“This is not going to be some coming-of-age movie,” sighs Kip (Tom Green) to his dad at the start of NBC’s new summer dramedy Camp. It might, however, turn out to be a coming-of-age TV series, at least based on a pilot filled with every trope ever associated with the fictional summer-camp genre.
The premise is at once simple and familiar: Emmy- and Oscar-nominated Rachel Griffiths stars as Mackenzie, owner of Little Otter Family Camp, who’s reeling from her recent separation (hubby ran off with a Russian aesthetician), struggling with delapidated infrastructure and financial problems at work and trying to look out for the emotional well-being of her extremely horny teenage son Buzz.
Buzz, meanwile, works as a counselor in training at Little Otter and bonds with sensitive misfit Kip and beautiful outcast Marina. Other players include: star-crossed, college-age lovers Sarah and Robbie (and the sexy visiting author who threatens to come between them); Cole, a young camp employee who’s clearly smitten with Mackenzie; Roger, owner of the rival Ridgefield Camp who’s trying to buy out Mackenzie while also supplying her with regular hate-sex; an assorted mix of parents (it’s a family sleepaway, of course) to whom Mack can spill her secrets; and kids who can provide occasional comic relief.
The surprises, alas, are few and far between: Sarah lost her swimming scholarship due to a pot- and booze-fueled car accident; Marina has come to camp in the wake of a topless photo scandal; and Kip, in remission from leukemia, decides to stick it out despite his intense dislike of the outdoors and star-strewn skies.
Before the hour is over, Kip throws a punch at a rich frat boy (then gets the tar kicked out of him); the core Little Otter kids steal some sound equipment from Ridgefield (so they’ll be able to stage their talent show); Buzz gets permission to share a bunk with Kip (getting him out from under his mother’s watchful eye); and Mack decides against accepting Roger’s offer to sell and takes out a second mortgage on her home to cover the camp’s expenses.
Of course she does! How else will more hijinks ensue next week?