Who hasn’t made a countdown to summer? For students, it’s a time to escape all the drama they face in high school. Summer camp is a time to forget about your worries, catch up with old friends, make new ones and forget about school and all the pressure, social or academic, that comes with it. The characters in “Camp” try to escape their problems, but the atmosphere is the same drama found in high school hallways placed in the cabins of a campsite. The strength of “Camp” lies in the issues of the characters. That said, if you want a getaway from typical high school dramas, don’t pack your bags for this campsite.
“This is not some coming of age movie, this is not the greatest summer of my life!”
“Camp” starts off with the first day of Little Otter Family Camp, run by recent divorcee Mackenzie “Mack” Granger (Rachel Griffiths) on her own for the first time. We are introduced to Kip Wampler (Tom Green-no, not the comedian), an unenthusiastic Counsellor in Training who could care less about spending his summer there. The show is set up like any teen program after that. Cliques, love triangles, gossiping, experimenting with drugs, alcohol and sex-it’s all there. Even Mack and other parents at Little Otter gossip like the younger characters!
It may take place at a campsite and not a high school, but that doesn’t make the drama all that different. Yes, the lake, cabins, and overall set is a nice change from the bland looking hallways. There are episodic events like capture the flag and Valentines’ Day in July that make the show fun, but that isn’t any different than a school having dances and other events.
Or maybe this is a coming of age narrative
The majority of the young characters also try to find themselves. Swimmer Sarah Brennen (Dena Kaplan) wonders if she wants to remain with her long-time boyfriend Robbie Mathews (Tim Pocock) and keep swimming after she lost her scholarship and falls for author Miguel Santos (Juan Pablo Di Pace). Mack’s son Buzz (Charles Grounds) is trying to cope with his parents’ divorce while hoping to experience his first time. Kip is trying to keep his leukemia a secret from his colleagues to avoid being judged.
Mack appears to be the only one who knows about Kip’s cancer, and he tries to keep it that way. He dates Chloe because she threatens to reveal his secret. Meanwhile, she and her clique bully his friend and crush Marina Barker (Lily Sullivan). Chloe reveals she writes poems to cope with her uncle’s suicide, and wants to know how Kip felt when he almost died twice-even appears more interested in him when they talk about dying. Having two people date from different cliques is nothing groundbreaking, but their relationship is still strange. Her death obsession is creepy and manipulating Kip by revealing his leukaemia is an immature way to approach the situation. T
he Little Otter community had a scare that his cancer came back after a year and a half, but it ended up being food poisoning. The campsite’s fear for his health was very genuine and proved that the camp is a positive and supportive environment for Kip.
Figuring out who you are is a major part of being a teenager, and everyone faces it differently. “Camp” shows that everyone has their own backstory. The heart of the show lies within the struggles of the characters, even if they are trying to escape it for the summer. Either way, this is not a vacation from the televised drama in high school hallways.