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The Telefile

Camp: Where the Fun Never Starts

by Angel Cohn July 11, 2013 5:00 am
<I>Camp</i>: Where the Fun Never Starts

We had some high hopes for this summer camp-set series, given how much we love the movies Camp (no relation), Meatballs and Wet Hot American Summer, but honestly, after seeing a couple advance episodes of this show, we'd rather be watching reruns of Salute Your Shorts.

This show isn't offensively bad; it's just really dull and misguided. And in the summer, we need our shows to be mildly entertaining or else we just immediately tune out. After all, there are always Big Brother feeds we could be watching instead, and those are like the most racist summer camp of all time.

The main issue with Camp is the fact that this show spends the lion's share of its time focusing on camp director Mackenzie (Rachel Griffiths). We get it, she's the big-name star here (while most of the younger cast seems to have migrated from Dance Academy), so she'd want the show to focus on her, but seeing her as a newly separated wife trying to keep the camp afloat isn't remotely exciting. Where are the hijinks and pranks and ghost stories that make the camp genre fun? And when a game of Capture the Flag (in episode 2) turns into a war between Mackenzie and her ex-husband over the affections of their teenage son, it was all we could do not to turn the television off.

Mackenzie and her husband split, he's got a lovely young new girlfriend who seems to be of the mail-order variety and he's enjoying the fact that he's still married to Mackenzie as she bends over backwards to make him happy. Mac allows him to keep his stuff at the camp and he tries to steamroll her into selling the camp while running up the charges on their shared credit cards. She needs to cut the cord, and he needs to stop being a jerk. But their relationship, while deeply flawed, isn't all that caustic. It's gentle in its manipulations, so the stakes seem really low. Why would we get invested in this when there is no payoff?

Sure, there's some "drama" with Roger (Rodger Corser), the guy who owns the other half of the lake with whom Mac has hate-sex when she's not considering selling him Little Otter. And there's the fact that she smothers her son Buzz (Charles Grounds), but that's really all the intensity that this show offers. We need more exciting stuff and since it is a show set at camp, if the adults aren't bringing it, we'd like the teen counselors to step it up -- but they really don't. They all have these secrets, which aren't really all that secret, and while they talk about sex a lot, no one really seems to be having much of it.

Another problem is that while the pilot sets up plotlines (a counselor seems to maybe be interested in a guy across the lake more than her boyfriend; the boyfriend applied to go to the same college as her and didn't tell her), the next episode mostly forgets them or sweeps them under the rug. We couldn't quite suffer through a third installment to see if these episodes were maybe just airing out of order.

Instead of discovering how this terrible camp stay plays out, we're going to watch the teens on Degrassi and maybe make our own macaroni art at home, because both of those things sound more enticing than sitting through any more of this hourlong dramedy that doesn't have the decency of being either dramatic or funny.

Think you've got game? Prove it! Check out Games Without Pity, our new area featuring trivia, puzzle, card, strategy, action and word games -- all free to play and guaranteed to help pass the time until your next show starts.

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