The Washington Post Sunday - - SUMMER TV PREVIEW -

Twit­ter users may al­ready be fans of co­me­dian Rob De­laney’s strange mix of the nasty and the gen­tle­manly, which is part of the ap­peal of this en­dear­ingly rib­ald six-episode dram­edy im­port from Bri­tish TV.

De­laney plays Rob, a 38-year-old Bos­ton advertising ex­ec­u­tive vis­it­ing Lon­don on busi­ness; he meets a 41-year-old Ir­ish school­teacher named Sharon (SharonHor­gan) in a crowded bar and they go back to his ho­tel, where a one-night stand winds up last­ing sev­eral en­er­getic days. A month later, Sharon calls Rob with sur­pris­ing news: She’s preg­nant. Rob im­me­di­ately re­turns to Lon­don to sup­port her de­ci­sion to keep the baby and ac­com­pany her to a se­ries of ghastly ob­ste­tri­cian ap­point­ments that raise the specter of a pre-can­cer­ous cervix and in­creased like­li­hood of birth de­fects in a “geri­atric preg­nancy.”

As odd as this com­par­i­son may sound, “Catas­tro­phe” briefly re­minded me of those long-ago Taster’s Choice com­mer­cials from the early 1990s about the neigh­bors who fall in love over a cup of cof­fee — only with about 1,000 per­cent more vagina jokes. It’s easy to root for a pos­i­tive out­come, even though Sharon’s ego­ma­niac friends and ar­gu­men­ta­tive fam­ily ex­hibit plenty of odd be­hav­iors that should scare Rob away for good — yet he’s some­how un­fazed and still smit­ten. (Rob’s fam­ily is no joy, ei­ther; Car­rie Fisher plays his Deb­bie Downer mother, try­ing to thwart ro­mance in a se­ries of transat­lantic phone calls.)

De­laney and Hor­gan, who cre­ated and wrote “Catas­tro­phe,” are a good match— both as per­form­ers and as char­ac­ters. Their ca­sual ap­proach to im­pend­ing par­ent­hood is a no­table change of pace from the pre­dictabil­ity of rom-coms, which place an im­pos­si­ble pre­mium on happy end­ings. This cou­ple’s mu­tual hon­esty about sex and the body at age 40-ish makes you re­al­ize how few shows are about char­ac­ters in this de­mo­graphic. “Catas­tro­phe” is go­ing for laughs, but it also has some­thing to say about peo­ple who’ve lived long enough to know that sat­is­fac­tion doesn’t come with a per­fectly tied bow on it.

Grade: B+


In “Catas­tro­phe,” a rib­ald love story for peo­ple who are too old to meet cute, Rob De­laney and Sharon Hor­gan star as a cou­ple whose one-night stand leads to more.

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