Bunk'd is a live-action sitcom that premiered on Disney Channel during the summer of 2015. It is a spin-off of the wildly popular series Jessie starring three of the characters on that show - Emma Ross (Peyton R. List), Ravi Ross (Karan Brar), and Zuri Ross (Skai Jackson).
In this show, the Ross kids (minus Luke, as his actor Cameron Boyce stars in Gamer's Guide to Pretty Much Everything, but still pops in every now and then) are forced by their parents to attend Camp Kikiwakka in Maine for the summer, the same camp where their parents met as counselors. While there, they will learn valuable life skills and make new friends outside of their posh Manhattan comfort zone.
The series premiered on July 31, 2015 after the Descendants DCOM and about half a year before the finale of its parent series Jessie, meaning that the two shows have actually run concurrently even though Bunk'd is supposed to take place after Jessie. As such the first half season of Bunk'd is careful not to reveal any potential Jessie spoilers.
Supposedly the series looked to had ended in its third season as Skai Jackson seem to confirm on social media. However on November 2018, the season was picked up for a fourth season. However Skai meant that she wasn't returning to the series. It was likewise revealed that Peyton and Karan likewise had jumped ship as well, leaving the show with an entirely new cast come the next season. So in a way, with the departure of the entire original cast, it was truly the end of the line for the Jessie series.
Tropes seen in Bunk'd:
- Abhorrent Admirer: Hazel is this for Xander.
- Aborted Arc: The ending of the episode Friending With The Enemy has Tiffany and Ravi witnessing the Kikiwaka monster and get proof of such in the next episode, Waka, Waka, Waka!, yet Tiffany left the camera in selfie mode and they lost the proof. After that episode, the Kikiwaka was never seen nor mentioned again, and Tiffany and Ravi have never resumed their quest. However, the Kikiwaka and its baby do appear in the season 3 finale.
- Alpha Bitch: Hazel, who is The Dragon to her aunt, seems to fit this trope.
- Animation Bump: A rare live-action version, specifically of the intro variety. The intro is filmed in a very slick, very high-quality way with high quality (at least for television) CGI and in single-camera format in contrast to the actual show's tightly budgeted multi-camera setup.
- Bait-and-Switch: Subverted in "We Can't Bear It!". When Lou tearfully takes off with the gang in the bus except Finn, Matteo and Destiny who are lost at the moment, she abruptly stops the bus and realizes she left something behind, leading the audience to think she forgot the kids, only to forget it and go on. Then later on when she mentions Finn's name, that is when she realizes she forgot them.
- Big Bad: Gladys has this role, as she makes it her purpose to make the Ross Kids' lives miserable because she hates their mom, Christina.
- Brick Joke: In the first episode, little Timmy is sent to the entrance of the camp to be picked up by his parents because their check bounced. A few episodes later... he's still there, still waiting to be picked up.
- He's still waiting there in the Season 2 Halloween episode, where he recruits campers to play a prank on Gladys.
- And still there when the season 3 campers arrive.
- Cassandra Truth: In Waka, Waka, Waka!, only Ravi and Tiffany witness the Kikiwaka monster and no one would believe them. When they get footage for proof, it turns out they left the camera in selfie mode the whole time and are humiliated.
- Darker and Edgier: Season 2 has some moments of this. "Camp Kiki-Slasher" and "Fog'd In" had warnings at the beginning, and even "Luke Out Below" and "Queen of Screams" are a little disturbing.
- Description Cut: Nearly subverted in "We Can't Bear It!". When Finn tells Matteo to calm down, and hopes the others realize they're missing, cut to Lou who abruptly stops the bus and realizes just that, only to give up and go on.
- "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The theme song is sung by the actor who plays Xander.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: The Director, Gladys has signs of this.
- Enemy Mine: In some circumstances, Hazel will help the Ross kids and their friends, but only does so out of self interest.
- Fish out of Water: The premise in relation to the Ross kids.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Some instances, like in the pilot, Hazel asking Xander to "freak em" and Ravi covering Jorge's eyes should be clue enough of what she meant. Also, Some dialogue between Xander and Emma implies their relationship is much more intimate than we're lead to believe.
"What's that smell? It's on your shoe!"
- More of this in the episode "Smells Like Camp Spirit":
- When there's a pile up on the ground and Emma ends up landing front first on Xander's back (with Lou and Hazel around them), he says: "I've had dreams about this, only I was much happier."
- Jorge suggests to Tiffany that they take a more hands-on approach to teaching Ravi how to swim: "We need to get physical!" to which she responds: "I don't like you like that!"
- When the counselors are searching for a 'contraband' phone, Hazel insists on frisking Xander several times: "That's not a pocket, Hazel!"
- The entire episode where Gladys bans candy is one big reference to drug abusers. Tiffany is very clearly on a drug high the whole time. Except with candy, so it's okay.
- While this could just be a coincidence, the Weasel campers nickname Lou Reek, getting upset if anyone tries to call them their real name. This is eerily similar to when Ramsay Bolton kidnaps Theon and nicknames him the same thing. Keep in mind the show that this joke seems to be based on, and how different it is from the usual Parental Bonus on a Disney show!
- It's even in the theme song! Substitute excrements which rhyme with "Kikiwaka".
- More of this in the episode "Smells Like Camp Spirit":
- G-Rated Drug: Candy, and later on, Video Games
- Greater-Scope Villain: As of the eighth episode, the Kikiwaka seems to become the show's more prevalent Big Bad.
- History Repeats: This is the case with Emma, Hazel, and Xander. Back when Gladys, Morgan, and Christina were all campers, Gladys had a crush on Morgan but Christina "stole" him from her. Hazel is Gladys' niece, who has an obsessive crush on Xander, a good looking and all around nice guy. Xander, however, has a crush on Emma, who also has a crush on him.
- Ironic Echo Cut: One occurs in "We Can't Bear It!".Lou: I can't wait to see our rebuilt cabins!
(Cuts to the camp where the Ross kids are looking at their still-burnt cabins.)
Emma: Oh, my gosh. Gladys didn't rebuild our cabins.
- Last Episode Theme Reprise: The Season 2 finale ends with Xander and the gang singing the theme song as they leave camp.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall:Hazel: You know, Emma, you and Eric kind of look alike.Emma and Eric: We do not!
- Eric is played by Peyton's twin brother Spencer.
- Maintain the Lie: When Tiffany's mother comes for a visit, Tiffany freaks out as she's been telling her mother she's been attending a camp for the intelligent and gifted. The gang try to keep it up by pretending they're geniuses but it doesn't take long for Tiff's mom to see through that.
- My Life Flashed Before My Eyes:
- Lou experiences this in Queen of Screams when Stephanie Queen first appears.
- Luke experiences this in Luke out Below when he, Zuri and Ravi are trapped on a mountain.
- Nice, Mean, and In-Between:
- The counselors from Season 1-2 has: Xander the nice and laid-back one, Hazel the mean and snobby one, and Lou the in-between and well-behaved one whos friends with the Rosses.
- For the new campers from Season 3, we have: Matteo the Nervous Wreck, Destiny the brassy pageant girl, and Finn The Pigpen who stays in-between most of the time.
- No OSHA Compliance: Camp Kikiwaka has so many health code and safety violations it's a wonder the place is still open.
- Prophetic Fallacy: In "Dreams Come True", it's revealed that whenever Lou has dreams that are as clear as day, they're easy to remember, and they will come true. Sometimes though, the end result seen in said dreams are not what will happen, but rather what Lou subconsciously makes of them. In this episode, Lou's dream was that Emma gets stained with punch, walks on broken glass, runs through the forest dressed as a court jester wearing an argyle sweater being chased by a groaning shadowy figure, and ends with a bright light and Emma disappearing. All of it came to fruition true to Lou's dream, but when the final part came, Emma didn't disappear, and the shadowy figure was the County Services official erroneously thinking Emma was Griff.
- Lou seems able to predict the overall events to come, but is wrong on the final outcome. Her next dream shows her accurately predict who Zuri's next package is from, as well as the contents and the reason they were sent. However, she incorrectly predicts that Zuri would give her the contents of the package.
- Put on a Bus:
- Season 3 drops Xander, Jorge, Tiffany, Gladys, and Hazel, with Gladys being said to have taken the camp's insurance money and run off.
- Season 4 drops the Ross kids due to them going their separate ways in the Season 3 finale.
- Retool: Season 3 features the core four main characters that are left (Ravi, Zuri, Emma, and Lou) becoming owners of Kikiwaka after their parents bought out the camp after Gladys ran off, and features three new kids as main characters.
- Shipper on Deck: Lou when it comes to Emma and Xander.
- Shouldn't We Be in School Right Now?: Averted as this series is supposed to take place during summer vacation, but the summer camp setting ends up taking the place of a High School / Boarding School anyway. It is further established that each season takes place during another summer.
- Shout-Out: Zuri getting Tiffany to play volleyball better involves inciting rage, also done by Maddie to motivate London to win the volleyball tournament.
- Spin-Off: Of Jessie
- Special Guest: Cameron Boyce makes his appearance as Luke in "Luke's Back", and appears again in "Luke Out Below".
- Stating the Simple Solution: The third season premiere has the gang rocked to find the camp still burned down and Gladys fleeing with the insurance money. They're sadly talking on how it will be shut down when Mateo says to Emma "Too bad you guys don't have a rich friend who can buy the place." The very next scene is Emma announcing her mother just bought the entire camp and gave it to her children to run.
- Sure, Let's Go with That:
Lou: So, Emma, what'd you think of your gift?Emma: I'm speechless.Lou: Because you loved it so much?Emma: Yeah, let's go with that.
- When Lou confiscates Tiffany's mobile phone during a conversation with her mother, the sound of loud rapid talking in Chinese can be heard. Lou asks if what she's hearing is affectionate and Tiffany responds with the appropriate line. Most likely, it was really angry yelling at Lou for interrupting the phone call.
- Take That!: In a written interview, Cameron Boyce pokes fun at Luke's explained absence from Bunk'd (see Written In Absence in YMMV) with, "and by the way, it's spelled s-u-m-m-e-r s-c-h-o-o-l".
- Truncated Theme Tune: The theme song was shortened to the final chorus in the third season on.
- Written-In Absence: In the first episode, Luke's absence is explained by having him need to attend summer school instead of camp (allowing Cameron Boyce to star in Gamer's Guide to Pretty Much Everything). Since Season 2 premiered, and takes place during the next summer, and Luke actually has been doing well in Summer School during the first season, there's no real explanation as to why he isn't with his siblings this time around. Of course, he returns every once in a while, visiting once in Season 1, and again in Season 2.