First Watch: Camp – “Pilot” (Season 1, Episode 1)

“This is not going to be some coming-of-age movie, it’s not going to be the greatest summer of my life.”

With an opening line like that, it’s easy to see how NBC’s Camp might come off a bit predictable. You can probably guess that the kid who loathes the idea of going to camp will probably change his mind by the end of it all: it is more likely than not that this will be like a coming-of-age movie and he will have the greatest summer of his life.

Camp follows the misadventures of the folks over at Little Otter Family Camp — a camp run by a recently divorced, barely-holding-it-all-together Mackenzie “Mack” Granger (Rachel Griffiths) and her crew of counselors. Little Otter is the stereotypical camp with lots of heart, but no money to keep it going. Of course, there is also a wildly successful rival camp across the lake known as Ridgefield Lodge (which I really thought was Richfield for half the pilot) that wants to buy out Little Otter, but Mack isn’t interested in that.

Camp features an ensemble cast of counselors and camp-goers, each with their own storyline developed in the pilot. So far, the major characters of Camp seem to be:

  • Camp owner and director, Mackenzie “Mack” Granger. Mack takes on the full responsibilities of running Little Otter when her husband runs off with another woman and wants Mack to buy out his share of the camp, throwing her world into a tailspin. This chain of events presents the perfect opportunity to Ridgefield’s owner, Roger Shepard (Rodger Corser), to swoop in and pressure Mack into selling the camp to him. Meanwhile, camp maintenance man David “Cole” Coleman (Nikolai Nikolaeff) is not-so-subtly trying to woo Mack after her divorce.
  • Mack’s son and counselor-in-training, Buzz Granger (Charles Grounds). Buzz — who reminds me in many ways of a younger Nathan from Misfits (minus the powers, of course) — is struggling with trying to become a man while his mother babies him after her divorce.
  • Newly-arrived counselors-in-training, Kip Wampler (Thom Green) and Marina Barker (Lily Sullivan). Kip, the new nerd in town, was forced to go to Little Otter by his father, but over the course of the pilot, he decides that he actually likes Little Otter — mostly because of his new found friendship with Marina and Buzz. The good-looking outcast, Marina (see: Kate from Lost), on the other hand, is eager to go to camp due to some problems at home.
  • Veteran camp counselors, Sarah Brennan (Dena Kaplan) and Robbie Matthews (Tim Pocock). Sarah and Robbie are camp-lovers — the two of them grew up at Little Otter and are only a couple each summer during the camp season. During the camp’s off-season, Robbie gets accepted to the same university that Sarah attends and decides to tell Sarah that he wants to take their relationship to the next level: being an actual couple. This would be all fine and dandy, however, Sarah meets a new love interest in the first few days of camp that surely will put a wrench in her relationship with Robbie.

Camp doesn’t advance into any new territory as a series, but it shows promise of being a worthy comedy (with a few spoonfuls of drama) during the Summer TV season. If this show were airing alongside the Fall TV shows, such as Community or Parks & Recreation, the chances are very low I would watch this show (also, it would be weird to have a show about summer camp air during the Fall). While I was surprised by how much I enjoyed watching the pilot, I am still not sold on whether or not I will continue to give it my time.

  • Rating: “Surprised, but not sold”.
  • Comment: I find myself in the same boat as Kip during the pilot: initially, I thought Camp would be a waste of time, but, once the pilot was over, I think it might have changed my mind. There might be some promise to this show.
  • You might like Camp if you like: stereotypical summer camp shenanigans, dramedies.

Camp is currently in its first season, with episodes airing on NBC at 10 PM PST on Wednesdays.

About Daniel

I'm a guy who spends way too much time playing board games and watching television with his friends. View all posts by Daniel

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