'Camping' Preview: Five things to expect from Lena Dunham's upcoming HBO show
While 'Girls' was a portrayal of what 20-something girls can be when it comes to friendship, 'Camping' might just be an adult version of it.
Lena Dunham has probably stepped out of her comfort zone for the very first time, and the former 'Girls' actor/creator has literally taken things outdoors with her latest show.
While her millennial defining show dealt with the intimate details about a 20-something girl's life, her latest show 'Camping' takes it a step further. This time it will be about a group of adults who are thrust in the heart of nature only to find out that sometimes the outside can be just as claustrophic as the inside.
As 'Camping' is set to release on HBO on Sunday, October 14 at 10 pm, this is the last time that the 'Girls' creator duo, Dunham and her eight years production partner Jenni Konner have worked on a show together.
Before speculating if 'Camping' will end up being just an adult version of 'Girls', it is probably better to consider that 'Camping' comes at a time in Dunham's life when she is already going through a lot. Other than the split with Konner, the actress has recently undergone a hysterectomy which followed her break up with her boyfriend of five years, Jack Antonoff.
The 'Camping' creator also missed the premiere on Wednesday due to a chronic illness, about which she shared some details on Instagram. The 32-year-old left out a hint which suggests that she is about to say yet another story of her own life through Kathryn, played by Jennifer Garner in the show. Dunham wrote in the post, "If you want to see a kooky but achy portrait of what chronic illness does to a woman’s brain, Kathryn Mcsorley-Jodell in 'Camping' is just that." As the show's release is just around the corner, here the top 5 things that can be expected from the show:
1. The physical insufficiency
As already mentioned, Dunham has stated in her post that Kathryn will depict her bodily inabilities that are often triggered by a chronic illness. Garner's character Kathryn has been portrayed in the trailers as an uptight woman, who likes to dominate and take control of things. However, one thing that is prominent in her appearance is her gait. Kathyrn tends to walk with a certain double-step pace where there is a clear difference in the distance and timing between the steps. Chronic pain might give rise to inflammatory arthritis which might result in that odd way of walking.
Kathryn is also a woman who considers herself "Instagram Famous" with just 11,000 followers with whom she shares matter involving chronic pain (she explains in a scene, "mostly women living with chronic pain"). It can be considered, hence, that Kathryn will be a representation of Dunham's physical discomfort.
2. An abusive relationship
Dunham's character in 'Girls', the self-loathing-never-working writer, Hannah, was pretty popular as a character, and her relationship with the reluctant easy-going Adam (played by Adam Driver) was probably the best portrayal of what an abusive relationship can be like. While Adam kept cheating on Hannah, and the two eventually parted ways, he was still allowed to have an extremely intimate place in Hannah's life. However, it was Hannah who suffered the most in the relationship. She was basically the only one in the relationship, and it certainly took her a very long time to realize that.
Similarly, while Kathryn has been presented as the dominating, control freak, obsessive woman, her husband Walt (played by David Tennant) is clearly the submissive one. Walt is portrayed as an extremely loving and caring husband, who, however, has probably been beaten to the ground by Kathryn to a point where he no longer knows who he is.
During a recent interview with InStyle, Garner explained, "I think that she has beaten him down to the point where he doesn't even know that he doesn't have a voice anymore. And then that's not attractive, and she feels like she has to do everything, and that's not attractive, and she's a nightmare and doesn't have sex with him, and that's not [good]. So they're definitely in a bad cycle, and there's no reason for them to get out."
3. "Itchy and Scratchy" moments
Everyone remembers the two horrendous Itchy and Scratchy from Matt Groening's 1989 (it's still running today on its 30th Season) show, 'The Simpsons'. The cat and mouse chase was more than often violent, and was certainly not the most appropriate thing to be termed as a "kid's show". Unlike the most familiar cat and mouse duo, Tom and Jerry, Itchy and Scratchy took their fights to another level where they could easily murder each other. Dunham's show which brings together a group of couples is probably set to give us some quick run down memory lane with its own "Itchy and Scratchy" moments.
Probably the most prominent "Itchy and Scratchy" moments will be of that between Kathryn and Jandice (played by Juliette Lewis), who is an absolute contrast to Kathryn's character. A cigarette smoking, model-and-artist who believes that it is really the doctors who kill you, unlike Kathryn, Jandice is comfortably settled in her own body. She speaks from a state of authority with confidence and believes in her own sense of wisdom. Certainly, Jandice is everything that Kathryn stands against and we can be pretty sure, that these two will definitely bring back a lot of memories from 'Girls'.
Based on Julia Davis' 2016 mini-series, 'Camping', Dunham has more or less left every character in their place. With a similar background of a warm, sunny countryside (only this time outside Los Angeles), Dunham has kept the basic narrative elements intact -- the tormenting Kathryn and her stressed-out husband, Walt, her day-dreaming sister who is played by Ione Skye, and Kathryn's absolute opposite, the free-spirited, jovial, healer/DJ/model, Jandice.
However, Dunham being who she is, did not leave the casting there. While her previous show 'Girls' was criticized quite a lot for its sheer whiteness and the lack of colored characters, the actress seems to have made sure that the same does not occur in 'Camping'.
Dunham, along with co-creator Jenni Konner, has also brought in some interesting additions to the character-scape. We will get to see a sulky teenager who hails from a biracial background, and the real-life husband and wife, who will be played by Brett Gelman ('Stranger Things') and Janicza Bravo ('Lemon'). The interesting part is while on one hand, Dunham and Konner have placed the story of a biracial teenager who finds herself thrust among these neurotic adults, on the other hand, the new couple will have a subplot about racial microaggressions.
5. Break-up takes an overtone
No, we are not talking about a normal break-up between a boy and a girl who once shared something romantic. It is much less hurtful than two associates parting ways due to their creative differences. While Dunham is popularly known for spilling out her life on scripts through her characters, it wouldn't be surprising to know if 'Camping' is overshadowed by her recent split with Jenni Konner, who has been her production partner for over eight years. Although the duo did work on the series together, and the news of their split only came in July at the time of the show's wrap-up, it is pretty evident that 'Camping' was their last show together.
Konner has taken the split on a positive note, while Dunham stated that the reason behind the split was nothing other than creative selfishness, as she says, "after everything I’ve dealt with — in the public eye, with my body, personally — I’m about to embark on a period of creative selfishness, and that’s something that’s important for me to do.”
Probably this vague feud between the two show-creators will find a place in Dunham's show in her classic style, and there are high chances that the two characters who represent Dunham and Konner will be Kathryn and Jandice, who clearly do not see each other eye-to-eye.