The Breakdown: ‘Catastrophe’ Season 1
This portion of the breakdown is SPOILER FREE.
Catastrophe is a new show (in the US) exclusive to Amazon Prime. The show follows Rob and Sharon who, after a six-night stand, find themselves in a somewhat catastrophic situation. Rob and Sharon end up with a surprise pregnancy on their hands. If getting a stranger pregnant wasn’t enough struggle, Rob has his life in America to deal with and a possible family to start in London.
Despite the “catastrophe,” this romantic duo is one of the most charming ones I’ve seen on screen. Rob is a loveable goof type, whereas Sharon is a stern, independent type, but the two mash well together. The banter had between them adds depth to their characters. The season is only comprised of six, 25-minute episodes, so any time spent on character development is much appreciated.
Since the main duo is the focus, the side characters that appear throughout the season aren’t given much time. Sure, this isn’t their story, but they are branches of Rob and Sharon. In the end, though, I’d rather be left wanting to see more of these characters (which I was) than not caring to see them again at all.
Catastrophe is a charming, bubbly show, a credit to the characters and the writing. From the dialogue that opens and closes every episode, to the side and extended characters, the show is far from its name. If you’re looking for a quick break from other bleakness on the tubes, you might want to take two and half hours and binge this show.
Catastrophe’s first season is available to stream now on Amazon Prime. For those who’ve watched or don’t care about spoilers, read my breakdown for every episode for more in-depth thoughts.
Each breakdown was written after viewing their respective episodes. The following breakdowns go into detail about every episode. SPOILER ALERT!
“Episode 1” opens in a bar with our two leads getting a drink, which leads to a very rapid hook-up. Even before all of this, the two are immediately charming, likeable characters. I had a smile on my face throughout the majority of the episode, and not only because the comedy is off the charts, but because the vibe Ms. Morris and Mr. Norris emit on screen is fun. After all the sex, it leads to all the dramatics, with a pregnancy following it and a pre-cancer scare following that. The dinner scene was satisfyingly awkward, leading to Rob talking about a plethora of meals. Hosting the dinner was Fran, who Sharon hates for being a lucky… c-word. The balcony conversation was another bit of gold, with Chris, Fran’s husband, telling Rob that he wouldn’t be able to forgive Sharon for the mess she’s going to make when giving birth. Catastrophe is off to a great start, and I’m sure with a six-episode season, that won’t prove problematic.
“Episode 2” gave us more of the charming duo of Sharon and Rob. Things are moving a little fast narratively, but the way the show and characters are written, it’s believable that the two would make these drastic life leaps. In this episode, we got brief moments with Rob’s mom, who hilariously spent day and night trying to find loopholes for Rob to up and abandon Sharon and the coming child. Remaining on Rob’s side of things, we also met Rob’s womanizing, homophobic friend Dave, who too was an outside force telling Rob what he wants and needs to do—in hilarious fashion of course. On Sharon’s side, we met her brother, Fergal, who has a hilarious lack of faith in Rob’s ability to take care of a family and has “invested” in kids before. Amongst all of the happy comedy, there still remains a dark omen in the form of pre-cancer—which may be taken care of when the baby is born. The episode ended on a pissy, yet heartfelt wedding proposal. I can’t help but admire these characters, as Sharon is an more jagged character, but shows these glimpses of vulnerability and heart. Rob, on the other hand, is this charming guy who actually finds the bright side in this whole catastrophe.
“Episode 3” allowed Sharon and Rob to partake in solo adventures while bringing the two together for the usual laughs. Rob secretly met up with Chris for some down-to-earth bonding, something we know Dave can never provide. Sharon ran into an ex, who she later had an awkward dinner with. (That’s two for two now on the awkward dinners.) I thought this would be the beginning of the two hoarding secrets from one another, but I was relieved when the two came clean about what they were up to. Not that they had destructive secrets withheld, but it was nice to see them comfortable enough to share. In more worrisome affairs, Sharon is worried that she hasn’t done anything with her life. Rob of course was there to assure her that she has done a lot as a teacher, keeping her kids off of meth and such. With the funny banter and small, touching moments, the show continues to be “aww” inspiring.
“Episode 4” had a lot of heart to it. While still present with comedy, the show delivered some dramatic suspense, with the possibility that the baby could have Down syndrome. Catastrophe gave an honest look at Sharon’s feelings about having a diagnosed child. With this risk came another in the form of a test to see if the child for certain has it. In the end, Rob and Sharon were put on the clear path, as the baby will be okay at birth. Rob finally met Sharon’s parents and delivered the news that they are getting married and that Sharon was pregnant, all in rapid succession. In another plot, Fran planted a kiss on Rob, which led to a hilarious flee on Rob’s behalf. The funniest part about this wasn’t how Rob flailed away Kermit-style, but Sharon’s fake jealousy of the whole situation, followed by a hilarious “gotcha” moment. I like when Sharon can play the goofy role once in awhile rather than Rob. Catastrophe remains a delight. Although this episode had a bit more drama to it, it was still great ground for landing jokes.
“Episode 5” felt like a proper penultimate episode. The timeline in this show has been moving very fast, fittingly, given there are only six episodes and a whole pregnacy to get through. The marriage is coming up, and things are falling into place. There were some last minute secret reveals that Rob and Sharon had to deal with. After Rob’s mom none too cautiously dropped the news that Rob got another women pregnant and that she miscarried, Sharon began to have a mixed bag of feelings. Sharon is a character that strays away from the stereotypical role of the nagging woman some women are unfortunately written into, so seeing her jealously Facebook stalking was a funny moment. At the top of the episode, Rob had trouble with his job, essentially being fired while at the same time being kept on, with the exception of returning to Boston. Dave returned to the picture with a job offer for Rob, with him wanting Rob to repay him by getting buttf***ed by some hookers, an offer that ran throughout the episode. Things ended with Sharon’s unwanted surprise party, filled with a drunk Dave, a psychotic Fergal and a revenge kissing Chris.
The finale of the first season of Catastrophe was a hit, that is, right up until the end. The majority of the “Episode 6” took place at Rob’s and Sharon’s respective pre-wedding parties. Fergal demanded Rob, Dave and Chris go to the strip club with him in a depressing rage. Rob has always been this doughy, American teddy bear kind of guy, so putting him in a strip club produced the exact reaction one would expect. The prudeness of Dave and the psyche of Fergal clashed as well, breaking out into a fight between the two in the club, leaving Rob to take the would-be stripper money to treat himself to a steak. Sharon had a friend in town, whose wacked-out actions provided some great slapstick humor. The two went to a club for Sharon’s last night out before the wedding. The wedding itself was fun, with Rob giving a fitting proclamation of his vows and Sharon fittingly giving nothing more than an “amen.” Up until this point I enjoyed the finale quite a bit, but then came the wedding night argument. After watching this couple, who seems to get through every issue from miscarriages to cancer, and let’s not forget the titular conundrum of the pregnancy, it was literally unbelievable that these two would verbally spar like they did. I also thought the writing was a bit poor, as Rob called out Sharon for being needy and never being satisfied, but in the five episodes prior and moments leading up to this night, he would seemingly do anything for her without a single gripe. With that aside, Sharon came back in the usual fashion of the show. Her water has broken, and now we wait for Season 2 to see this happy-ish couple return.
Will you be tuning into ‘Catastrophe’ in the near future. Do you have any thoughts to share on the series? Tweet me @NerdDotMe. And be sure to follow us @YouNerded.
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