Catastrophe: S2 : Ep1
by Remoy Philip
The end of season 1 of Catastrophe left us at a cliffhanger. Typical. A normal trope even. But still we accepted it because if one thing Catastrophe was successful at it was making the typical funny because the characters were okay with being honest no matter how shitty or typical they were. And in the end you couldn’t help but root for them.
The whole of season 1 was expositional in bleeding us through the humor and the tragedy of two smart, terribly honest and terribly judgmental semi-adults dealing with their unexpected international pregnancy and their unexpected new lives together. Nine months was spread out over a brief but adventurous six episodes. A whole journey of coupling and figuring it out like an adult was uncomfortably but endearingly packaged into these six thirty minute episodes. And finally, we were left with Rob and Sharon’s first real-but not anywhere believable-fight at the end of episode six. The climax of that fight and the episode being that all too overused plot device of Sharon’s last words being ‘My water broke’ (and cut to Rob’s look of absolute ‘oh fuck’ despair).
Then we’re left to wait and wonder for a year what’s gonna happen next. Did Sharon’s water really break? Maybe it was just a false alarm? Oh this ride in a London Siren Lorry is going to be amazing!
Not even close.
Catastrophe season 2 makes an interesting and effective decision that fast forwards the story a few years. Initially in episode one, we’re unaware of that because we see Sharon still pregnant and her relationship with Rob still having that rocky but still survivable edge. But then the reveal. Yes Sharon is pregnant, but it’s not the same baby. This is baby number two. It’s a surprising and refreshing move. Surprising and refreshing enough that we suspend our disbelief and fast forward into the new present and buckle our seat belts as we ready ourselves for the new ride.
The rest of the episode Is predominantly set in one scene, an awkward party scene at Rob and Sharon’s home (emphasis on ‘their home’ not ‘her flat’). The party allows for the terrible mess of characters of the first season to come together and really riff off each other and their lack of moral hygiene. And we get to see that Rob and Sharon’s world really hasn’t changed even if it has. And that is reassuring as much as it isn’t.
Because in the end of this premiere episode, we’re still left with that haunting feeling of tragedy that yes everything is typical and playing out as it’s supposed to, but still the future has to happen. And the future could either play out one of two ways. Either everything works out and everyone more or less survives. Or there’s the other option. People display their all-too-familiar knack for causing catastrophes because no matter how typical the world is, and no matter how typical our situations are, we are all shitty and possibly that’s the one real thing worth laughing at.
Well Catastrophe, which one will it be.