Back in the glory days of Glee — before the scripts became so desperate for love triangles that they actually began considering storylines for Principal Figgins and the bearded guy who plays the piano — fans of all ages would tune in for a scathing take on the coming-of-age genre, a dark but charming and progressive underdog story. Also, for singing. While many love the musical interludes, a small number of us — those in it for the likable characters and acerbic look at high school politics — felt the Lea Michele solos became an opportunity to check your texts real quick. After Season 2 brough on a severe dip in quality, a few fans lingered and among these, we have to imagine, some of the song-haters remained as well… and it is this community, the tiny population who preferred the later days of Glee but fast-forwarded through the musical numbers, for whom Camp was made.
Also, maybe a few people who went to camp. So NBC has got itself quite the target demographic with this one.
Catching the pilot of Camp will give you ‘Nam-style flashbacks to your frustrated toils with post-Golden Era Glee. The debut ep introduces a selection of counselors and CITs, ages ranging from high school to post-grad, all embedded in some definingly maudlin quality. Misanthropic loner Kip (Tom Green, but not that… well, that goes without saying), joins the summer tradition against his will, his father hoping the experience will help his teenage son overcome some psychological turmoils to befall him in recent months. Obviously, he hits it off immediately — despite being aggressively standoffish — with another newcomer, the charming Marina (Lily Sullivan), who finds herself among the outcasts after the Internet becomes privy to her exposed breasts. Thanks to some heavy-handed heart-to-hearts and some extended silent glances, we know that their budding romance is going to be Camp‘s most laborious endeavor in the weeks to come.
But for all those not interested in this duo, the romances are plentiful from every corner! We’ve got romance between an Olympic swimmer and a law student, between an idiotic tag-along and a girl with no discernible characteristics, between the divorced camp director (hey, Rachel Griffiths is in this!) and an Aryan lethario half her age. It’s got it all. Without that pesky interference of people singing about their feelings every eight minutes.
No, Camp does not have the wit of Season 1 Glee, nor the overindulgence of Season 4 Glee. It’s middle-of-the-road Glee, set lakeside and with more opportunities for shirtlessness. So if that was the era you found yourself most fond of, NBC’s new program might be up your alley. Or, perhaps, if you went to camp. You ever notice how people who went to camp are really, strangely into camp? What’s up with that?