Ren Recommends: Catastrophe

Catastrophe is the modern-day adult rom-com we’ve been waiting for. It’s the breeziest three hours you’ll spend this summer, with only six half-hour episodes streaming on Amazon (originally aired on British television screens at the start of the year). It’s smart, funny, and yes, even sexy. There’s something so refreshing about a story that revolves around a simple plot (man meets woman, man and woman have a lot of sex, man and woman have an unplanned pregnancy, and man moves to London to be with woman) involving two forty-something, charming leads. This man (Rob Delaney) and woman (Sharon Horgan) are completely at ease in their own skin, which makes their budding relationship so compelling. They’re both unapologetically themselves – and luckily for them, for the most part, they like that about the other person. Luckily for us, their chemistry is palpable but doesn’t feel at all forced. Add in their raucous humor, plus some miserable but terrifically executed side characters – not to mention the fabulous Carrie Fisher as Delaney’s mom – and you’ve got one of the best shows to debut this year. And after your three-hour binge goes by in a flash, just like that, you’ll be taken aback by how much you thoroughly enjoyed it, and you’ll curse the TV gods that there aren’t more episodes (yet) to devour.

Ren Recommends: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

With Parks and Recreation off the air now, it’s time for a new comedy to take its place in our hearts and minds. Although Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt follows 30 Rock in its absurdist tendencies (which I mean in the most complimentary way), its ridiculousness is paired off with charm, thanks in large part to the amazing Ellie Kemper. If you love the brand of humor in 30 Rock, then you’ll love Kimmy Schmidt, whose creators are Tina Fey and Robert Carlock (creator/writer and writer for 30 Rock, respectively). Plus, Fey and Carlock manage to make a horribly depressing scenario (four women, including Kimmy, trapped in an underground bunker against their will by an egomaniac who has falsely predicted the apocalypse are finally found and have to rebuild their lives) into something hilarious and even poignant. Just like 30 Rock, some of the most on-point jokes aimed at the social/political/racial/etc. constructs of our society are subtle and mumbled under characters’ breaths. But to balance the ‘truth-ness’ embedded throughout, there are equal parts outlandish and side-splitting gags that run throughout this series (blink and you just might miss them). And lucky for us, due to the timing of when Kimmy gets kidnapped as a young teenager in the mid 90s, we get tons of hilarious references to great and obscure pop culture artifacts from the 80s and 90s and many moments of Kimmy coming to terms with the technological and social media developments that she’s luckily missed out on for the past 15 years. To showcase a microcosm of what you’ll find on this show, here are four instances of what makes this show unbreakable.

UKS_1UKS_2UKS_3UKS_4Season two could not come fast enough!