Well, that was… disappointing.
I love Jennifer Garner. Like I seriously adore the woman. However, as much as I’m obsessed with Alias, and found Peppermint to be kickass, I can not defend Camping. This is not a successful comedy pilot.
The problem is in the premise: a neurotic wife decides to celebrate her husband’s 45th birthday by organizing a camping trip for him and a few of their friends. It’s such a strange, uneventful premise, and there’s nothing in this pilot that promises anything worthwhile will pop up in the future. Of course Garner is fantastic. You can give this woman the plainest script, and she will inject a whole lot of gravitas and heart into every single line, but that’s not enough to salvage a show with so little ambition.
In terms of the rest of the cast, David Tennant is practically a non-entity in the pilot (he was so good on Jessica Jones), and only Juliette Lewis and This Is Us’ Chris Sullivan fair a bit better. Lewis gets the pilot’s only laughs but that’s really a case of me forcing myself to remember the moments in which I kind-of-sort-of-maybe cracked a half-smile. Ugh.
Full disclaimer: I’ve never watched Girls, creator Lena Dunham’s most famous creation, so I might be missing something. However, I know what’s funny, and this was not funny. Maybe one more episode? Who am I kidding, I’ll probably watch the whole season because of my Garner-love. God give me strength.
A sadly disappointing offering from HBO. There are very few laughs to be found here and Garner certainly deserves better.