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<i>Camp</i>: What We Learned From This Summer’s Weirdest Show

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.

Do: Fall Instantly In Love with Little Otter's Proprietor
Look, Little Otter's owner Mack (played by one-time Oscar nominee Rachel Griffiths… oh, how long ago those days seem now!) is an attractive woman with a sweet (if not-so-slightly aggravating) personality, but the way other dudes -- specifically working class Cole and upper crust Roger -- kept panting and competing over her you'd think she was Kate Upton or something. Is relentlessly hitting on the owner part of the camp fee or is that a separate charge?

Don't: Sleep With a Successful Writer
Or maybe it's actually okay? The show seemed to be of two minds when it came to the season-long storyline that found swimming star Sarah sneaking around on handsome, but dull boyfriend Robbie with a cute, worldly author. Just as the lovers were about to go their separate ways, Robbie found out he was being cuckolded and kicked Sarah to the curb. So she was the one at fault! But wait a minute… she was feeling constrained and confined by her life as it was and wanted an adventure, so she's in the right! But wait another minute… she should have talked to her boyfriend instead of cheating on him, so she's the one at fault. But wait another minute… now he wants to experience new things in his life, too, which he probably wouldn't have done if she hadn't cheated, so she's in the right! Our head hurts too much trying to figure out the show's message here. Let's just say they're both idiots and leave it at that.

Do: Become Inordinately Obsessed with the Sex Life of Teenagers
Whenever Mack's supposedly adult friends get bored talking about the various men she's either slept with or is thinking about sleeping with, they turn their attention to the nubile teens cavorting before their eyes, whether it's Mack's horny son Buzz or cancer victim Kip or the aforementioned Sarah/Robbie drama. Mack should really warn all her counselors-in-training upfront that part of being "in training" means that your private lives are everybody's business at Little Otter.

Don't: Buy Pregnancy Tests from Small Town Drugstores
For starters, getting to said drugstore will probably force you to have to steal your ex-boyfriend's (the one who may have knocked you up) car and you'll get over by the police. And then you'll get to the drugstore, and it'll close at, like, 7 PM, because that's when people in small towns go to bed. And then, once you finally do get inside the next morning, the place will be held up by two Career Opportunities rejects who pause in the middle of their pointless robbery to give you relationship advice. And yes, we just described an actual plotline on this show.

Do: Occasionally Forget Your Australian Accent
Shot on location in the Land Down Under with a mostly Aussie cast, it's understandable that the actors would sometimes overlook that they were supposed to be passing as American and allow their natural accents to creep back in. Waiting for those moments became a highlight of the series and a staple of the Camp drinking game.

Don't: Allow the Parents to Visit. Ever.
As obnoxious as many of the teen characters were, their parents were almost always worse, from Marina's party-hearty mother (the one who got locked up for drug trafficking… but apparently in a country that was nice enough to allow her a phone call) to Kip's overprotective father to Grace's two dads, who managed the difficult feat of making Mitch and Cam seem like the most loving gay couple on network television. For that matter, Mack should have gone home as well and just let the kids run the place. A Children of the Corn version of Camp sounds like the kind of summer series we could get behind.

Do: Force a Kid with Cancer to Play Competitive Darts
In a move that really should have gotten him fired if he weren't thisclose to sleeping with his boss, Cole goads Kip into helping him out in a darts tournament that he and Roger are using as a substitute for a dick measuring contest. Kip promptly collapses after the event, making everyone think his cancer is back, but no… it was just food poisoning. But hey, that health scare is the catalyst that forces Marina to finally realize she wuvs Kip, so way to go Cole on getting the kid the girl of his dreams by putting him in the hospital.

Don't: Cancel This Show
Seriously. We have a feeling the writers haven't even scraped the bottom of the barrel yet. The mind reels at all the terrible storylines they could still dream up as well as the endless supply of young Australian actors that need a home after bombing their audition for Neighbors. Little Otter is easily the weirdest summer camp (and summer show) we've seen in a good long while, which is precisely why we'd return for another season.

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.

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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