When you hear the words “family camp” and “NBC comedy” in the same sentence, great expectations probably follow. After all, NBC has treated us to “The Office,” “Parks and Rec,” and “30 Rock,” so a situational comedy about all things outdoors with a family dynamic thrown in sounds like a sign of good times ahead.
In “Camp” though, the focus is not on the families attending the camp, but on the owner Mackenzie Granger (Rachel Griffiths) and the various counselors’ love lives (or lack thereof).
The pilot episode starts out with Griffiths running the camp by herself after her husband has left her for a 20-something Russian girl, leaving her and her teenage son (and the camp) in debt. Her son has a stated goal of losing his virginity by the end of the summer, and various camp counselors are providing the poor example of sleeping around with each other, as well as talking about it in front of the campers. Predictably, the stable couple that Griffiths tells her love life woes to and asks for advice is a gay couple attending the camp, whose daughter gives a very stern lesson in tolerance to Griffiths’ son.
Throughout the pilot episode there is not one functional, heterosexual, two-parent family shown. Rather than showing the hilarious situations that being with your family for a week in the outdoors can provide, “Camp” pretty much puts its entire focus on sex in a way that’s much more reminiscent of “Secret Life of the American Teenager” than “Parks and Rec.”
This shows has the potential to be so much more, but based on the pilot episode there’s nothing to write home about.