Of the many wonderful things about Catastrophe, the Channel 4 sitcom’s greatest achievement is how realistically it portrays relationships well out of The Honeymoon Period. The clever depiction of a non-rom-com love makes us all feel better about our own un-glossy romances.
And tonight’s episode, in which Sharon and Rob take a child-free trip to Paris to rekindle their romance, might be the most accurate and comforting yet. It’s done us all a huge favour and dispelled the myth that mini-breaks are actually perfect romantic escapes from everyday mundanities.
The couple were determined to have a weekend of unbridled passion, champagne and not a hint of ordinary life — but that’s not quite what they got. “I already know I’m going to be more attracted to you in France,” Sharon informed Rob on the Eurostar. Before they both started snoring. Two days later, after a missing breast pump and a cracked rib, there had been very little serenity and no sex.
“Are you having a nice time?,” asked Sharon.
“Not really,” replied Rob.
“I don’t think we’re holiday people,” she concluded.
In glossy travel features and lifestyle columns, mini-breaks are hailed as the most romantic thing ever – a dreamy weekend of endless breakfasts in bed and constant sex followed by exquisite dinners where you stare at each other in wonderment over a bowl of seafood.
This never actually happens. Just like at home, you end up watching YouTube videos of ticklish slow lorises or fall asleep from too much wine, or end up with a dodgy stomach from those weird oysters you only ordered to appear sophisticated. Going away is a good idea — but expecting it to be perfect is a terrible one.
What Catastrophe showed us perfectly tonight was how romance happens when you’re not really thinking about it. “I think we’re good on a Tuesday, when it’s raining,” said Sharon, concluding that mini-breaks were not for them. “My favourite time was when we pretended my arms didn’t work and you washed my hair and put that weird outfit on me.”
So next time you’re planning a romantic trip to Paris to have The Most Passionate Weekend of Your Life, you might want to lower your expectations – and consult Catastrophe first, of course.