'Camping' co-creator Jenni Konner states that the show is tonally similar to 'Girls'
Just like 'Girls', 'Camping' also received several criticisms for its 'unlikable' protagonists, however, there are reasons for that.
There have been speculations about HBO's 'Camping' being very much similar to Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner's former show, 'Girls.' While that might be true considering the female character sketching and the kind of traits that have been drawn on them, Dunham and Konner's latest show 'Camping' is a far cry from the creators' previous show. However, there are still some extremely striking similarities between the two shows.
Co-creator, Jenni Konner, who recently ended her eight years of production partnership with Dunham, explained that the two shows are tonally extremely similar. 'Girls' was a millennial coming-of-age story about Hannah (played by Dunham) and her group of friends who don't quite seem to be friends in the first look. While the show was overtly criticized for not upholding the strong bond between women as it had apparently promised to do, it did give out a prominent message signifying that a girl-on-girl squabble can get just as ugly as a boy-on-boy fight.
While 'Camping' does retain this particular trait, it certainly has shifted from being another urban legend to a more pastoral parody.
About putting the characters in the heart of nature, which although appears to be limitless but has its own limitations, Konner stated to The Ringer, "I’ve always loved 'The Big Chill,' and I love that movie 'The Anniversary Party.' I love this idea that when people are trapped together, they have to stop faking it."
The characters in 'Camping' are certainly nothing like the millennial, ill-starred women of 'Girls.' Instead, they are adults who are trying to be as polite as possible in an environment which is otherwise peaceful and far from the bustling nitty-gritty of the city. Konner said while addressing this aspect of the show, "The girls of 'Girls' didn’t really think about consequences, but these women do. In 'Girls' there was not repressing anything. It was like, ‘This is my deal! You better know it immediately!’ That kind of fighting. It’s just interesting, I think, to have grown women trying not to fight, and trying to hold it in. Because that’s now considered polite society, right? They’re trying not to make things worse.”
Probably one other thing that could be similar between 'Girls' Hannah and 'Camping's Kathryn (played by Jennifer Garner) is that both the characters have been deemed as "unlikable" by all critics. Although it might seem that as a writer who never writes, and as a wife who has almost taken away her husband's dignity, both Hannah and Kathryn are difficult to relate to; yet it cannot be ignored that we begin to grow into the characters and ultimately love them.
While the cast lashed out at the critics during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Dunham stated, "I can't believe that we're still having a conversation about unlikable women on television. It doesn't matter if you like our lead character. It truly doesn't matter. What matters is that you relate and you understand."
Both Dunham and Konner have always created characters who are to relate to for the simple reason that they are real in their emergence. Unfortunately, the two women had split ways last summer, and Konner is still trying to figure out what she would like to do next. "I’m having a lot of meeting with people and being like, ‘What do you think TV is now?’...I always think of this Neil LaBute thing. People always say, who am I supposed to like in this play? No one! Like your friends!"