The first episode of Channel 4’s Catch-22 aired last night in brilliant fashion but just what does ‘catch-22’ actually mean?

Catch-22 made its long-awaited debut on Channel 4 last night and saw George Clooney’s Lieutenant Scheisskopf steal the show in hilarious fashion.

The six-episode series tells the story of a band of US airmen and the attempts of one of them to escape from his deadly duties by pleading insanity.

But there’s only one problem, only a sane person would fear for their life in war, meaning he’s fit to continue flying. That’s catch-22 but where did the phrase originally come from?

What’s Catch-22 all about?

As mentioned earlier, Catch-22 tells the story of a troop of US bombardiers during the invasion of Italy during the second world war. 

One airman in particular, John Yossarian (Christopher Abbott), fears for his life after a number of his crewmates perish while on missions.

As a result, we see Yossarian trying all sorts of tricks to escape from his duties, complaining to the camp’s doctor about everything from appendicitis, liver pain and even full-blown insanity.

However, the doctor, who knows full well what Yossarian is trying to do, outwits him with the titular catch-22.

Only a sane person would fear for his safety during the dangers of war meaning he’s actually fit to fly more missions, much to Yossarian’s misery.  

Where did the phrase Catch-22 come from? 

The phrase and idea behind catch-22 actually originated in the source material for the Catch-22 series.

See, the brand new Channel 4 and Hulu series is based on the 1961 novel by Joseph Heller also of the same name as the series.

In doing so, Heller coined the term catch-22 and the insane connotations that go with it.

Heller’s work was so influential that the phrase catch-22 is referred to even to this day.

Meanwhile, the Catch-22 series continues next Thursday on Channel 4 at 9pm. If you failed to catch last night’s premiere episode, it’s available to stream now on All 4.

 

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