I recently watched Camp Camp Season 3 Episode 1 and well... it stayed with me. Keep in mind that this was made in order to express my toughts and ways I consider the show could improve and in no way made to be mean to the staff or fans.
I posted this on the youtube video but I'll probaly be ignored over there so I post it here as well.
This will be long so feel free to ignore but I would be happy if you could leave me a comment and discuss this with me.
This episode showed me something very wrong with the way you are making your shows, easily put I sense like no charm from Camp Camp. It's supposed to be a comedy show that tricks you into believing its a cutesy kids show but ending up with a lot of more mature content, it's actually kind of clever in that regard and could have worked nicely but here lies the problem: the way it is managed has no charm to it.
Sure, it's fun from time to time but it mostly has no substance to it, no real character growth (more on that later) and it's characters while fun they don't really feel that unique and most of them feel recycled from other kids shows and one dimensional for the most part.
Take for example Nurf. At first glance he is the typicall bully, on closer inspection he is actually intelligent to some degree and can be polite once in a while. Other characters with the same traits are Nelson from The Simpsons and Buford from Phineas and Ferb, the difference being that the later two often show other parts of themselves besides what's in the surface and we can actually feel even more interested in them than the main characters in the episodes where they are put in the spotlight. They might continue being secundary characters but we don't forget the impact the left us in those episodes. Even when he is confronted from being a bully in one episode we never really see consequences to that event, he keeps being a bully in later episodes if not my physical violence by verbal abuse.
This leads me to my main complaint: there is no character grow. Don't missunderstand, the endings of the first and second seasons are magnificent and easily the best episodes from the series, I've even recommended the show to friends just so they can watch those scenes. They seem like perfect examples of character growth but the characters end up feeling the same, Max still feels like he hates Camp Campbell and David is as enthusiastic as ever.
The comedy in this episode exemplifies the rest of the episodes: humor that mainly shows the worst sides of people, makes fun of it and relies on gross imagery. That can be fun, examples of this are Ren and Stimpy, Rick and Morty and even the first seasons of Sponge Bob. The thing about those shows is that what makes us laugh are the situations the characters end up in, the fact that something absurd happened to characters we love and most importantly that they focus on making the situation funny. Take for example the pictures of the quartermaster, they are gross, but the thing is first you make something funny and if it happens to be gross that's fine. The thing is Camp Camp's punchlines are usually shock humor, something that happens unexpectedly and that fools us into thinking it's funny. Take for example the scene where Max, Nikky and Neil end up finding the sex dungeon of the elders, the punchline is "hey. We are old and we are kinky", in this episode the punchline being "hey. People are horrible". Some people are into this kind of humor but to me Rooster Teeth has done better humor and they shouldn't rely on such weak tactics. Of course humor is subjective so I would understand if people disagree.
But your opinion as a critic doesn't matter if you can't come up with something better yourself so here's what the series could have and can still do.
Maybe after David almost dies in the ending of the first season the campers sympathize with him and feel like trying a little to enjoy the camp even if it's not really that good. This happens only for a few minutes at the end of season 1 but not in later episodes. Max still feels unhappy and as we later find out it's because his parents don't really care about him being there, after David and Gwen take him to eat pizza he starts to show a little enthusiasm towards camp activities, not necessarily because he likes the camp but because he remembers David's words to him.
So now in this season the camp is broke and David is the first one to notice this but being himself he keeps this a secret from everyone and tries to save the camp himself so he doesn't worry the others. Pretty quickly Gwen finds out about this and notices how stressed David is, because of this she gives him some money saying that she has been saving so she can start her own business showing she wants to move forward after not being employed by any companies. David of course could refuse but Gwen tells him to take it because the camp means a lot to him and she wants to help the only one that supported her. This could lead to some episodes where we follow Gwen and this small business or maybe even the campers volunteering to help her. It could also be used to show that David and her can be close friends, with David helping her with some small stuff or even helping her study how to make a successful business. Maybe David can still be butthurt about her ex and Gwen can introduce to him some of her friends or even making him move on, just to show that the both of them truly care for each other as friends and can rely on the other.
Maybe the money Gwen gives David still isn't enough, Max who happens to hear their conversation enters the scene. Both of them fear what Max can do with the info but he instead chooses to help them showing that he has grown to appreciate them for what they did. Max being himself then tells them that he wants whatever extra money they make, this way showing that he is still him or that he is a bit shy and doesnt want them to know his true feelings.
It might not be a perfect idea but tell me which would you watch? An episode where we can see real character growth or an episode where two good people get hurt while children and adults laught at them?
The show has a lot of potential but it has a lot of flaws that can easily be solved to turn this into a legendary cartoon. Rooster Teeth has a formula where their shows have a lot of meh or maybe above average episodes and the truly excellent ones are always left for the end of the season which makes sense, the problem being the rest of the season is not that memorable. I love Rooster Teeth and I actually like Camp Camp but I only watch their series once in a while and most of the time they aren't that memorable. I've actually recommended Camp Camp to some of my friends and I can only tell them "The last episodes of the seasons are great, they are truly marvelous but you might struggle to get to them. There isn't really anything of importance in the rest of the season but you should still watch them at least to get to know the characters".
You just need to remember: what we like are good characters. If you make good characters you will love watching them in any situation.