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5 Shows like Catastrophe: Instant Relationship Chaos

Roxanne_Sancto_itcher_contributorIf you can’t get enough of the catastrophic relationship between Rob (Delaney) and Sharon (Horgan), it’s probably because you get a kick out of watching chaos-infused relationships develop. Looking for more shows like ‘Catastrophe’? Try ‘Accidentally On Purpose’ and ‘Raising Hope’.
~ Roxanne Sancto

If normal courtship is a dance, then ours is like a heart attack or a seizure or something.

Sharon’s really not exaggerating here. What started out as a casual one-night stand, turned into three nights of steamy, hot passion and a baby-bump. Not exactly the type of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ story you’re going to want to share with the grandkids.

Fortunately for Rob and Sharon, they make it work – catastrophically so, but hey, that’s to be expected given the circumstances. We all want to date for a while, enjoy the romance for a while before getting ready to do the grown up thing. You know, get married and start a family. Things just don’t always turn out that way…

If you’re getting bored of TV couples with perfect relationships, we’ve got a few crazy, chaotic options for you. Check out more TV shows like ‘Catastrophe’ below!


Shows Similar to ‘Catastrophe’…

‘Accidentally On Purpose’ (CBS, 2009)

Billie (Jenna Elfman) is a San Francisco-based movie critic in her thirties. After a split with her boss/ex-boyfriend James (Grant Show), she realizes she’s ready for real commitment – marriage, babies, the whole shebang.

But instead, she has a one-night stand with the charming Zack (Jon Foster), who is barely in his twenties. Oh, well – everyone makes mistakes right? Right… but not everyone gets pregnant from a one-night stand.

‘Accidentally On Purpose’ follows Billie and Zack as they try to figure out their lives with a baby on the way. The age gap doesn’t come without complications; sometimes Billie feels like she’s already mothering a child: Zack!

Similarity Match: 90%
Both Sharon and Billie fall pregnant after what was meant to be a one-night stand. Series like ‘Catastrophe’ are a bit more crass and realistic, whereas ‘Accidentally On Purpose’ follows a laugh-track, sitcom format.

‘Raising Hope’ (Fox, 2010)

As far as one-night stands go, there are three possibilities: it could turn out to be the most exciting sex you’ve had in your entire life, it can end in a complete, drunken disaster, or, like in the case of Jimmy (Lucas Neff), you end up getting a serial killer pregnant. Yes, you heard right: a serial killer.

Jimmy didn’t know about Lucy’s background – he only found out about her murderous tendencies the day after their hook up. So when she calls seven months later to inform him he’s about to be a father, the poor guy doesn’t know what hit him.

But with the help of his eccentric parents, Virginia (Martha Plimpton) and Burt (Garret Dillahunt), he doesn’t do too bad a job at ‘Raising Hope’. In fact, it turns out, his baby girl is actually rather intelligent, but in combination with her violent tendencies, her smarts can be worrying at times.

Similarity Match: 85%
Jimmy has a lot of support from his family, whereas Sharon and Rob mainly wing the baby-raising on their own. However, both babies were the product of one-night stands.

‘Six Feet Under’ (HBO, 2001)

Nate Fisher (Peter Krause) is a real chick-magnet. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not one of those typical sweet-talking macho men who milk their good looks and charms just to get a woman into bed and break her heart the next day. On the contrary, this guy is down-to-earth, loyal and honest.

And if ever there was proof of his being a stand-up guy, it’s when he gets his ex-girlfriend, Lisa (Lili Taylor), pregnant after a night of consolation sex. Although he’s not in love with her, he completely turns his life around in order to take care of Lisa and their daughter, Maya.

Lisa was not his first one-night stand to turn into a full-blown relationship. He met the love of his life, Brenda (Rachel Griffiths), on a plane, where they joined the mile-high club. Little did either of them know that Brenda would go on to join the Fisher club for a very long time.

Similarity Match: 65%
In terms of language and humour, ‘Six Feet Under’ is a series similar to ‘Catastrophe’. However, ‘Six Feet Under’ focuses on an entire family of characters, whereas ‘Catastrophe’ mainly concentrates on its protagonists.

‘Married’ (FX, 2014)

They may not always feel super-romantic about each other, but Lina (Judy Greer) and Russ (Nat Faxon), are a long-time ‘Married’ couple who always manage to make it work some way or another. This is probably due to the fact that they’ve always been best friends first and lovers second.

Lina and Russ met at college, where they were both following ambitious career paths. But as is often the case, their lives took a different turn once Lina fell pregnant. Dream careers were ditched in favour of security and a roof over their heads.

Series like ‘Catastrophe’ and ‘Married’, tend to focus on life and love’s harsh realities in a way that is humorous, depressing but at the same time, strangely uplifting. If you’re looking for an anti-romance TV show – this is it.

Similarity Match: 50%
If Lina hadn’t fallen pregnant at college, who knows? Things may have ended up differently for Russ and Lina, the same of which is true for Rob and Sharon. But both couples seem to find a healthy, yet slightly dysfunctional balance.


If You Like ‘Catastrophe’, You Will Like…

The biting humour in ‘Catastrophe’ is more than welcome in a world of happily, hunky dory sitcoms where the worst fight you’ll ever witness between couples is about who ate the last candy bar, or worse – hubby didn’t buy a Valentine’s Day gift… Oh, no! Yeah, sure – couples do tend to fight about stupid stuff and it’s funny watching TV personalities deal with these types of issues.

But sometimes, we just want something a little more real – conflicts and misunderstandings we can actually learn something from and relate to on a deeper level. Writers like Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney know this – that’s why series like ‘Catastrophe’ have become so popular. Let’s take a look at another show presenting profound relationship issues.

‘Transparent’ (Amazon Studios, 2014)

Josh Pfefferman (Jay Duplass) is a successful music producer with a stunning house, a big car and a loving family. But his life seems to be spinning out of control: his father Mort (Jeffrey Tambor) outs himself as a transsexual, who now goes by the name of Maura, and his distant girlfriend has an abortion without allowing him a say in it.

Looking for answers, he turns to Raquel (Kathryn Hahn), the family rabbi. When they discover their mutual feelings for one another, all seems to be headed in a positive direction. But when Josh finds out he has a son from a past affair, the news put his relationship with Raquel in jeopardy…

‘Transparent’ has an entirely different feel to ‘Catastrophe’ as it deals with topics such as gender identity and sexuality in a deep and profound manner. But both shows thrive on strong, authentic characters and situations.


Instant Relationships & Immediate Complications

Most of us engage in one-night stands because we want exactly that: just a one-night thing, no strings attached. But as it is, babies can be made in just one night – and when that happens, one night can quickly turn into forever.

So what does that teach us?

Keep practising safe sex and watching shows like ‘Catastrophe’!

My name is Roxanne Sancto and I’ll be writing all things music, book and movie related for itcher mag. I also write for New Heroes & Pioneers’ upcoming Festival and Culture magazines, to be launched in the spring of 2014. I am the co-author of The Pink Boots and am currently working on two new novels. I love music, literature, cinema, crafting, yoga and animals.
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