Thursday, May 19, 2016

First Impressions: Camp WWE


Updated To Include The Video Log Version
Hello and Welcome To The Basement…

Camp WWE has been a bit of a surprise… sure it’s yet another of the ‘take adult characters and make them kids’ trope that we’ve seen with the Flintstone Kids and a Pup Named Scooby Doo…. But unlike those shows which were based on cartoons… Camp WWE has characters based on the Superstars and starlets of well… the WWE.

Produced by Seth Green’s Stoopid Buddies Stoodios and airing via on-deman on the WWE Network due to it being TV-MA… Camp WWE is sorta of a weird mix of Muppet Babies, South Park and Ren & Stimpy… and yes that is the best way to describe it. Set at a camp ran by Vince McMahon,  populated by kid parodies of various members of the roster, like John Cena, Paige and Undertaker… with counselors Ric Flair, Sgt. Slaughter, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.

Now it’s safe to say that while the animation can look a little wonky at times, the strength of the show is its voice acting and its writing. From the earliest days of cartoons, any thing the animation lacks, can be covered with sharp writing and a great voice cast, case in point, the Rocky & Bullwinkle Show.

Which means this, solid writing needs a talented voice cast to pull it off, and Camp WWE has it.

Lead by Vince McMahon voicing his character with probably more enthusiasm than he does when it comes to content seen on Monday Night RAW, along with others like Ric Flair, Jake The Snake Roberts Sgt. Slaughter and Ric Flair voicing their animated counterparts which are very over the top (Ric Flair banging anything with a pulse, Vince having an ego the size of Pangaea) … with the exception of Slaughter… which seems closer to how the character was on GI Joe back in the 80s. Having access to the ‘celebrity’ cast helps establishes this ‘warped’ alternate reality.

Now The kids however, have a rather talented group of voice actors, because voicing kid characters is a fine art and there is no way the WWE Superstars and starlets could do it the way this group does. Featuring Ashley Bornancin tacking the roles of John Cena and The Rock, Evan Michael Lee voicing Mark Henry, David Brown supplying the vocals for the Undertaker and Triple H, and Aly Fainbarg doing voices for Steve Austin, The Bellas, Stephanie McMahon and Paige… there may be other voice actors but I haven’t been able to track them down yet, but this talented group is able to put a great spin on these characters, spoofing them on certain character  trademarks while creating something unique.

Now of the first three episodes, the one that I think works the best is the third episode, titled Survival Weekend… Sgt. Slaughter takes a group of campers out to teach them how to survive but Paige wants to be with her friends… the Undertaker gets separated from the group and discovers the wonder of nature… while Mr. McMahon takes advantage to mess with the campers’ belongings… and there’s the crazy mountain man Jake Roberts who has devious intentions…

This episode features a wide variety of characters, an interweaving plot that kept everything flowing nicely… plus it shows off the animation in the best possible light, showing the smoothness, unique character designs and obvious influence of a lot of the sitcom cartoons of the 70s.

If there is a weakness to the show, it’s the over reliance of ‘in-jokes’ that only WWE fans would get and the use of WWE Theme music kind of takes me as a viewer out of the show, but the positives far out weight the negatives.

The verdict is this, if you have the WWE Network and haven’t watched Camp WWE, give it a shot.

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