Hump: Whoever was responsible for the ads that ran to promote the newest season of The Challenge: Rivals II, congrats. I watched it — all two hours. Even worse, I got totally immersed in the ridiculously superfluous drama. Why do these people who all seem to make their livelihoods suckling off the MTV reality-show teat hate each other so much? How can someone like CT exist in real life? His explosive personality and machismo are fine for a carefully contained situation where producers and fellow players provoke him for the sake of watchable TV, but can a person like that really survive with such a powder-keg temper outside of the jungle? I’m really asking here as someone who apologizes profusely if I accidentally brush someone’s arm on the streets in New York.
Marry: The new Nancy Botwin has arrived, and she’s streaming on Netflix with all 13 episodes of Jenji Kohan’s new series, Orange is the New Black. Think of it as Oz for women, tinged with Kohan’s signature dark humor. Piper makes artisinal bath products. Available in Barneys! Yet her face and vocal inflection remain as enigmatic and inscrutable as Nancy in her finest Agrestic moments.
Kill: I really must be getting old, because once I learned the plight of Rachel Griffiths’ character on Camp, I couldn’t concentrate on anything else that happened in the pilot. Griffiths plays Mack, the recently divorced owner of Little Otter Family Summer Camp. Her ex-husband wants her to buy him out, so she’s thinking about selling it. After the staff leads the kids in a rousing, inspiring talent show, however, Mack decides that she loves the camp. She loves it so much, in fact, that she takes out a loan on her house to continue financing it.
Now, I’m sure that being the proprietor of a place that brings people fun and joy they might not otherwise have in their lives is very fulfilling. When your finances are in dire straights and all you have to look forward to is leading a group line dance to “Wobble Baby” (this year’s Macarena?) though, it’s time to rethink this whole “camp owner 'til I die” mentality. But, again, I seem to be getting way too practical and boring in my old age, because I’m sitting here talking about the financial situation of a fictional character on a summer show that’s supposed to be about nostalgia and escapism. Pretty sure that wasn’t at the forefront of my mind the first time I saw Wet Hot American Summer.
The money thing wasn’t even the most important part of Mack’s storyline in the pilot. She’s clearly going through a midlife, post-divorce crisis after her husband left her for a younger woman. Anyone in that situation is bound to make a few irrational, unwise decisions. (I seriously can’t believe how much I’m talking about money management right now; somewhere, my dad is fist pumping and shouting, “I got through to her!”) She also starts sleeping with the dashing Australian from across the lake, which I’m pretty sure is the storyline writers will be following throughout the rest of the season, not her zillion trips to the bank and copious check writing. But, what compelling television that would be for me, apparently.
Oh, and here are a few fun facts about Camp to really bring this boring diatribe home: It’s actually an Australian production, so the actors are Australians speaking with American accents. Fans of Dance Academy will recognize a few of them, and hey, there’s the love interest from Coyote Ugly (Adam Garcia) playing one-half of a gay couple.
Photo: Courtesy of MTV; Courtesy of Jill Greenberg for Netflix; Courtesy of Vince Valitutti/NBC