Mar 23, 2014

Camp Lakebottom: Gay-Positive Summer Camp for Monsters

While tv series aimed at juveniles are always heavily scrutinized to censor all references to gay people, writers often sneak in gay subtexts.  Especially animated series.  Some of the most obvious examples are: Dexter's Laboratory, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Phineas and Ferb, Fairly Oddparents, The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, Adventure Time, and Regular Show

 So I try to catch at least one or two episodes of every new animated series, to see what I can find.

I hit the jackpot with Camp Lakebottom (2013), a Canadian animated cartoon series appearing in the U.S. on Disney XD.

The premise: A boy named McGee (voiced by Scott McCord, left) boards the wrong summer camp bus and ends up at Camp Lakebottom, for monsters.

He befriends two other human kids, the sweet, lovable Squirt (Darren Frost) and tough girl Gretchen (Melissa Altro), to face such dangers as toxic underwear, monstrous marshmallows, a were-chicken, a cursed Frankenstein monster, and the bullying Buttsquat (Carter Hayden), whose family owns rival Camp Sunny Smiles.

To date there have been no episodes about heterosexual dating, crushes, or romances, but several gay-coded characters, including Squirt and:

1. Camp counselor Armand (Adrian Truss), a muscular sasquatch in a purple scarf who is artistic, dramatic, and theatrical

2. Camp handyman Sawyer (Cliff Saunders), a vegetarian zombie whose Mom keeps trying to pressure him into eating brains.  Certainly some gay symbolism there.

The creators are ex-Disney Imagineer and Muppet handler Eric Jacobson, who appeared in a Disney "It Gets Better" video in 2011, and Betsy McGowen, previously Senior Vice President and General manager of Kids WB, who introduced gay subtext shows like Johnny Test and Monster Allergy.

And there are some other gay or gay-positive voices in the cast.

Darren Frost (top photo) is a stand-up comedian whose material is raunchy but always pro-gay.  His routine includes having a gay son. 

Jonathan Wilson (the voice of martinet camp cook Rosebud), is known for his play My Own Private Oshawa, about growing up gay in Ontario.  It was made into a tv movie in 2005.

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