Amazon's Catastrophe is anything but.
The British series, which premiered overseas in January and has already been renewed for a second season, launched stateside on Amazon two weeks ago, and you are doing yourself a disservice if you haven't checked it out yet. Created and written by stars Sharon Horgan, an Irish actress who's starred on British hits Pulling and Free Agents, and comedian Rob Delaney, the series is an absolute gem. The two play Sharon, an Irish schoolteacher, and Rob, a Bostonian ad man, who spend six days having hot, passionate sex while he's in London on business and use about two condoms in the process. Sharon ends up pregnant and Rob decides to uproot his life and move across the pond to see where this goes. The set-up is simple, but that's where its brilliance begins.
Here are six reasons why you need to start watching Catastrophe.
1. It's short
No, like really short. Instead of spending your whole weekend binge-watching (not that there's anything wrong with that), you just need one afternoon or evening to watch all six episodes, which are just 25 minutes each, of the first season. And the best part about it being such a small time commitment is that each episode, especially the finale, leaves you wanting so much more.
2. Horgan and Delaney's chemistry
Clearly there was a sexual attraction that led to these two screwing all day for a week, but it's their back-and-forth banter and palpable chemistry that makes you forget they're actors. Instead, you start to wonder if these two are just a real couple you can't help but love watching.
3.It subverts rom-com tropes
As with any great love, the beauty of Catastrophe is that you don't see its awesomeness coming. You think you know what's next, but it constantly surprises you because it takes every rom-com trope and willfully, gleefully turns it on its head. It's not afraid to get somewhere with little or no interference. Will they, won't they? They did. There's no barrage of unnecessary obstacles keeping Rob and Sharon apart — Rob moves across the pond within the first 10 minutes of the pilot — nor is there any Three's Company-like misunderstanding that leads to some stupid fight that lasts a whole episode. When — minor spoiler alert — Sharon's friend Fran (Ashley Jensen) kisses Rob, instead of a massive blowup between the two and Rob begging Sharon to see that it meant nothing, they move past it quickly with a nice send-up. Everything you hate about rom-coms is what you'll love about Catastrophe.
4. They act like real people
Life isn't a fairy tale, especially when you get knocked up by a guy you barely know, and Rob and Sharon in no way shy away from the messy, confusing, awkward, depressing and surprising aspects of it all. As much as Sharon can be witty and sweet, she can also be a moody bitch. Rob can be charming and funny, but also an idiot. Neither, however, veers into an annoying sitcom caricature where you can't understand either of their actions. What makes the series so relatable is that for once we actually see ourselves in the pair.
5. The writing is aces
Delaney and Horgan co-wrote all the episodes, giving the show a consistent voice. And that voice is a breath of fresh air. Besides being predictably hilarious, Catastrophe is sharp, smart, amazingly filthy, and Rob and Sharon's tête-à-tête is delightfully, charmingly crabby. The show is a unique balance of aww-worthy warmth and dark, melancholic un-sentimentality that Delaney and Horgan have managed to master by always remembering the fun, sexy good moments and never short-changing the very genuine, valid fears, doubts and anxiety these two people have about this unfamiliar adventure in their 40s. And just when you think it's getting too serious, they throw in a perfectly delivered one-liner for good measure.
6. We covet the clothes
Delaney was joking (we think) when he tweeted this:
Excited to see @SharonHorgan become a global fashion icon once America comes to grips with her Catastrophe wardrobe.— rob delaney (@robdelaney) June 19, 2015
But we are totally into Horgan's attire. Like Rob and Sharon's relationship, she goes all in on it. It's two parts comfort with a dash of thrift store, a pinch of business and everything British. She's bringing overalls back, for God's sake.
All six episodes of Catastrophe are on Amazon now.