Review: Camp Camp “Keep the Change”

Good morning, campers! Ready for a new season?

Overview

It’s another shining day at Camp Campbell, with the latest addition to the camp causing a new brand of chaos. Cameron — who is now forced to do community service under David’s watch — has been slacking off on his duties and allowing the kids to be unruly. David encourages Cameron to push himself into the right direction, but Max asserts that people don’t change. This leads Neil, Nikki, David, and Gwen to point out to Max that he himself has changed over the course of the summer. Insulted, Max sets out to expose Cameron as the immoral scumbag he’s always been, in order to prove his point.

During a round of community garbage cleanup, Max convinces Cameron to steal a store’s garbage so that his bag would look full. However, he enters to store to see other people with garbage bags (robbers) and beats them, under the impression that they were there to steal garbage, too. The town awards him fifty dollars for stopping a robbery, and later on, one of the same robbers returns to loot the camp — for exactly fifty dollars. Cameron doesn’t want to give it up, despite David’s pleading, and Max eventually figures out that David had set up the robbery situation in order to prove that Cameron was capable of doing good (even though he didn’t.) The gang comments on how people do change; that Max and David have rubbed off on each other.

Our Take

Just in time for the first day of June, Camp Camp has made its return. Considering the events of last season, many fans have been on edge, speculating about what Cameron Campbell’s presence as a main cast member would do to the show’s dynamic. As Cameron has existed as the show’s main antagonist for quite a while, it was hard to determine if the transition from villain to a wacky camp counselor would play well. As of today, it seems like “Keep the Change” has given us a sample of what’s in store.

Given Cameron’s general pinheadedness (ex: being unable to read the room of a robbery) it appears that his stupidity is going to be a springboard for a lot of shenanigans this season. While this sets up many precarious predicaments, it feels as though Cameron is going to (mostly) just be a lumbering, bumbling idiot whose schemes are less outwardly harmful than last season’s. Then again, we haven’t given him time to cover up another child murder. So, there’s that.

The point of note that revealed Max and David’s mingling personalities was a relatively fun ending, but Camp Camp has the tendency to fall into expository dialogue when it tries to make a point of something. For example, throughout the episode, Max tries to prove — to his peers (and also, himself) — that people don’t change. Neil and Nikki sit around recapping every “good” and “bad” thing Max has ever done. It almost feels like Camp Camp’s characters are its own fandom — which is a good meta-joke, but sometimes these verbal explanations through dialogue make it seem less organic. Too many wink-wink nudge-nudges to the audience about character developments and dynamics cheapen the effect the audience could get from simply watching the characters develop and shift. It feels a lot like spoon-feeding fans things we already know. For the things that aren’t as clear (such as the new David and Max discovery), it would be indisputably more impactful if we could just be shown this instead, not told about it by the characters.

On an upbeat note: it’s good to hear the characters’ voices again. Everyone in the show has such a recognizable voice, which is a rare feat to achieve. The animation is about the same so far, but who knows? A new season could mean anything.

One thing’s for sure: Camp Campbell may have its problems, but it sure is good to be back.

Kayla Gleeson

Kayla Gleeson is an entertainment writer and media player, with work involved in shows such as Anthony Bourdain's "Parts Unknown" and Chicken Soup for the Soul's "Hidden Heroes." In addition to her work on BubbleBlabber, she also has dozens upon dozens of published articles for RockYou Media. Aside from immersing her life in cartoons, she loves to write and read poetry, be outdoors, go to conventions, and indulge in Alan Resnick stylings of comedy.

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