Summer Camp

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Summer Camp TV Poster Image
Competition includes innuendo and manipulative behavior.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Teamwork and loyalty are mentioned, but a lot of the focus is on how to manipulate others.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Some of the contestants use underhanded tactics and throw challenges. Cast members are purposely opposites in ideology, etc., to stir conflict.


Lots of arguing and catty behavior.


Lots of flirting between the contestants. Women are shown wearing skimpy bikinis. References to kissing, losing one's virginity, and other acts at their childhood summer camps.


Words like "bitch," "pissed," and "ass" are audible. Curses like "s--t" and "f--k" bleeped.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Beer drinking is visible.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Summer Camp is a voyeuristic competition show that's milder than some other reality series, but features lots of catty behavior, sexual innuendo, salty vocab, and drinking. Contestants often manipulate each other in order to avoid being eliminated. Think of it as Big Brother-lite.

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What's the story?

From the creators of Big Brother comes SUMMER CAMP, a reality series featuring grownups who are reliving their youth while trying to win a quarter of a million dollars. Show host and former American Idol finalist Matt Rogers is the camp director for a team of men and a team of women at the lakeside campsite. In-between camp activities like socials and playing pranks on each other, the teams compete in a series of challenges, or "color wars," for immunity. The losing team of each challenge must banish two of its own to the opposite team's camp, and wait for them to vote on who is going to be sent home. At the end of camp, the remaining members of the winning team split the $250,000 prize.

Is it any good?

From the manipulative blonde to the geeky underdog, Summer Camp contains all the characters one would expect from a reality show. It also contains lots of voyeuristic moments, as each person attempts to find ways to stay in the game or romantically pair up with another contestant.

Some folks may like watching people compete in canoe competitions or toilet paper each other's cabins. But aside from the refreshing lakeside camp setting, this series doesn't offer anything particularly new.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about reality shows. Why are these shows so popular? Do you think the people on these shows act the way they do for entertainment purposes, or are they showing their true colors in front of the camera? Are viewers supposed to learn lessons based on their behavior?

TV details

  • Premiere date: July 11, 2013
  • Cast: Matthew Rogers
  • Network: USA
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-PG
  • Available on: Streaming
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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