with fellow FYA writer Amanda K., during FYA Does Vegas. I went straight home the next day and told my husband “Amanda showed me a TV show we’re actually going to agree on,” and two years later, now we fight about him binge-watching new seasons without me. If your parents aren’t prudish, they’ll probably love it, too. (Be warned: Rob and Sharon find the humor in everything, including alcoholism, children, sex, in-laws, siblings, cancer, aging, drugs, jobs, cheating, nationality, and mental illness. It can get dark, but it’s almost always at the expense of themselves, not the subject matter.)
It’s also a show where a woman pushing 40 is frank about whether she thinks the reality of children will fit into her life, instead of the other way around. She’s allowed to have agency and a sharp-tongued personality during motherhood. Sharon makes massive mistakes, but she’s never portrayed as a villain. Occasionally selfish, yes (Rob, too), but still a good parent. In a world where parenthood (especially motherhood) is placed on a pedestal and every Facebook pregnancy announcement gets a slew of “har dee har har you’ll never get to sleep for 18 years” comments (I’m sure every new parent thinks this is as funny as you do), it’s nice to hear two adults talking about the realities of that commitment. Even during the funniest or hardest moments, Rob and Sharon have enviable chemistry and affection.
Also, did I mention that it’s just plain funny?
Recommended Level of Inebriation: Medium
The dialogue in this show is rapid-fire, so don’t drink so much that you can’t follow. Sharon loves her booze, though (much like we do here at FYA), so while it’s unnecessary, it would be a shame to abstain completely.
Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Mandatory
Within a single episode, this show became one of my all-time favorites. Three seasons later, it remains solidly at the top. If you haven’t seen it yet, whip out that Prime subscription (or find a friend to let you come over and use theirs), and prepare to start preaching the gospel of Catastrophe to everyone you know.