It’s more than clear the kids at Camp Victory have parent and family issues. They have a number of other problems too, but what teenager doesn’t have a bone or two to pick with their mommies and daddies, or resent a brother or sister? It’s a hallmark of growing up. And so tonight’s first installment of “Parent’s Weekend” began to get to the Core of the matter with Wil’s animosity towards her own family, as well as the tension building between other family relations on the show (and how those relations effect their camp relationships). Not all issues were resolved (what would a Part One be without a Part Two?) but this episode was absolutely chocked full of those awkward moments, terrifying realizations, confusing behavior, embarrassing situations and unconditional love that only parents can bring.
Trying to decide which character on the show has it the toughest right now was difficult and almost forced me to devise some kind of pain scoring system to begin determining which person I felt the worst for. “Parent’s Weekend Part I” was an onslaught of tough moments (with a few heartwarming ones here and there), but we’d be hard pressed to find someone struggling more with his situation than Alistair. The kid’s sister ignores him, he’s a homosexual pretending to be straight in order to not disappoint his father, another camper kissed him on a dare and he always just tries to put a smile on everything. Wherein the other characters outwardly struggle with their lots in life (or at least never stop talking about them), Alistair continues to suffer in relative silence.
And while Chloe is pretty much an uber-bitch, it was tough to see her get ignored by Trent even if it was a little comeuppance for her treatment of Alistair all summer. She’s clearly hurt by Trent’s non-introduction to his parents and her efforts at getting him to acknowledge their relationship were futile at best, heart-breaking at worst. But hey, Trent’s got his own issues with a dad whose got a another kid on the way and wanted his son to date the blond not the brunette.
While on the subject of painful parents we’d be remiss without mentioning Amber’s absolute train wreck of a mother. To say Teal (sister named Indigo) was out there would be a massive understatement. Where I think the other campers struggle with their weight because of some societal factor, Amber might be over-eating to escape the nightmare that is her mother. Teal is an over-bearing, loudmouth, hurricane of craziness who clearly doesn’t understand her daughter or any other part of the place we call The World.
Finally, Wil’s struggles with Camp Victory are tough to pinpoint beyond the idea that she wants so badly to hate anything having to do with losing weight. But one thing is clear, she resents the hell out of her parents. And that hatred has clearly effected her other relationships at camp as Becca finally vocalizes (at least to Alistair) her level of frustration with Wil who only worries about numero uno. But Wil isn’t rotten to the core (she wouldn’t be much of a main character if she wasn’t redeemable) and Salty seems the only person who can get through her tough exterior. He shows her the positive attention she needs and almost becomes a different person for it.
Really this was only the tip of the iceberg for the penultimate episode of Huge’s successful first season. I’ll try to sum up some other plot points with a variety of random thoughts at the end, but this episode illustrated a very clear idea: Huge has many stories to tell, too many for just one more hour. This is a good sign for a start-up show as the writers haven’t come close to exhausting the possibilities in a show about camp and kids and parents and counselors and summer and weight and relationships and really everything else in between.
One million other thoughts on a jam-packed episode
- Poor Ian, whose suddenly congenial parents are only getting along to put a nice face on an upcoming divorce, doesn’t even get a mention in the main part of the write up. He certainly could have. What kid wants to find out his parents are splitting up right when it seems they’ve started to get along? Ian is probably the most likable character on the show and one of the few kids (outside of maybe Alistair) who hasn’t shown some kind of dark side.
- Similarly Becca just keeps the hits on coming. She’s been dumped as a friend by Chloe, pretty much dumped by Wil, her grandma died during the year leaving her an orphan (I think) and no one noticed at all. Becca, who might be the most cerebral of the bunch, is self-aware enough to know she’s not in control of her world, but too shy to really ever exert any real confidence in order to change it. That being said, her at least vocalizing some of her disappointment in Chloe and Wil is a step in the right direction.
- A side of effect of being the class clown is that when it’s time to get serious, no one wants to hear it. Just as one Mr. Piz (don’t call me Dante) Piznarski. The kid clearly feels bad about what he did to Alistair, but when you’ve spent a summer making jokes, how could anyone believe an apology?
- Dr. Rand gave us one of the few touching moments of the night in introducing Salty as her dad. And he gave me an equally nice smile with his trademark, “No seconds.”
- It was also a nice touch to keep up the Will and Salty shooting baskets routine from earlier in the season. This is one of those little things Huge well.
- Speaking of the little touches: Another thing Huge does well is have larger problems brought on and exposed in very subtle ways. Of course we the viewers have known Chloe and Alistair were brother and sister, and except for Trent, no one else knew. But instead of there being a big reveal that is a turning point of an episode, the truth comes out at the beginning during group time allowing the rest of the episode to somewhat take shape around other’s confusion. This might not seem like a big deal, but it does get away from some traditional television hallmarks of giving us way too much melodrama.