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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Camp is a dramedy set at a family camp that features the same kind of sex and drinking hijinks found in 1980s cinematic summer camp comedies. The action is cleaned up a bit for network TV, i.e., no breasts or four-letter words, but there are still many sexual situations and sex talk (a teen frequently wishes he could get "laid" or "at least a BJ"). Teen and adult characters drink and smoke pot onscreen; it's depicted as lighthearted fun. Both male and female characters appear in bathing suits, and the camera lingers over their physiques. Curses include "a-holes" and a scene where a bracelet is called "faggy."
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What's the Story?
An idyllic summer family camp is the setting for hour-long dramedy CAMP. Rachel Griffiths is Mackenzie, the owner of Little Otter who has recently been left by her husband and pulling both camp director and single-mom duties. Her teen son Buzz (Charles Grounds) can't stand all the Little Otter rah-rah; he's just hoping to lose his virginity this summer. Meanwhile, new counselor Marina has a big mistake in her past and looks like she's going to make more of them with bitter, secretive Kip; Mackenzie can't stop having one-night stands with a rival camp director she hates (even though her much-younger pothead handyman has eyes for her), and Mackenzie's ex is hoping she'll sell the camp so he can finance new kids with his new girlfriend. And that's just what happens between the lanyard-making sessions.
Is It Any Good?
Camp hits all the same tedious summer-camp beats familiar to anyone who's seen Meatballs or its innumerable ripoffs. You've got the horny guy, the silent nerdy guy, the mean girls in bikinis who everyone lusts over, the sympathetic handyman who reeks of pot. The plot twists are recognizable, too. A kid who wants to lose his virginity by summer's end? Gee, never seen that in a summer camp movie. Wait, no. That's in every summer camp movie.
Still, there are nice moments to be found in this edgy family comedy, like when two teens are watching a line-dancing lesson; one says the other doesn't "seem like a camp person." "Who knows what kind of person I am?" the young woman says before deciding to join in the dancing. More of those moments and less of the stale summer campery sexy prankishness, and this show might really have something both teens and parents can enjoy.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how realistic the show is. Do the campers and counselors on Camp look like counselors and campers you have seen in real life? Why or why not?
Watch a few summer-camp shows such as Huge or Adventure Camp. How is Camp like these shows? How is it different?
Why are so many movies and TV shows set at summer camps? What kinds of things can these shows and movies depict thanks to the setting? What makes this setting so perennially popular?
- Premiere date: July 10, 2013
- Cast: Charles Grounds, Rachel Griffiths, Thom Green
- Network: NBC
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Friendship, High School
- TV rating: TV-14
- Last updated: March 2, 2022
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