Catastrophe, Episode 4

Catastrophe is a really hard show to review on a weekly basis because the things about it that are good are consistently good. This is one of the most realistic depictions of a relationship I’ve ever seen which has been complicated by this pregnancy, and I love it. This week, Rob meets Sharon’s parents, Fran finds out that Chris and Rob have been hanging out, Sharon gets terrible news from the doctor, and gets morning sickness in front of her class, who wonder if she’s drunk because she was drunk at the Christmas play last year. The world of this show is so specific and yet so familiar, and the episodes are structured so well that I’m a little sad I only have two episodes to go.

Rob and Sharon’s relationship is by no means traditional, but that’s why it feels so real – every relationship is different. They’re arguing about real things, like church and baptism and Sharon is still able to mess with Rob’s head. And in the end he sits down with her in the middle of the supermarket as both of them are relieved that their baby is going to be okay. One of the risks of having a baby later in life is that there’s a higher chance of your child having Down Syndrome, and this show manages to touch on the complexity of the issue without landing on either side. When we see Sharon wave to the little girl at the airport and tells her mother how beautiful she is, we know that Sharon would love her son even if he had Down Syndrome. And it is tough for parents who are raising grown up children, but what Sharon sees in that moment is a happy child, and that’s the only thing that matters.

One of the reasons that Rob and Sharon’s relationship feels real is that they genuinely like spending time together and messing with each others’ heads. Chris gets in trouble with Fran because she found all the receipts from his dinners with Rob and she thinks he’s having an affair. So Chris comes clean, and then Fran wants to meet Rob so they can clear the air. Fran kisses Rob at the end of their conversation, and he hilariously runs away and then falls over. Fran then goes to see Sharon to apologise, but she doesn’t know about the kiss, so when Rob gets home, Sharon does the ’emotional pregnant lady’ act, and he completely freaks out. When she smiles it’s so much funnier, because she knows that Fran is a horrible person – everyone was trying to run away from her last week – and that there’s no way Rob would willingly kiss someone so horrible.

Rob also meets Sharon’s parents, which was a slightly strange ordeal. They’re (or her dad) not exactly approving that Sharon is pregnant before getting married, but at least Rob was able to tell them that he went to Mass at St Mary’s. The high five when he told that to Sharon was sweet, as these people are doing everything backwards. That’s not what matters though. What matters is that they’re willing to try, with full knowledge that it’s going to be hard work, because they know it’ll be worth it.

Other thoughts:

  • Fran and Chris’ son Jeffrey is making his West End debut in a play with Alan Rickman. I really want to know how old this kid is supposed to be. He’s a very busy child actor, that’s for sure.
  • The best sequence in the episode was when they went for the amniocentesis, and they walk into the elevators talking about the doctor’s reputation, and when the elevator doors open, it’s after the procedure and they’re talking about how smug the doctor was. Also he smelled really good. It was good writing, and it was executed brilliantly.

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