Catastrophe just landed on Netflix - Here's five reasons why parents SHOULD watch it

We stan Sharon Horgan and her comic lens

Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney in a still from Catastrophe, now on Netflix
(Image credit: Future/Channel4)

It's messy, funny and totally relatable for parents - here's why you should watch Catastrophe on Netflix.

Audiences may know Sharon Horgan best for more recent hits Bad Sisters, Motherland and Dreamland, but it was 2015 hit Catastrophe that helped put the Irish actress and writer firmly on the map. Joined on screen by US comedian and co-writer Rob Delaney, the two play an unconventional couple who come together after a transatlantic fling ends in an unexpected pregnancy.

The series originally aired on Channel 4 and proved to be one of the broadcaster's biggest hits, garnering rare, rave reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and audience figures of 1.4 million per episode. It's new home on Netflix, gives the opportunity to gain a new fan following who'll undoubtedly be taken in by it's 'warts and all' humour and honesty.

Catastrophe - Five reasons to watch:

1. Dealing with life's 'unexpecteds'

Audiences first meet their protagonists in a hustling and bustling London bar. Rob offers to buy Sharon a drink, one thing leads to another and before you know it the two are back in Rob's hotel room getting better acquainted. The two meet again for dinner the next night and an arrangement shortly ensues. 

Simple, straight forward and perfunctory  - the plan is six days of casual sex in London, before Rob returns to Boston and Sharon remains in the capital. A fling with a finale date attached. What could possibly go wrong?

Of course this is where their story really starts, with Sharon phoning Rob 32 days later with a pregnancy announcement. Rob uproots his bachelor life and returns to London indefinitely, with both parties willing to give a relationship a go.

The unplanned pregnancy is the first of many 'hiccups' the couple encounter in the show's timeline. Work upheaval, extra-marital temptations and Rob's battle to stay sober are challenges the couple also have to overcome and it's done through an authentic and at times, darkly comic lens.

In an era of social media, striving for that picture-perfect harmonious family life online - and mentally berating ourselves when we fall short - it's nice to see an accurate reaction and representation of 'shit hitting the fan'. Arguments occur, fear gets in the way and time out is often needed. Horgan and Delaney are two flawed characters that make stupid choices and at times present as unlikeable - isn't that what being human is really all about?

2. The highs and lows of parenting

Screaming kids, sick kids, kids that walk in on you having sex, kids that hurt other people's kids at school - it's all covered in Catastrophe. The 'reality of kids' moments are plenty, but the show does dig deeper into the universal parenting experience too.

Season one is clever at introducing the audience to Rob and Sharon as individuals, before parenthood comes along and brings about change. Both continue to struggle with their new identity and in one poignant scene Rob tells Sharon how he's found it difficult to transition from being a single man living in Boston, to a married father living in London. It's a moment that'll make any parent feel seen.

Sharon meanwhile battles with the other "mom-bies" at her mothers' group, making fun of their holier-than-thou behaviour, whilst simultaneously berating herself for not feeling included. She befriends one group mum who seems to share her alternative mothering attitude, but is later embarrassed when said 'friend' labels her as "needy". 

It seems that Sharon can no longer deny that parenthood has changed her. "I hate myself", she mutters to herself, alone, whilst mindlessly scrolling on her phone and attending to her child.

Sharon Horgan pushing a stroller on Catastrophe

(Image credit: Channel 4)

It's these darker moments carefully intertwined with funnier events and conversations (one noteworthy one about their son's "little penis") which reflect the full parenting picture. Yes, raising kids is hard, physically and emotionally, but somehow you find your feet, and persevere through it - one laugh and wobble after the other. 

3. Romantic relationships post-children

Family, children and parenting are all key components of the show's success - but if you scrape that all back, you're left with the two reasons you started watching the show in the first place - Sharon and Rob.

Whilst Sharon and Rob are parents, it's their relationship that remains the core focus. The good and bad.

We see the couple's sexual activity inevitably decline after welcoming their children and it affects both parties. There's a romantic trip to Paris booked that doesn't quite go to plan and one or two external sexual opportunities presented which could rock their foundation. Their trust in each other gets tested and the passion dwindles - sound familiar?

When a well-meaning relative tells the couple to put parenthood before marriage, Sharon and Rob are quietly appalled. "Who doesn’t want to take care of their kids?" Rob tells his wife in a later scene. "You’d have to be a monster not to want to do that. 

"But this? Maintaining this," he says of their relationship, "this is the slog."

Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney walking and talking on the set of Catastrophe

(Image credit: Channel 4)

4. Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney

It's Catastrophe's leads that keep you coming back for more. Rob is likeable, hopeful and one of those striving to be-a-nice-guy type, that slips short on occasion. Sharon is defensive, takes no s*** and caring at heart. She's a 21st-century woman with expectations, seeking satisfaction through her professional, personal and sexual endeavours. And she doesn't feel the need to apologise for that.

Sure they sometimes make choices that make you want to punch a cushion or recoil out of cringiness, but on the whole they're incredibly likeable and relatable. They're real people who face real problems, and it's this that makes you believe in them and the show.

5. Parent-friendly episodes

We get it. Raising tiny humans leaves many time poor. Whilst you could commit to a 24-episodes-per-season, multiple series blockbuster show, it's going to take time (years) to get through.

Catastrophe has four seasons, six episodes in each, all averaging around 25 minutes in length. Horgan and Delaney clearly knew the drill when delivering Catastrophe: quick, bitesized chunks of light, reflection and laughter. And once you've finished season 4 - a longing for more.

Series 1-4 of Catastrophe are now available to stream on Netflix.

Video of the Week

Emily Stedman
Features Editor

Emily Stedman is the former Features Editor for GoodTo covering all things TV, entertainment, royal, lifestyle, health and wellbeing. Boasting an encyclopaedic knowledge on all things TV, celebrity and royals, career highlights include working at HELLO! Magazine and as a royal researcher to Diana biographer Andrew Morton on his book Meghan: A Hollywood Princess. In her spare time, Emily can be found eating her way around London, swimming at her local Lido or curled up on the sofa binging the next best Netflix show.