3 Hours Left to Support a Troper-Created Project : Personal Space (discuss)


Holy Cartoon Bomb, Batman!

Batman became Camp. In those days, Camp was a fairly serious intellectual enterprise. Kids take it literally, but when adults see it, they realize it's comedic.
Denny O Neil, Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle

Derives from the French gay community's slang term se camper, meaning "to pose in an exaggerated fashion". The term "Camp" morphed into referring to a sensibility that revels in artifice, stylization, theatricality, irony, playfulness, and exaggeration rather than content, as Susan Sontag famously defined the term in her short essay "Notes on Camp". Don't expect it to take itself the least bit seriously.

The main debates concerning the term are twofold:
  1. How such an aesthetic relates to intentionality: whether camp deliberately cultivated ("high" camp) is the same to that of the unintentional kind ("low" camp).
  2. Whether the term relies too much on the elitist notion that popular culture cannot also be enjoyed by a sophisticated sensibility, except through a condescending or distancing label.

See also Camp Gay, Macho Camp and Camp Straight. Compare So Bad, It's Good, Stylistic Suck and Narm Charm. Related to Large Ham and World of Ham. Not to be confused with the movie Camp, nor has anything to do with a Camping Episode.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The opening theme to Big O is an homage to the Flash Gordon theme.
  • The newest incarnation of the Cutey Honey anime, Re Cutey Honey, is deliberately rendered in a psychedelic, humorous 1970s-style exaggeration of the franchise's infamous violence and Fanservice. The live action movie is similar.
  • Mobile Fighter G Gundam uses a hammy, posing, comically serious style from start to finish, all the more noticeable in a franchise that until then was known for being dramatic and semi-realistic. Where earlier designs were clean and sober, the giant robots here look like an American footballer with boxing gloves on a surfboard, Sailor Moon, or a windmill. The combatants pose in latex bodysuits that link their movements to their robots, making the melée fighting close and personal in contrast to the detached, calculating feel of other entries. Every aspect is exaggerated to the point of ridicule, from the absurdity of the premise, past the national stereotypes, ringing voices and power-ups by willpower that flash the whole robot red, to the finale that sees hundreds of different robots rally to save the world. Like it or not, it is a deliberate choice with fully intended comedy.
  • Sailor Moon can fall under this trope sometimes, especially the first season. The Super Sentai-type fights are one indicator of this.
  • Code Geass actually brings a rather large component of camp to everything from its voice acting (Lelouch, Lloyd and the Emperor are the most obvious examples), elaborate outfits and posing (see almost every time Zero gives a public speech), over-the-top events, crazy robot power-ups and many other elements. Not much of a surprise if you realize the director previously made Scryed and GUN◊SWORD, plus was also part of the staff who worked on Mobile Fighter G Gundam.
  • Star Driver, as one might expect from a Super Robot show produced by the Ouran High School Host Club team, is absolutely dripping in camp. The male lead is the only one with a Magical Girl-worthy Transformation Sequence, for example. It's just pure FABLUOUSness. But watch it for the gorgeous animation.
  • If Yoshiyuki Tomino is in a good mood while directing a Humongous Mecha show, chances are good that it'll fall into this. If not well...
  • Valvrave the Liberator seems to run purely on camp. One of the enemy factions is literally Space Nazis complete with Gratuitous German, and every episode seems to strive to add some twist even more insane than the one before.
  • Jojos Bizarre Adventure: the anime's 2nd OP is a good demonstration of the glam Bishōnen action, but you can't realize how Campy it is until you perform or see the poses in real life, which caught on first with fans and spread to other anime and Japanese idols and celebrities.
  • Powerpuff Girls Z. More so than the original American show. Being a Magical Girl show, it's to be expected.
  • Yugioh has its lapses into this due to its premise in which card games are Serious Business and its English dub's hammy voice acting.


    Live-Action TV 
  • Probably no TV show had as much intentional camp as its central focus than did the live-action Batman from the 1960s. Notorious for putting the prefix "bat-" in front of everything Batman did or used, and for Adam West's portrayal of Batman as a constantly emoting expositionist who had but one tone of voice no matter the situation. However, many of the people involved with the production debate the label as needlessly denigrating to the hard work they put into the show's elements of farce.
    • In his essay Batman, Deviancy and Camp, Andy Medhurst goes so far as to say the best definition of camp could be "sort of like the Batman TV show." Adam West has apparently made a career out of playing campy superheroes. Occasionally he even plays himself as if he thought he was a superhero.
    • West mentioned during interviews that he deliberately played up some 'campy' aspects of the show — it was, apparently, a necessity, as only part of his face was visible, and he had to find another way to express emotion.
    • Nowadays, the animated Batman: The Brave and the Bold series and its video game adoption has picked up the camp role. Besides its surprising emphasis on more obscure, cheesier villains, the show also gave us the Music Meister, a villain who controls the will of others by singing like Neil Patrick Harris.
    • The Mexican dub was even campier, the prefix "bat-" was changed to "bati-", and the characters got ridiculous dub names such as "Gatúbela" for Catwoman or "El Guasón" for The Joker (Even when the card is generally referred as "joker" in Spanish) and Bruce Wayne was changed to the more Hispanic Bruno Díaz. The dub was so successful that even today the characters are known officially as that even in later Darker and Edgier adaptations.
  • The original Battlestar Galactica series.
  • Blake's 7. Especially the villains.
  • Burkes Law. A Millionaire Playboy who also happens to be a police captain rides to crime scenes in a chauffeured Rolls Royce. The murders he investigates are almost always rather baroque and sometimes even excessively complex and the suspects are usually members of The Beautiful Elite of Los Angeles.
  • Doctor Who has flirted with camp on-and-off throughout its various incarnations. This was partly out of necessity, due to the low budget. However, camp is, in some ways, inherent in its premise: It's a world where the hero triumphs (usually deflating any attempts at seriousness in the process) by virtue of being gallant, romantic, and stoic in the British tradition. In Whovian circles, this push-pull dynamic between camp and drama is known as "Guns and Frocks", a term taken from one of the New Adventures novels. The Sixth Doctor, when confronted with a choice between fending off the villains with rifles or frocks, sides with frocks. The Doctor will always win in the most outlandish, silly way possible, because the alternative would be to resort to violence, which is against the franchise's philosophy.
    • This is not to say Who doesn't indulge in deconstruction now and again. The aforementioned New Adventures novels turned the Terrence Dicks interpretation of the Doctor ("Neither cruel nor cowardly") on its head: In Love and War, the Doctor still behaves like the children's hero we all know and adore - even parroting the same Dicks catchphrases - while simultaneously doing thoroughly fiendish things. This contradiction later surfaced on the Doctor Who spinoff Torchwood, most notably with the flamboyant pansexual immortal child killer Captain Jack — about as schizo a character as you can come up with.
    • The new series, faced with the terrifying prospect of a reasonable budget and cheap and high-quality special effects being widely available by that point, perhaps overcompensated for this by having a Darker and Edgier Doctor - one who was now the Last of His Kind, wore Nazi clothes and a shaved head and had committed double genocide as Back Story - fighting mostly extremely goofy comedy monsters over his short run, with the notable exception being the Daleks, a "serious" but legendarily campy 50s B-Movie-like monster played painfully straight here. The worry was that, with good special effects, the Narm Charm responsible for a lot of the campy appeal would be lost, and so it had to be added by replacing "low camp" with "high camp" - not least to avoid traumatising children (which the original series cared about much less, being by far the goriest show on the BBC at the time). By the second series, the Doctor got more mellow and the monsters got spookier, finding what is generally agreed to be a less mediocre middle ground - and it's still camp as hell.
    • Even some of the Nu-Who music comes under this - composer Murray Gold, when creating a Leitmotif for the Doctor's alien-ness, was deliberately asked to do it as a Cliché Storm, so he went with an operatic One-Woman Wail. This was nicknamed by him "Flavia's Theme", after an extremely campy One-Scene Wonder Time Lady in the story "The Five Doctors", who he could imagine singing it. It's deliberately overly dramatic, but at the same time hits exactly the emotional button it's supposed to push - both Angst and the promise of adventure.
    • The costume designs under John Nathan-Turner's tenure as producer were done this way for merchandising reasons, probably inspired by the Iconic Outfit appeal of the Fourth Doctor's scarf - the Doctors went from dressing in a somewhat bohemian, anachronistic approach to whatever is mainstream fashion of the day, into dressing in blatant costume, with red question-mark motifs and occasionally really hideous colour schemes. Many fans agree this crossed over into What The Hell Costuming Department, especially with the Sixth and Seventh Doctors, though the JN-T Fourth Doctor outfit is generally agreed to be flattering and quite good.
    • Some of the scores in the late 80s. Italo Disco Daleks, anyone?
    • The Rani, a ridiculous Large Ham Mad Scientist character written specifically in a 'gay icon' style.
    • The score of the official "Shada" reconstruction shot for this (alongside Retraux) as it was a late 80s-era Doctor Who scorer doing a very knowing pastiche of the 70s style scores, but it is generally agreed upon to be distracting, inappropriate and just really nasty to listen to.
    • Lampshaded in David Tennant and Catherine Tate's "Let's Do It" video in which Tate's Julie Gardner asked Tennant's Russell T. Davies, "let's revamp - make more camp - a sci-fi show from yesteryear".
  • The video for Sweden's 2007 Eurovision entry, "The Worrying Kind" by The Ark, is three minutes of pure, distilled camp. And who could forget 2006 winners Lordi - a Finnish heavy metal group, adorned in full-body monster costumes, which sings about the "Day of Rockening"? Combine for maximum powah!
  • Giant Robo. Look at the costumes!!
  • Both Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess delved into this with gusto. The latter is a heavily self-aware and unapologetic cult show about scantily-clad sapphic warriors fighting crime. Next item.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus featured an exhibition of Close-Order Swanning About.
    Drill Sergeant: Squad! Camp it... UP!
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 is a presentation of campy movies lampooned for your enjoyment. The sketches between movie segments tended toward the delightfully campy as well.
    Tom Servo: Well, time to start camping. You dress up as Oscar Wilde, and I'll sing NoŽl Coward songs.
  • Pee-Wee's Playhouse
  • Power Rangers and its parent series Super Sentai. It went for a Darker and Edgier setup for some of it's later seasons, though. After Power Rangers RPM, Saban bought the rights back from Disney and the show went back to its campy roots with Power Rangers Samurai.
  • Special Unit 2, an original series on UPN.
  • Tales of the Gold Monkey had more than its share.
  • The bread, butter, and jam of The Aquabats! Super Show!.
  • Sherlock borrows the aesthetics and Mood Lighting of gritty crime drama and uses it as window dressing for incredibly silly, implausible stories that take place in a world of movies and setting-transplanted pulp Victorian fiction rather than in the real world. This is partially demonstrated by how much joy it takes in Painting the Fourth Wall, and also in how much the dialogue implicitly mocks its own premise and characters while at the same time being in no way a Self-Parody. It is mostly able to handle its acute self-exaggeration and ridiculousness through extremely high-quality acting which plays it all exactly as straight as it has to be, making Sherlock himself The Comically Serious. Then there's the individual character Moriarty, who embodies all of this in himself alone.

  • Kevin Ayers features in possibly the gayest, most outrageously camp, music videos ever committed to tape. His 1973 hit Carribean Moon has all the gayness buttons deliberately racked up way past eleven. Julian clary would look like a macho straight. The video is also hilarious.
  • David Bowie, especially his stage persona of Ziggy Stardust in The '70s.
  • Everything Doctor Steel - or his fans - do is done consciously and conspicuously over the top.
  • The artist Gunther embodies camp, mullet and all. Witness the glory that is the Ding Dong Song.
  • Michael Jackson sometimes was intentionally campy, most famously with the song and video for "Bad", where he dances in a leather jacket to impress some gang members that he is "bad" like them.
  • Klaus Nomi, an eccentric pop star dressed in theatrical costumes who sings in an operatic voice on albums like Klaus Nomi and Simple Man.
  • Lady Gaga, who claims inspiration from the above two. "He ate my heart, and then he ate my brain!"
  • Ke$ha's music is loaded with over-the-top teen party imagery, cheesy lyrics, silly youth slang, and an exaggerated Valley Girl accent autotuned up the wazoo.
  • Kylie Minogue's career is practically built on this trope. See "Your Disco Needs You" and her Light Years album.
  • Queen's sound was essentially this combined with the Epic Riff and/or Epic Rocking. Lead singer Freddie Mercury was a decidedly Macho Camp variety of bisexual and loved to dress in fur and leather (and sported a Porn Stache later in his career).
  • Steps, even by The '90s pop standard. The three mains traits of the band were exaggerated dance moves, cheesey, happy music and bright colours and costume worn by the members. Like the Batman television series, it was intentionally camp.
  • Rob Zombie. His stage act self-consciously uses every bad cliche ripped from B-Movie Slasher Flicks, and yet he obviously has an affectionate attitude towards the source material and puts genuine effort into using it. For more evidence, see the ''Dragula'' video.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Table Top Game 

  • Most Broadway musicals, especially those adapted from movies.
  • The entire output of Gilbert and Sullivan is high camp. As ridiculously uppercrust as Sullivan was Gilbert made his living as a parodist. Their operetta Patience is particularly worth noting as being a camp parody of the, also very camp, aestheic movement.
  • Most Richard Strauss operas — especially Salome.
  • The musical of Little Women takes the short and melodramatic play that Jo and her sisters stage in the early chapters, and turns it into a musical number spanning the entire cast (all... six of them), stuffed chock-full of wholesome, affectionate camp.

    Video Games 
  • Bayonetta, spiritual successor to Devil May Cry, begins with the main character, disguised as a nun, presiding over a funeral that is subsequently visited by heavenly beings who rip off her clothes, allowing her to use her suit of magical hair and the handguns (which she wields four at a time — one in each hand, and the other two strapped to her Combat Stilettos) that were hidden in a coffin to beat, shoot, and rip the angels apart gruesomely, all to a cover of Frank Sinatra's "Fly Me to the Moon." It's as over the top as it sounds.
  • The Command & Conquer: Tiberian Series is mildly campy. Red Alert pushes it Up to Eleven.
  • Contra: Rebirth Seems to be this with the hero dropped into space station from helicopter, robotic llamas, upside-down midboss, a pyramid of running enemies, over-the-top Excuse Plot and generally lighthearted presentation.
  • Deep Fear: Although the game itself is hardly camp (instead falling under So Bad, It's Good), the campiness cranks Up to Eleven whenever the sub designer, Dubois Amalric, opens his mouth to deliver his ridiculously accented lines at a volume as loud as his purple turtleneck sweater.
  • Devil May Cry. In the second game the developers forgot this, but the third game made up for it in spades.
  • The Earth Defense Force series of budget Alien Invasion Third-Person Shooter games thrives on camp. The English releases of the games invoke this with Narmy voice acting.
  • Fallout: New Vegas: All three tribes that run the casinos in New Vegas are camp to some degree (The Omertas representing the seamy underbelly and the White Glove Society representing the elegance well, on the surface, anyway of the old Las Vegas, respectively), but the Chairmen crank it Up to Eleven. All of them dress like Rat Pack rejects and say things like "Ring-a-ding, baby" and "What can I do to make your stay the tops?" with completely straight faces. And it's hilarious.
  • Jet Set Radio Future for the XBOX is mostly this. We've got a group of teenagers on roller-blades that protect the cities by spraying graffiti everywhere, rival rollerblading gangs in silly costumes, Comically Serious villains who think that graffiti-spraying punks are worth calling in armed choppers, and lots of silly songs in the soundtrack. The final boss, however, takes a creepier, more surreal, direction.
  • The LEGO Adaptation Game series loves this trope. It knows exactly what it is and isn't afraid to be as outlandish and silly as humanly possible. It even makes a level out of the 60's Batman in LEGO Batman 3 and takes it up to eleven.
  • Metal Wolf Chaos is about 'AMERICA!!' It takes the Eagleland trope Up to Eleven. Let's just say its campiness rivals Batman.
  • Resident Evil 4 greatly improved the storytelling of the series simply by acknowledging how ridiculous the franchise's premise is at its core (thanks in no small part to the characterization of Leon into a Deadpan Snarker who reacts to the game's ludicrous plot on behalf of the bemused player). Sadly, this was not to last, as the subsequent games all attempt to be taken seriously and are far less highly regarded for it.
  • "Watch me rule the night away! Watch me save the day!"
  • Space Channel 5. The setting is '60s style psychedelic future. You play as a swingin' news reporter. Colorful aliens start to invade. How do you defeat them? By the power of dancing and copying the moves of the enemies. It also has "space-" inserted to almost every occupation.
  • Team Fortress 2. The characters have exaggerated Rockwell-esque designs, each of them have a different, very much played up accent and traits stereotypically associated with each's respective nationality. Furthermore, it's filled with Ludicrous Gibs (after you get killed, during a freezecam of your killer the game will gleefully point out where "your pancreas!", "your foot!", "your kidney!" etc. lies, if the body parts appear on the shot). It is largely thanks to that factor that the game was received so well.
  • The Wolfenstein series, especially Wolfenstein 3D. It's hard to get much campier than Mecha Hitler with quadruple Gatling Good yelling in bastardized German/English and exploding into Ludicrous Gibs.
  • Two words: Deadly Premonition. It's camp of the unintentional variety. With it's less than stellar voice acting, animation, sound mixing, graphics, script, framerate—well just about everything, it's the embodiment of So Bad, It's Good.
  • Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden. Its premise is that of a post-cyberpocalyptic world where basketball is outlawed (and its former players hunted down and murdered) because one Charles Barkley performed a Chaos Dunk and accidentally killed thousands in the ensuing blast. The bathos is palpable, and it never ceases (including such things as Michael Jordon infecting Barkley's son Hoopz with type 2 diabetes through a needle, and Barkley reacting by calling Jordon a "motherfucking goddamn baka".
  • Metal Gear combines the aesthetics of burly military video games, 80s action movie Cliché Storm played almost painfully straight as Melodrama, inspiration from post-modernist Lit Fic, Real Robot anime, goofy Surreal Humour, philosophy, villains with Refuge in Audacity powers like the ability to read the player's mind and shoot bees or ghosts at you, a cast of Ascended Fanboys acting out their favourite tropes as superpowers, and slightly too much Ho Yay to be unintentional.
  • Until Dawn is an homage to B horror movies, and it shows. While it expands on some of its archetypes (particularly with regards to Character Development) and knits them together, despite a relative tone shift two thirds of the way into the game, it plays its story and execution gleefully straight. Originally, it would have been even campier.
  • Mass Effect 3- the final DLC, Citadel, is made of this trope. Hammy villains, a shootout in a sushi restaurant that you will never live down, and the fact that the day is saved by a toothbrush push this DLC firmly into camp.
  • Saints Row: The Third and Saints Row IV embody this. They have it all: wacky stereotypes, ludicrously awesome weapons and vehicles, insane scenarios, crazy stories (there's even an optional mission where you help Good Santa take down an Evil Santa that talks in Dr. Seuss rhymes to save Christmas), missions where you blow stuff up for fun, and much more.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • John Waters (whose guest appearance on The Simpsons provides one of the quotes above) has made a career out of it.
  • Many of the resorts on the Las Vegas Strip. Let's see; Fake Venice, Fake Paris, Fake New York, Fake Ancient Rome, Fake Camelot, Fake Ancient Egypt, Pirates on the Vegas Strip... if "camp" is defined as deliberate bad taste then the Las Vegas Strip is practically the best example out there. It is all incredibly over the top and tacky but it done so incredibly well that one cannot help think it is So Bad, It's Good.
    • The Venetian is the clearest case of Camp on the Strip. Most of the resorts do indeed have an exaggerated and theatrical presentation. However, not all of the resorts have the required derivative substance or hilarious badness or monumental tackiness. For instance, the Bellagio is certainly exaggerated in its theatricality, and presented very well. However, the resort takes itself very seriously and the vast majority of visitors to it consider it So Cool It's Awesome rather than So Bad, It's Good.
    • And let's not forget Macau's own Fake Venice which is not only three times the size of it's Vegas counterpart, but even campier. Picture sitting in a Japanese restaurant, overlooking a fake indoor replica of the Grand Canal, with the gondolier rowing past and singing a (very good) rendition of Sarah Brightman's part in "Time To Say Goodbye". Oh, and the Brazillian steakhouse on the fake St Mark's Square, with street entertainers suddenly bursting out of doors to do rousing renditions of "Feniculi Fenicula". Oh yeah, it's more camp than Rufus Wainright.
    • With regards to the Treasure Island resort, their famous streetside "pirate battle" was originally a straightforward, theme-park like spectacle: pirates vs. the British navy, and the pirates win. When the resort was overhauled to appeal more to adults, this show became The Sirens of TI and became sirens (re: sexy, scantily-clad sea witches) vs. pirates; the sirens win and the pirates join them for a Dance Party Ending. Now THAT'S campy!
    • The bulk of Las Vegas shows qualified as mostly unintentional camp for decades. But then Cirque du Soleil arrived in The '90s and presented high theatricality and fun alongside elegance, subtlety, and artistic ambition. Audiences found it refreshing, and this triggered a sea change in Vegas entertainment. Nowadays, when you see a campy Vegas show, it's either intentional camp or an older show that didn't get the memo. For the latter, see this review of the last remaining Vegas showgirl show, Jubilee!
  • 19th century dandies, including Oscar Wilde and Lord Byron. Not all of them were necessarily gay, but they were all extremely camp, which is required for being a dandy.
  • Jonathan Ross repeatedly referred to LL Cool J as this during an appearance on "Friday Night with Jonathan Ross." LL had no idea what it meant. When he found out, hilarity ensued.