Photo Credit: Vince Valitutti/NBC
There are two kinds of people in the world: 1.) Those who love Rachel Griffiths and will follow her across the TV dial wherever she goes, be it Six Feet Under, or Brothers & Sisters, or, say, Ladies Reading the Phone Book. And 2.) Those who still need a little extra something (like an entertaining story) to watch her work her thespian magic.
Happily, there may be something for both groups in NBC's Camp, the summer dramedy that has brought Griffiths back to prime time, starting Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET. She plays Mackenzie "Mack" Granger, the earnestly peppy director of a struggling summer sleep-away camp. Yes, you can expect the typical camp tropes, like silly bunkbed pranks and young counselors on a mission to lose their virginity. But the Little Otters Family Camp caters to families, which means Mack is dealing with children of all ages: homesick kids, sex-crazed teens, and grumbling adult friends who'd fit in with the cul de sac crew on Cougar Town.
But she's got a can-do attitude! Despite being recently dumped by her husband, turning her into a single mom to her teen son (Charles Grounds), Mack valiantly troubleshoots the ongoing irritations of homesick kids and Capture the Flag games gone wrong. There's also a rival camp director (Roger Corser) across the lake to contend with, a smug jerk who wants to buy the property out from under her.
Not surprisingly, TV reviewers have given Griffiths higher marks than the show itself. "Thanks to Ms. Griffiths, Mack… is an appealing heroine," says The New York Times. "The series has charm woven into predictable storylines."
The Los Angeles Times calls Griffiths a "versatile performer" and a "master of seductive astringency." Also: "There are moments when Camp works -- the dialogue can be snappy, the performers are all up to the task -- but they are too few and only serve to hint at the show this might have been if the creators and the network had the courage to create something new and different, or at least had another listen to Allan Sherman's "Camp Granada."
Hmmm. On second thought, the show might actually be best suited for people in that first, obsessed-with-Rachel-Griffiths group. But even if that's not you, why not check out the sneak peek below?
Jennifer Graham Kizer is an Atlanta-based writer who covers pop culture and watches too much TV. Luckily, iVillage gives her an excuse to watch even more. Follow her on Google+.