After two weeks of nagging by loyal TVgasm readers, I finally decided to check out Brat Camp last night on ABC. I was not disappointed. No, I’m not saying that it was good or even enjoyable. I was simply satisfied in knowing how right I was for staying away. On the one hand, I feel badly for these kids for the deep emotional issues they grapple with. But on the other hand, must we force a camera in their faces and make them cry on national television? After all, what better way to boost a kid’s self-esteem than by exposing them to the ridicule of asshole blogs like this one! Perhaps most objectionable though (at least for me, as an avid television watcher) is the fact that this hour-long, neo-hippie, feel-good program is just merely a more bloated version of any old Sally Jesse Raphael show, except now we’re supposed to actually care about these wounded children. What happened to the days of booing at the proudly slutty bitch or the cocky asshole rebel? Back then, we liked watching these kids get their comeuppance as some beefy drill sergeant barked at them for hours on end. Alas, I guess that sort of sensationalism doesn’t necessarily promote “growth,” whatever that is, so it’s off to the Oregon desert to build a fire, scale a cliff, and have Mother Raven heal our troubled youth. Can’t wait for her book deal!
Thoughts on last night’s episode after the jump…Well, I wasn’t paying that close of attention the first ten minutes or so, but I did notice the narrator emphasizing the need to boost all these kids’ self-esteem. And nothing does that better than forever labeling them “compulsive liar,” “steals from mom,” “self-destructive drug user,” and “angry punk.” You know by season five, they’ll simply be calling them “asshole,” “bitch,” “slut.” Yes, kids, you may be growing and overcoming your demons, but rest assured, every time you turn on ABC, you’ll still be remembered as a “Brat.”
And before you all pull out your quill pens and write a nasty letter, please know that I was being facetious. Anyway, enjoy our minute-by-minute commentary (with assistance from J-Unit and TVgasm friend, ZL).
Jada rappels down a cliff and announces, “I was really not scared at all.” Whatever, COMPULSIVE LIAR!
Isaiah happily descends down the cliff. Man, that’s one angry punk.
Heather, the habitual runaway, has arrived at the bottom of the cliff. Psssst. Maybe you should keep her in that harness, yes?
Wouldn’t it be awesome if one of these kids was like The Mole? You know, actually a good kid pretending to be bad? Now THAT would make this show interesting.
By the way, props to ABC for making sure to keep all the kids from the ghetto off this show. You know how it is with them, “gangs rule my neighborhood this” and “society marginalizes me that.” We need to make sure we save the kids who are in the most danger: upper-middle class suburbanites!
One of the Sagewalk guys (Pine Cone? Dandelion? Mildew?) encourages Lexie to descend down the cliff. “Walk backwards. Just like Batman.” Is Batman known for his Moonwalking? Actually, maybe now isn’t the greatest time to make Michael Jackson references.
Back at camp, the kids chow down on some nasty porridge worthy of a Catholic orphanage. Mother Raven really cooks up some solid gruel, doesn’t she? The secret ingredient? Ravens.
Speaking of Mother Raven (not to be confused with Forgive or Forget’s Mother Love), she returns to counsel Lauren about the death of her father. Yeah, I only wanted to make fun of the random gnawed carrots in this scene, but I think I’ll just move on before my conscience completely kills me.
Honestly, what’s the deal with these names? Boulder? Mother Raven? Glacier? Aspen? I’m pretty sure we’re watching a cult at this point.
Lauren emotes about her father’s passing. Boulder hugs her and says, “I’m proud of you.” He then adds, “Uh, what’s the name on your back? Ah, that’s right. Lauren. Yes, Lauren. I’m proud of you.”
Lexie hurts herself gathering wood. Oh well. There goes all the self-esteem from the cliff.
Ah. “Little Big Bear.” Is there a Big Big Bear? Or a Little Little Bear? Big Little Bear? Medium-sized economy bear?
Isaiah: “Bow drill? What is that?” I’ve never SEEN a more angry punk! I mean, he made fun of bow drilling!!!
“Fire Shaper” tells Isaiah to tend the fire. Um, I believe you’re the one named Fire Shaper, jerk.
Isaiah: “I just made fire with a shoelace and two sticks!” Now let’s burn down the school!!!!
“Me and Isaiah had a pretty good breakthrough. He had been feeling me out and seeing if he could trust me, but I think we overcame that,” said Fire Shaper proudly. That night, Fire Shaper was found burned to death in his sleeping bag.
Great. Another stupid name. “Mountain Wind.” Apparently, she enjoys the “Mountain Burrito.”
Now it’s time to focus on Nick and his dyslexia. Because of his learning disability, he’s become self-conscious and angry. He even tried to stab his twin. Hey, Nick, why don’t you try stabbing someone your own size? Oh wait, he is your own size. Never mind.
We see Nick’s almost-stabbed brother. Hey, it’s Harry Potter! Why would Nick try to stab Harry Potter? He’s a child wizard!
“The Sagewalk team is determined to teach Nick a skill he can be proud of,” says the announcer as Boulder teaches Nick the art of the bow drill fire. Yes, this will come in handy on the SATs. Cut to Nick building a fire on his desk.
Nick finally gets fire. Okay, he’s cured now. NEXT!
The show eventually ends with beaded necklaces being handed out to the kids who improved the most over the week. Yay!