Looking back, we're not sure quite why we willingly enrolled at the Little Otter Family Camp, the bucolic setting of NBC's Camp, for the duration of this summer. From the pilot episode on, the show was consistently terrible -- a bizarre confection of soap opera, teen (and grown-up) sex comedy and flat-out "Huh?" plot developments. And yet, we kept watching anyway, if only to see just how much worse things could possibly get, not unlike the way we stayed glued to our sets during the epic crash of NBC's winter bomb, Smash. After ten weeks, Camp closed its doors -- likely for good -- with last night's appropriately weird finale, which involved, among other things, a counselor's mother getting thrown in a foreign prison for drug smuggling, the abusive aunt who almost took her in, a porny hot dog eating contest, several "should I stay or should I go?" life decisions and an inter-camp Olympics that greatly suffered from the lack of a Bill Murray cameo. Even after spending the warm weather months embedded at Little Otter, we're still not sure we understand the rules of the place (or the show, for that matter), but here are the various do's and don'ts we picked up during our time at NBC's version of summer camp.
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.
Screw Mixology. Screw Mixology and its misogynistic, chest-thumping, dick-measuring, outdated, mind-blowingly unfunny and downright offensive take on sex and dating in your 20s and 30s. The concept may be unconventional by traditional sitcom standards (ten strangers at the same New York City bar having various interactions in one single night), but the execution is as lame and stupid as anything you've ever seen on television. I'm still seething.
If you're a fan of The Sound of Music (the film and/or the stage production) you no doubt went into last night's live recreation on NBC starring Carrie Underwood (huh?) and Stephen Moyer (huh??) with apprehension. And while it didn't quite hit train wreck proportions most of us expected, it certainly didn't do the original justice, instead making viewers desperately yearn for Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. At least, that seemed to be the consensus on Twitter, where just about everyone watched and hilariously snarked together.
Our favorite person this week had to be drunk Kris Jenner brushing her teeth with a Dora the Explorer toothbrush and TP'ing her daughter Kim's house. It totally made up for her talking about her problems peeing. Other reality stars this week were not so entertaining in their awfulness.
You can't keep a good slayer down.
Any Parks and Recreation episode that features the return of Pawnee's finest news personality, Perd Hapley, a water balloon fight in the Parks office that ends with Andy kamikaze-ballooning Chris, a guest star turn by comedy legend Carl Reiner as Ned Jones (the "grand-godfather" of the town's senior voter block) and the introduction of Kathryn Hahn as a new nemesis for Leslie -- a Washington-seasoned political operative named Jennifer Barkley who is now heading up the Bobby Newman campaign -- gets an instant A from us.
While I've definitely lowered the bar for some comedies, my expectations for Parks and Recreation are about is high as I go for a show that's in that genre. "Campaign Ad" would have been a fine episode of another series, but here it felt repetitive and all too familiar. I'm totally with Donna -- love the new haircut, by the way -- on not complaining about Paul Rudd's good looks (seriously, whatever lacked in comedy last night was overshadowed by eye candy), but otherwise, we've seen these plotlines before on this show and they've been done much better already. As much as I'd just love to gush about how funny and silly everyone was and give them grades, pointing out the repeats seems way more relevant. Nobody make a mean political video about me, okay?
We already receive our most important life lessons from television, but we're hoping producers, studios and networks themselves learn from the successes and failures of this fall. Here are our big takeaways from the first half of the 2011-12 season:
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