⋆⋆⋆ out of four stars

All episodes streaming on Amazon Prime Instant Video.


If beauty and the beast can fall head over paws in love, so can a pair of world-class cynics. So goes the premise of “Catastrophe,” a six-episode sitcom about an American ad executive (Rob Delaney) and an Irish schoolteacher (Sharon Horgan) who spend six sex-packed nights together in a cramped hotel, in large part because they can’t stand anyone else.

The couple appear content to chalk up the hormonally charged week in London as a pleasant memory — until Sharon informs him by phone that she’s pregnant, catastrophic news to a pair whose idea of long-range commitment is waiting in line for coffee. Going against his self-centered instincts, Rob quickly flies back to England to be by her side — sarcastic asides and all.

“A terrible thing has happened. Let’s make the best of it,” he says in his finest attempt at comfort.

She can be just as biting. When she suggests a morning walk, she means Rob should go off on his own, even if means hitting the movie theater during breakfast hours. The interplay may sound brutal, but Horgan and Delaney, who co-wrote all the scripts, are such lonely souls without each other, their barbs feel less like insults and more like lifelines.

They need each other — because nobody else will have them.

The show is not a fully formed series, keeping other characters and subplots at bay while focusing solely on the hilariously honest dialogue between the couple. That’s just fine, as long as you like your romance laced with cyanide. Those pining for the day Larry David and Amy Schumer fall into each other’s arms — here’s the next best thing.