In Depth

Catastrophe: reviews of an 'enjoyably rude' new sitcom

Critics cheer 'filthy and very funny' rom-com Catastrophe, which features two singles facing parenthood after a fling

Catastrophe

Catastrophe, a new sitcom on Channel 4 has received a thumbs-up from UK critics. The romantic comedy, written by and starring Sharon Horgan (Pulling, Dead Boss) and US stand-up Rob Delaney (Burning Love), deals with whirlwind flings, unplanned pregnancy and prospective parenthood.

"Praise be," says Julia Raeside in The Guardian. "After scores of British sitcoms based around the nonspecific, warm, fuzzy feeling generated by people being kind at each other, a half hour of narrative comedy that bursts with jokes."

Raeside said the show "whipped me up into such a frenzy" with "nimble dialogue and a surprisingly high gag-rate".

"They have come up with something rare", agrees Alex Hardy in The Times. "A good-hearted comedy, which still manages to be raw and rude." There's much to admire, adds Hardy, "with dialogue as brutally honest as the sex scenes, and deep questions offset with daftness".

Barney Harsent on the Arts Desk joins the chorus of approval, calling the show "often filthy, very funny, and occasionally dark". Harsent says "the fact that the characters are so well-drawn from the outset is important" but there are also "a carefully crafted set-piece stuffed full of laughs" and a good supporting cast.

Ellen E Jones in The Independent is more cautious, describing the first episode as "enjoyably rude". But Jones wonders "whether Catastrophe will be the sort of show that helps ease thirty-something adolescents into a much-deferred maturity, or scares them off it entirely".

Will it be a hit? The Daily Telegraph's Benji Wilson admits he's going to dodge the question. "It's always hard to judge a comedy on a single 25-minute outing, given that most of the sitcoms now acknowledged as masterworks were at one time or another derided as duds by sneering critics."

Wilson says he was wary at first, but won over by a scene where the new couple bond over a common enemy – a smug homeopath. Which goes to show, says Wilson "it's not the rude stuff, it's the carefully packaged sentiment that actually makes comedy work – more of that and Catastrophe may just be averted".

Episode one is now available on the Channel 4 website. 

Recommended

Is the BBC biased?
BBC
In Depth

Is the BBC biased?

Preacher says alien impersonated husband and tried to have sex with her
Sharon Gilbert
Tall Tales

Preacher says alien impersonated husband and tried to have sex with her

The Beatles: Get Back – does new documentary live up to the hype?
The Beatles performing
In Review

The Beatles: Get Back – does new documentary live up to the hype?

The most iconic Christmas adverts of all time
John Lewis Christmas ad 2018 Elton John
In Depth

The most iconic Christmas adverts of all time

Popular articles

Woman diagnosed with ‘climate change’
Humber Bay Arch Bridge in Toronto
Stranger than fiction

Woman diagnosed with ‘climate change’

Vladimir Putin and his mysterious love life
Vladimir Putin and his now ex-wife Lyudmila Putina
Profile

Vladimir Putin and his mysterious love life

Trump ‘upset his son won’t say he loves him’
Donald and Barron Trump
Tall Tales

Trump ‘upset his son won’t say he loves him’

The Week Footer Banner