Catastrophe: “The Sourpuss with Gnarly Toenails”

(Episode 1.06)

TV Reviews
Catastrophe: “The Sourpuss with Gnarly Toenails”

The whole first season of Catastrophe has been so unsettling and simultaneously fun, it didn’t even bother us all too much whether or not we’d get to see a wedding. Sharon and Rob are still in the process of getting to know each other and even though they feel good together, they’re also very different people. They’re both outspoken and tend to embellish in terms of language and imagery, but at least Rob isn’t insensitive; not purposely anyway. He’s just too nice of a guy. In a way, that’s his only flaw. And it works perfectly for their relationship; if not, there wouldn’t be one. But, as a viewer, the fact that he’s always putting up with and giving in to Sharon’s crap bugs me, especially given the short time span of their relationship. It just doesn’t seem realistic. I kept quietly urging him to grow a pair and speak up when Sharon decides to act like a stroppy cow. This episode made me think he may have actually picked up on my encouraging whispers.

When Rob arrives in London after sorting out his affairs on a trip back to the US, Sharon is overwhelmed by emotion when they greet each other. They admit to having missed each other, albeit not in an equal manner. On their way out of the airport Sharon lets him in on a change of plans—they are going to have a Best Man/Maid of Honor after all. Sharon, for one, has asked her old friend Katie from uni to do the honors. But Katie gets in a bit of a state with half an E and a cracked skull when they celebrate her first night in London. Rob is about to ask Sharon’s brother Fergal (rather brilliantly portrayed by Jonathan Forbes) to be his Best Man, but has his doubts after finding him in a bit of an aggressively weird funk. So much so, Rob actually worries he may have done something extremely bad. You know, like forcing his wife’s office-flirt into a tiny dress and dislocating his shoulder in the process. That kind of thing.

On their respective nights out on their own versions of bachelor/ette parties, everyone seems to be having more fun than the bride and groom themselves. Sharon is put off by creepy married men hitting on her at a bar, while Rob finds himself torn at a strip-club:

“You know, I want to like it. I mean it’s naked women—great—and dancing, which I also love, so it’s two great things together. But then you add a bunch of sweaty guys and, you know, you leering at them and it’s just kind of a bummer.”

While Chris rekindles with an old flame-turned-stripper and David continues to stuff hundreds and hundreds of quid down barely-existent knickers, Rob makes a run for it and treats himself to a whole different kind of meat: Steak. So their last night as free people didn’t go as planned—big woop. What’s important is they learned a much bigger lesson: they are both changing and happy to choose home over clubbing; steak over naked women.

Sharon arrives for the wedding in an interesting outfit and a pair of heels that would cause any self-respecting British mother (in-law) to faint with horror. But hey, at least she’s aware of it: “I look like a couch.” The actual wedding flies by without any major drama or disruptions—except for Fran’s excruciating song to the newlywed couple. The look on Chris’ face as his wife stumbles through the challenging notes of the song is priceless. Whilst his nostrils are flaring wildly, you can clearly detect something slowly dying in his eyes. Probably his pride. As Rob and Sharon walk out of the registration office, flower petals floating around them, Rob and the guests are the only ones smiling; Sharon looks like she’s had enough and is a bit bored by the whole thing by now. It’s not until they get into the cab and the corny music starts playing that she bursts out into a smile. But then the music stops and the moment is over—paralyzing doubt has set in once again. Classic Sharon.

They arrive at their hotel suite (the same suite in which they consummated their relationship (tired, but happy). Rob, ever the annoyingly caring and kind gentleman insists on rubbing Sharon’s swollen feet only to discover that they are claw-like:

“Your toenails are a hate crime.”

What follows is one of the most romantic moments we’ve had on Catastrophe so far. Granted, under any other circumstance Rob’s offer to clip Sharon’s toenails would have made me want to hurl—not because of her toenails, but because of his ready whippedness (Yes, I checked, this is actually a word now). But in this particular moment and with this particular vibe their relationship feels so incredibly real, unconditional and warm I couldn’t help but to look down at my own toenails and shed a little tear. We’ve never thrown this word around throughout the show, but clipping your wife’s toenails, that’s love right there.

But refusing to have sex with your pregnant wife, whilst holding her nail clippings in your palm? That’s a mistake.

Being turned down for sex on any given day is bound to make you feel vulnerable, but being turned down when you’re heavily pregnant has got to be a real stinger. Sharon immediately turns on and from him, trying to deal with her hurt feelings, admitting to not really wanting to see his face right now.

“I don’t want to look at yours either, because you’ve twisted it from its normal, beautiful state into a frowny little sourpuss, like you do every day.”

As you may well imagine this statement opens a whole new can of worms that sets off a heated argument so intense, it makes you wonder—could the next catastrophe possibly be a divorce? No. It’s Sharon’s water breaking. Early.

This show has been a mad roller-coaster ride of repeated calamities, exquisite dialogue and a great cast. This episode was everything I wanted from the show’s’ season finale. We finally got to see Rob genuinely speak his mind (good on you, mate!!!) and that first, real blow-up between them is exactly what was needed to round up the show in a catastrophically awesome manner. I honestly can’t wait to see how they are going to deal with a baby in Season Two!

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