Hey TV.com, Should I Watch NBC's Camp?


Get ready to don that neon T-shirt with the cheesy logo, crack open the secret stash of dirt-cheap vodka hidden beneath the bottom bunk, and relive the best and/or worst summers of your life: It's time for yet another new NBC series, Camp. The show is supposed to highlight a cross-section of the summer camp experience that so many of you might be familiar with, but is it really worth sneaking into the A.V. cabin to watch it? Surprisingly, kind of. I've already seen the first few episodes, so gather 'round the campfire and let me break it down for you. 


Wait, so it's just a show about people at summer camp, really?

Yep, no real tricks or gimmicks here. Camp follows a large group of people, including both teenagers and adults, during their summer camp experience. We get to see the horny, sexualized exploits of the campers, the "adult" relationships between the older college-age counselors, and the drama between parents and the camp's primary owner and manager. Through those multiple perspectives, the show tackles a weirdly wide swath of issues, from virginity-losing and summer love to divorce and leukemia. It's absolutely everything you'd expect, plus a half-dozen other stories, too. 


Who's living in the cabins, and who built them?

Rachel Griffiths, from Six Feet Under and a bunch of other stuff, is your leading lady and Camp's most recognizable face. She plays Mackenzie, the recently divorced and completely overwhelmed director of Little Otter Family Camp. The show was filmed in Australia, so much of the remaining cast is filled out with some hard bodies from Down Under, including a bunch of people from teen drama Dance Academy: Tom Green (not that one, though that'd be hilarious), Tim Pocock, and Dena Kaplan. (Griffiths is also Australian; and she and her fellow cast members pull off solid American accents.) The show was created by Liz Heldens (Friday Night Lights) and Peter Elkoff (DeceptionMercy), so NBC's keepin' it in the family.


When do Camp's activities begin?

The show debuts at 10pm on Wednesday, July 10. It doesn't face much competition on broadcast TV, but it will be up against FX's new big-time drama series The Bridge. Though I can't imagine the two series will have much overlap in audience.




Who are the target campers?

Just about anyone, really. This is a broad show with comedic and dramatic elements, a few soapy romance plots, and a handful of slightly more nuanced stories about adults. Camp could be one of those series a family watches together; if you like the kind of lighter fare on ABC Family, or even something like Parenthood or Hart of Dixie, Camp will be in your wheelhouse. It's probably not better than any of those shows, but for summer, why not?


What's good about Camp?

Maybe a little more than you'd expect. Much of pilot plays out as if the show is a little unsure of itself, unspooling one summer camp cliche after another—outsider high schoolers who don't want be there, horny dudes looking to lose it, older counselors reconnecting with their summer flings and getting high. However, by Episodes 3 and 4, Camp settles into something more interesting, or at least something more confident. You've seen every single one of these stories before, but there's an earnestness and charm to the cast that sells the proceedings. If you're familiar with Griffiths from Six Feet Under or even Brothers & Sisters, it's nice to watch her have some fun, and she makes  her character's mid-life crisis feel believable, despite some added silliness. The scenes with her and the other adults at the camp are kind of weird given the setting, but they're also generally funny. And while no one in the younger cast is particularly noteworthy, they're all decent enough. 


What sucks about Camp?

The comedy isn't very good, especially in the pilot (though as I said above, the show does improve—especially once the jokes start flowing from characters rather than summer-camp-related gags). And while I grew more invested in certain people or relationships after seeing three episodes, Camp is still 100 percent predictable and lightweight. It's a show about summer camp; there's only so much it can do. Consequently, whenever the writers try to add something different to the mix, it often feels out of place. For example, the pilot randomly decides to examine young peoples' use of words like "faggy" and "retard," only to drop the subject really quickly. 


So... should I sign up for the Capture the Flag and Color Wars, or what?

Well, at 10pm on Wednesdays you should obviously watch The Bridge first and foremost. However, you should DVR Camp and maybe even wait a few weeks before checking it out so that you can take in a couple of episodes back-to-back. The pilot isn't very good, but the show does improve in subsequent offerings. I hate to pull the "Hey, it's summer" card, but hey, it's summer. Camp has enough in it to hold your attention for at least three or four episodes. 


Can I see a trailer?

Sure, friend! Here you go:



What should I drink while watching Camp?

Whatever cheap stuff you can sneak into the co-ed cabin. Spike that homeade lemonade or iced tea with some Kamchatka or Popov vodka. 


Camp
premieres Wednesday, July 10 at 10pm on NBC.

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I watched one episode of this show yesterday, it was some episode where this kid turns 16. The show was humiliating to watch. I know there are kids this age who drink, have sex, and do a bunch of idiot things, but jesus, this show makes it look like like all those kids were hand picked and sent to that camp. I know there's that Asian girl in the show who doesn't drink or smoke, but they ruined her by making her a stereotypical really smart workaholic asian, and to make her interesting, they gave her gay parents. In that episode, the newly 16 year old gets all upset because he hasn't had sex before. I don't care if you choose to wait until marriage, but really? Being upset that you didn't lose your virginity before the age of 16? What's worse is that he's the only boy his age who's still a virgin. I've never been to camp, but I'll bet there's no camp this utterly dysfunctional.
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This is way below the talents of Rachel, but hey, gotta make a living, right? I wish she had a better vehicle. She's good in this, but the story is lame and obvious. My only reward for watching was the cute teenage girls in bikinis, and my wife kept yelling "Your blood pressure!" the whole time, ruining it :-) All kidding aside, she's a great actor and deserves better. Six Feet Under? Muriel's Wedding? She bad!
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Since I DVR everything, I will DVR camp and The Bridge to watch when I feel like it. Unfortunately that does nothing for the ratings.
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Why is no one talking about NBC's new thriller Crossing Lines? It's not half bad and certainly better than the likes of Under the Dome, Siberia and Camp--4 episodes aired and nary a peep from our TV gurus...
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I have to agree, I have watched the show and it really is way better than NBC usually puts out for their regular season, let alone a summer season.
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The show isn't that good. The storyline seems outlandish and the devices used by the coppers even more bizzarre. Everyone is stereotyped as the brute irish, the drunk american, the head of the unit fighting his own demons and the daughter trying to get out of her parent's money's shadow.
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I didn't say it was good. I said it was way better than NBC usually puts out. They have 4 good shows, 4. Community, Parks and Rec, Hannibal and Grimm. Thats it. The rest kind of suck, this is better than the rest of those. Now the main characters might be right out of the stereotype handbook. But the cases of the week are interesting and they do what they are doing fairly well. I am not saying it is the best thing I have ever seen. But for a summer show on NBC? It is decent.
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I think it's good for any network...
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so imagine a conservative family ...you know, one that doesn't watch r-rated movies together and are uncomfortable with sex, nudity and anatomy words being in the things they watch together. would this one be okay for them? doesn't really sound like it yet you said that deal bout it being a show a family could watch together.

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I appreciate that your commitment to criticizing me in everything today! A family can watch this together, particularly after the pilot. There's some dumb teen sex stuff, but it's NBC. Not a direct to video American Pie movie.
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appreciate the reply. this was also posted prior to my other posts. sorry about so other ones but you were asking for it for two reasons IMO. 1, you made a claim that some show was the best serialized show on TV, i will always argue for or against that point. and two it was a post about a "reality show". I wouldn't have clicked on it had I known that. you called it serialized so I assumed it was up for debate amongst other scripted shows. mtv has scripted shows now obviously in the same way it's had less and less music starting a long time ago so my being caught off guard by it being a reality show was founded. so i guess that makes a few surefire ways not to draw my criticism (assuming you care) not drawing people into a debate about what's best, not drawing me into a conversation about reality tv, not assuming every family has the same values when it comes to what they watch, though my criticism here were certainly on the restrained side, and... probably best not criticize show that i consider to be one of an incredibly small number of shows i think makes for quality television (boardwalk empire). i think i could count them on one hand. on that front i assume i'll be seeing you later this or early next year.

oh and
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wall of text because the stupid dialogue box was messing up every sentence, could barely tell what was going on unfortunately. my bad.
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Thanks Cory, I'll check it out. And I guess I'm in that demographic who'll watch both.
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Per your recommendation I will DVR it for future consideration. I will be watching THE BRIDGE.
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That look nice, light and funny just what i need... plus I like the actors from Dance Academy!
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This? No. The Bridge? No. Paranormal Witness? YES!!
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Paranormal Witness? Really? Fake ghost stories done with CGI and bad actors? Why?
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I know....but it's my guilty pleasure show. I know it's stupid, fake, and ridiculous....but I don't care. :-)
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That's fair. I have to admit to watching an occasional show. Some of them are unbelievably ridiculous and hilarious.
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you lost me at paranormal witness: yes.
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See comment above. Total and complete guilty pleasure show.
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Having worked onset of CAMP for the last 4 months here in Australia, I must say the show has a lot of potential. Give it a chance guys, you might find out you love it :D
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Dozens of hormon-stinned teenage boys in the hands of Brenda Chenowith? The parents definitely have the right to be pooping-in-their-pants W-O-R-R-I-E-D!

Oh, how I miss Six Feet Under :(
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The serious lack of bikinis + Rachel Griffiths' whack-a-doodle face == big fat PASS.
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there are *some* bikinis
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at least we'll always have her scenes in burning man, thank goodness they can't take those away from us. but I'm right there with you, she undoubtedly has the best rack in the camp if they don't emphasize that it's a travesty.
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Not interested.
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DANCE ACADEMY!!! TOM GREEN!!!
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It looks inoffensive enough but I don't really see anything that particularly piques my interest so I'll pass on this one. I can always catch a repeat of Meatballs if I feel the need to revisit those days.
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this show is not for me
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I think I'll wait until I can't think of anything else I'd prefer to watch. Might be a while.
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i never understood why anyone over the age of 12 would attend summer camp, for one, i have a hard time believing teenagers would want to do any cheesy camp activities and at night there;s nothing to do except... okay, maybe i get it, but still, seems superfluous unless your town didn;t have a resevoir. i could probably sit through this once
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"Tom Green (not that one, though that'd be hilarious)"

I laughed.
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Not excited for this. Or maybe it's more appropriate to say that I'm not pitching a tent for Camp. Nope, not going to bother watching this.
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Nah, seems there's too many unfunny jokes involving pervy boys.
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there are, in the pilot. that's mostly gone by episodes 3 and 4. Dunno about 2.
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Like you said, it's summer and there's nothing on so I might check it out and keep with it for a time waster.
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I'll give it a whirl. I almost half-chuckled at the trailer, so thats something
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I used to love Capture the Flag. I rocked that game whenever we played at school because I probably took it the most seriously. Considering I used to be chubby, people used to stare or wonder in amazement watching me act all ninja-like. Ah, good times. Now I'm leaner but don't take anything seriously. Chubby and younger me was a lot more fun.

Aaaaanywho, I don't think I'll be watching this. If it was on cable and had more graphic sex scenes, maybe. But NBC's version of horny kids at summer camp? Meh. Actually, I just changed my mind and decided to give the pilot a shot to see what the comedy is like (I mean, I'm not all about sex)... although that might not be very helpful considering Cory says the comedy doesn't pick up until later episodes.
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Come on you guys this looks really fun
and frankly i'm tierd of heavy supernaturaly kind of shows so i'm welcoming Camp with open arms
Plus RACHEL GRIFFITHS !!!!!!! you gotta love her
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I thought this was a half hour comedy, but it's an hour long light drama kind of show?

Also, different regions of the country will not have this and Bridge on at the same time. Camp is on at 9pm where I am and Bridge is 11pm, so it's not an issue.
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Being on FX, Bridge will also have multiple airings. In fact, it's scheduled to air four times in a row on the night of its premiere.
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Yeah, it's an hour-long. I was surprised by that too, considering Jen passed along the screeners and said something about a sitcom.
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I like Rachel Griffiths and I would gladly see her again in tv. However, I doubt Camp is my kind of show. I'll watch the pilot out of curiosity.
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I thought this would be crap at first but it looks like it could be alright, and I do like me some Rachel Griffiths... it sort of reminded me of a cross between ABC Family's (cancelled) Huge and Beaver Falls from the UK.
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I think this has a lot of potential...
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