Camping series premiere recap: Pilot


Jennifer Garner and David Tennant go camping in HBO’s latest dramedy made by the creators of Girls.

Camping premiered it’s pilot this week and I have to say I’m quite intrigued by the premise. It’s not groundbreaking, dramatic, or enticing in any particular way but the cast itself makes it interesting enough to give it a chance.

Jennifer Garner stars as the obsessive-compulsive organizer, Kathryn McSorley-Jodell, who has set up a camping trip for her husband Walt’s (David Tennant) 45th birthday. Jennifer Garner being cast in this role is all sorts of perfect considering if it was anyone else playing a character so overwhelming, I may have tuned out.

Kathryn kicks off the weekend with a strict itinerary organized minute to minute with all sorts of nature activities and schedules that would make any birthday a dull celebration. The character of Walt just along with whatever his wife has planned, and doesn’t seem to complain much or have any say in what is happening. The two also have a son named Ollie who we didn’t see much of in the pilot.

The episode begins with Kathryn checking into their campground with a constant mantra of “Party of nine, eight adults, one kid, four nights at the Groupon rate!” Much to her chagrin, she meets the person in charge and learns that for hot water they must ask for the water to be boiled four hours in advance.

Credit: HBO

As the day continues, other members of the party start to trickle in which include Kathryn’s sister Carleen (Ione Skye), her boyfriend Joe (Chris Sullivan), Walt’s friend George (Brett Gelman), George’s girl, Nina-Joy (Janicza Bravo), their recently separated friend Miguel (Arturo Del Puerto), and his new girl, Jandice (Juliette Lewis).

It’s quite the large party with so many different personalities that it throws Kathryn in for a loop. After settling into their tents, Walt tries to get romantic with Kathryn who seems less than interested in having any sort of sexual encounter with her husband. He tells her that the doctor gave her the go-ahead to have sex which leaves us to wonder what was going on with her.

It’s later revealed that Kathryn had a hysterectomy after having their son, and it’s the reason why she resists having sex at all. The campground’s peace is disrupted when Miguel and Jandice show up unexpectedly and Kathryn mistakes them for bears on the campground as she starts shooting with the BB gun given to her by Harry.

Kathryn’s anxiety skyrockets when she realizes what she’s done and continues to rise when they start to stitch Miguel up in less than sanitary conditions. But all is good and well by the next morning as they gather to have breakfast under an allotted time before heading off to the day’s excursion–bird watching.

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As the group approaches a lake, Jandice is amused by it and strips down naked running straight into the water. Naturally, Kathryn is panicking because it’s ruining the plans she had already set in place for them but by the time she tries to pull everyone back, it’s too late.

Everyone follows Jandice right into the water, including Walt and Ollie, leaving Kathryn behind on land as she repeats that their swimming activity is tomorrow, not today. Oh, Kathryn, this is going to be one interesting of Camping isn’t it?