“Look at you – you’re shouting at your family with a massive BONER!” If a line summed up a show, this one epitomises ‘Catastrophe’. Sex, babies, strife. And above all, real life.
Now it’s back for a fourth and final season, and we can’t wait to find out if Rob and Sharon are still together – and whether she ever picked up that pizza...
For those who’ve never seen Channel 4′s corker of a comedy (and don’t even know what the ‘catastrophe’ of the title is), you have a catch-up treat in store. Find out more below as we celebrate the best relationship realness served up by our favourite dysfunctional duo to date – but beware of spoilers.
1. There’s Someone Out There For Everyone.
Neither Sharon nor Rob are perfect but they’re all the better suited for it. She is, according to Rob, an “extraordinarily good-smelling woman”, but also unreasonable and childish (and knows it). Meanwhile, Rob’s an ad man with past addiction issues and a forehead to make James Van Der Beek jealous.
But he’s kind to waiters. And taxi drivers. And Sharon. “And the good news is that we’re reasonably good people so we could probably do this and not fuck the kid up too horribly,” he tells her. The catastrophe? An unplanned pregnancy. Spoiler alert: they keep it.
2. You Can’t Fake Sexual Chemistry.
Rob’s phone doesn’t lie – Sharon will always be “Sharon (London Sex)” in his contacts, while he’ll forever be the “Sturdy Lovemaker” she labels him after their first shagathon. Who can argue with the Norris / Morris chemistry? Four series in and we still can’t work out which of them we’d rather jump.
3. You Can Dress Well And Still Be A Total Mess.
If there’s one thing we fancy more than Rob and Sharon fancy each other, it’s Sharon’s wardrobe. This, the woman who persuaded us all to wear mustard-everything. Who completely rocks a T-shirt and pants look. Who makes the world’s shaggiest coat collection look chic. Is her life any better for it? Of course not. Do we want to know where she gets all her ankle boots? Totally.
4. Double Dates Are Always A Bad Idea.
Whether it’s the mega awkward dinner party round their “friends” Chris and Fran’s place or Rob’s failed attempt to propose to Sharon in a fancy city bar, after bumping into his cokehead pal and trophy girlfriend in tow, ‘Catastrophe’ teaches us that 2 x 2 never makes for a party.
5. Childbirth Ain’t Pretty.
“You know they shit when they give birth?” Chris warns Rob before Baby Norris arrives. “You see a little troll come tobogganing out of your wife’s snatch on a wave of turds and a part of you will hold her responsible.” Which is all the more evocative in a Scottish accent.
As for Sharon’s hot take mid-labour: “Push it back in and cut it out!”
6. Parenting Needn’t Be Perfect.
7. Don’t Expect Your Own Parents To Approve Of Your Choices.
Even / especially when they’re played by the late, great Carrie Fisher.
8. Don’t Hold Out For Your Siblings Either.
Remember when Sharon’s dad gets dementia and her younger, loaded brother Fergal dumps all the responsibility on her, even when she specifically tells him she can’t cope because she’s parenting two young kids? Yeah, that bit.
(Yes, they have a second baby. Spoiler number two.)
9. Frenemies Sometimes Come Good.
Fran is the friend we all love to hate to love. “She seems nice,” says Rob on first meeting. “She’s a c**t,” Sharon snaps back. Ultimately, though, Sharon starts to feel better about Fran’s on-the-surface totally enviable life when it (and Fran) start to unravel. And we all need that in our lives.
10. Life’s Milestones Aren’t Necessarily Good Craic.
The piss-stained engagement ring. The wedding. Their anniversary. Sharon’s 40th. Disasters all of them. When you think of Rob and Sharon’s best bits, they’re mostly sitting on the sofa. Or, let’s be honest, getting into bed to do something that definitely involves bare bottoms.
11. Being An Adult Sucks.
“Are you realising how shit life is being an adult with responsibilities?” Sharon reflects. “All your dreams just ... [hand waft] ...” Whether it’s pre-cancer, cancer, alcoholic relapses or losing your cushty job because your sexy French colleague seduced you, real life blows. As for co-habitation? “You let me put my penis in your mouth but you won’t let me put my T-shirts in your drawer?” That’s right, Rob. Women are nothing if not consistent.
12. But It’s Worth Celebrating Your Victories.
Whatever else they are, Sharon and Rob are a team. Fucked up, but a team.
13. Arguments Are Best Solved With Jokes. Or Sex. Or Jokes During Sex.
Count the ‘Catastrophe’ conversations that end up with Rob and Sharon calling each other out for being massive tools. There’s nothing funnier than watching an argument escalate to complete nonsense and these two delight in it – accelerating from crossness to barely-contained laughter to shagging as quickly as you can type: email@example.com**t.
14. Kindness Counts For A Lot.
Behind Sharon’s fuck off-ness and vanity, she allows Rob to see her fragility. And while he can be a bit of a shit (and certainly likes taking one), he is also a very kind person. Kindness is a massively underrated part of attractiveness.
15. Romance Is Never (Quite) Dead.
No one woos quite like Rob Norris: “Let’s go to dinner Friday night. We can go to a nice restaurant, and then go have sex in a park. Does that sound nice?” As for Sharon telling Rob she’ll never leave him, before requesting a quick fingering in the passenger seat? All we can say is: yes, queen!
16. One Night Stands Are Totally Worth It.
Okay, so we’re not sure this one will ever get taught in sex ed. However, if a quickie landed us a dream house in East London, two real human babies (even one with an unpronounceable name) and someone we still wanted to have sex with – despite all of the above – we’d call that winning.
‘Catastrophe’ Season 4 starts on Channel 4 at 10pm on Tuesday 8 January.