Triumph from Catastrophe

Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan in Catastrophe
Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan in Catastrophe
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The dread silhouette of Christmas is looming large on the horizon, bringing with it the horrific prospect of a visit from the in-laws.

They’re parents, but not YOUR parents. Apparently allowed to criticise you with impunity, but exempt from criticism in return.

You know that any comeback from you will result in the frostiest of cold shoulders from your spouse, girlfriend/boyfriend or life partner.

That’s why you would never call your mother-in-law a “haemorrhoid” –that would cause divorce, or at the very least a grovelling apology.

Like in Catastrophe (Channel 4, Tuesdays, 10pm), where a family gathering to greet a new baby degenerates into name-calling, toilet humour and embarrassment all round.

The first episode of this second series catches up with Rob (Rob Delaney) and Sharon (Sharon Horgan), now proud possessors of a toddler and with another on the way.

I didn’t catch the first series last year, but heard a lot about it. I now regret not seeing it.

Yes, there’s a bit of Cold Feet-iness to it – Sharon and Rob have vague jobs which apparently allow them the money to buy a massive John Lewis house – but it’s sufficiently scatalogical to puncture the middle class smugness.

It’s also a pretty convincing portrait of a marriage under pressure – from kids, family, jobs, dead dogs.

They have massive, foul-mouthed arguments, they wait for the other one to clean up the kitchen, but they also apologise to each other and make compromises they don’t really want to make, all

to keep their partner happy.

Plus the dialogue is relentlessly funny – from conversations about their son’s privates to speculation on Elton John’s bedroom habits.

But this first episode also had some hints that the second series might take a trip to some darker places, as Sharon’s dad is found wandering confused in the street.

I get the impression, though, that the jokes will still keep coming.