Catastrophe Review: “The Mombies”

(Episode 2.02)

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<i>Catastrophe</i> Review: &#8220;The Mombies&#8221;

Sharon is finding her current circumstances difficult. So much so, she has employed the mother’s little helper and a psychiatrist to aid her in filtering through her daily frustrations. It’s not difficult to see why Sharon is having a hard time coping: She’s cooped up in the house all day with wee Frankie and Muireann—with whom she still hasn’t bonded—and she’s desperate for proper grown-up conversations to balance out the 24/7 goo-goo-ga-ga talk. It’s not like Rob isn’t helpful, he’s a great dad, but by the time he comes home from the office, he’s used up all his “daily care units” and he freely admits to Sharon that, “Sometimes, when you need attention at the end of the day, I got nothing left for you.” It does bum Sharon out to know that she features in his thoughts “right after the toilet and just before a book about Hitler.” But hey, at least he’s honest about it.

While Rob’s daily routine consists of helping Frankie get dressed and get to school before going to the office, all Sharon has to look forward to is an afternoon with the “mombies” (you know, like zombies) from the Mummy & Me group she takes Muireann to. The only consolation in spending an afternoon with a group of holier-than-thou women, singing and clapping along to lame baby songs and games, is getting to go out for a coffee with the only “normal” mummy in the club: Sam (Susannah Fielding).

But this time, Sam doesn’t show up, so Sharon tries to strike up a conversation about hemorrhoids (not mother in-laws, this time) and camel-toes with the mombie next to her, but she just shuts her out. By the time they’ve all finished their renditions of “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and head out to the playground, Sharon’s newly balanced pill-mood has gone down the drain. Swallowing her pride, she decides to make an effort with the mombies, approaching them with a cheery “What’s up with you crazy bitches?” This is met with incredulous, shameful stares. This scene gives me the classic Sharon-feels: On one hand I sympathize with her feelings of loneliness, boredom and alienation. On the other hand, I can’t help but laugh at her brutal attempts at making small talk with a bunch of happy hausfraus. If you look closely, you’ll even see a blonde toddler looking up at her with pity.

Meanwhile, Rob is dealing with a very different problem: A highly attractive co-worker. To make shit worse—she’s French. Danger zone! Rob’s not getting any at home because his wife feels like nothing but a “giant tit,” meaning he’s been walking around blue-balled and beyond desperate. Of course, he doesn’t care whether her nipples are brown or black, but—in Sharon’s defense—if you’re not feeling sexy within yourself, how are you going to feel sexy for someone else? So Rob is finding his wank-material in his new colleague Olivia (Emmanuelle Bouaziz). It’s pretty embarrassing to watch him make an arse of himself pretty much every time he opens his mouth in front of her, but then again – she is a stunner. Well as long she stays just wank-material…

To get an idea of just how miserable Sharon was feeling without a little grown-up company, consider this: She actually called her sister-in-law and Fran (Ashley Jensen)—I mean, Fran! Turns out Sam doesn’t have time for people in her life who “need things” and seeing her being stood up like that was heart-breaking. This episode truly managed to manifest the kind of loneliness motherhood can entail and how important it is to have a good support system around you. It concentrates on the rift that occurs between couples throughout the first years of child-raising when dirty diapers, nap-times and itchy buttholes get in the way of intimacy, conversation and sex.

On the upside: After being “dumped” by Sam, Muireann stops Sharon from falling further down the mombie hole by smiling up at her when she needs it the most—they have finally bonded!

Roxanne Sancto is a freelance journalist for Paste and The New Heroes & Pioneers. She’s the author of The Tuesday Series & co-author of The Pink Boots. She can usually be found covered in paint stains.