Anything can happen when witches make the rules.
Monsters are cool, the moon is our friend.
I want to stay with you on Summer Camp Island."
Summer Camp Island is an animated series created by Julia Pott, known for her work as a writer and animator on Adventure Time. The first season season aired on Cartoon Network; the first half premiered all twenty episodes on July 7, 2018 in an all weekend marathon that was simulcast on its sister network, Boomerang, while the second half airing the following June. The series made the jump to HBO Max for its second season, which premiered on June 18, 2020.
The series follows Oscar and his best friend Hedgehog as they experience the several strange occurrences at the summer camp, where horses become unicorns, the counselors are witches, and a variety of monsters appear around the campgrounds.
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Tropes used in Summer Camp Island:
- Animate Inanimate Object: Pretty much everything on Summer Camp Island is alive: trees, doors, the sun and moon, Oscar's pajamas...
- Animesque: From blush stickers to kawaii expressions.
- Balloon Belly: Oscar and Hedgehog get big bellies in "I Heart Heartforde" after they eat too much pie.
- Be Yourself: In "Popular Banana Split", Cinnamon Raisin Toast temporarily gives up journalism and pretends to be interested in sports to date Popular Banana Split. When P.B.S. gets a foodball scholarship to Foodball U., he asks Cinnamon Raisin Toast to come with her. She declines, admitting that she doesn't really like sports, opting to go to journalism school instead.
- Casting Gag: Sam Lavagnino voices Pepper, who's a panda. He previously voiced baby Panda in the pilot and currently voices baby Grizz of We Bare Bears.
- Chain of Deals: In "I Heart Heartforde", Oscar and Hedgehog make a bunch of deals in order to get non-magical toothpaste.
- Comically Missing the Point: Oscar warns Hedgehog about the camp counselors turning into witches so suddenly.Hedgehog: Cool!
- Creative Closing Credits: Most episodes will have the music "Witches Samba" for the end credits. But some episodes, like "Ghost the Boy", "Hedgehog Werewolf", and "Fuzzy Pink Time Babies", will end with "Witches Lullaby". Word of God states that "Witches Lullaby" will be used at the end of "lore-building" episodes.
- Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: In "Mr. Softball", when the chore wheel lands on Susie and won't budge, Susie, Betsy and Alice challenge the campers to a softball game which is rigged in their favor... until Oscar's team, who has attempted to play things fair and square, decides to use trickery to beat Susie's team at their own game. After the game turns into a brawl involving water balloons and fish, Oscar summons the Killer Whale, who makes Susie, Betsy and Alice clean his teeth without using magic. Oscar even volunteers to help, since his team also resorted to cheating even if it was to try and teach the counselors a lesson.
- In "It's My Party", Susie tells Oscar and Hedgehog they get to organize her annual fifteenth birthday party. In "Fuzzy Pink Time Babies", we discover that Susie has been fifteen since at least 1892.
- In "Director's Cut", Mortimer explains that there used to be monsters in New Jersey, setting up the big reveal about the island being the only place left with magic.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: There are several moments in the episodes that will have these moments, such as what objects have faces on them, aliens hidden in the background, a collection of books with funny titles, and junk scattered over the island.
- From Bad to Worse: In "Time Traveling Quick Pants", Oscar and Hedgehog's constant attempts to correct the past from Oscar failing to get a point and letting everyone see his underwear get increasingly worse to hilarious effect; mostly because the game annoyed Susie while she was enduring a headache and she ends up causing most of the damage initially.
- Furry Confusion: Despite there being anthropomorphic characters, there are still normal animals. On top of that, talking sharks are cited as one of the strange, paranormal things about the island...even though our main characters are a talking elephant and a hedgehog.
- Genius Loci: The planet the aliens hail from is one of these. It's as cute as its inhabitants.
- Goofy Print Underwear: In "Time Traveling Quick Pants", when Oscar slides for home, his softball pants slide down, revealing an embarrassing pair of rainbow dinosaur underwear. After subsequent attempts to make the situation right, he gets invited to softball camp, which he turns down when it would mean leaving Hedgehog behind. Oscar gets a do-over and decides to accept the results as they are, and they aren't so embarrassing afterwards.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Oscar had accidentally told an animated basketball that he would make it his best friend if he scored in a basketball game, which the ball did by making him into a basketball star with improbable skills. But then the ball took things too seriously and quickly became extremely jealous of Oscar having Hedgehog as his other best friend.
- Hard Truth Aesop:
- You don't have to trust someone after they violate your trust and boundaries, even if they make things right. Alice for example lures all of Oscar's monster friends to a tea party, only to turn them all into babies without their consent. Oscar calls out Alice for not taking their feelings or autonomy into consideration, and makes her face Laser-Guided Karma so that she'll change them back. The monsters say they will never trust Alice or other witches again, which is deemed acceptable.
- Sometimes you can't please the people you love and you have to put your foot down. To cheer up Pajamas, Oscar makes believe that another set of pajamas are alive, but Pajamas wears him out by demanding more fun from "JimJams". Pajamas starts acting like a bratty toddler and not like a friend, and is disgusted when Oscar uses a potion to bring JimJams back to life because the voice sounds different.
- Has Two Mommies: Ghost the Boy has two dads.
- Hurricane of Puns: In "Computer Vampire", when Oscar and Hedgehog get sucked into a computer game and he meets Max as a vampire:Oscar [attacks Max with a carrot]: Aaah! Please go away!
Max [after Oscar misses]: Ha ha ha, "pear"-thetic.
Pepper [dressed as a strawberry] This is "berry" grim!
Max: Looks like you're out of juice!
Max: "Orange" you ready to give up?
Oscar: Let me go, fruit thief!
Max: Hmmm, that sounds "a-peel-ing".
Oscar: This word play is incredible.
Hedgehog: This is bananas! I got to split!
- When Hedgehog in a banana suit is carried away:
Oscar: Hey Pepper, why are you in a strawberry suit?
- Earlier, when Pepper finds himself wearing a strawberry costume:
Pepper: I'm "berry" cute.
Oscar: Can't argue with that.
- I Will Show You X: In "The Library", Stuart tells Hedgehog she can use the elvish dictionary when he's done reading it:Stuart: Kids today, so entitled.
Hedgehog [walks away]: I'll "entitle" you right in your earhole, Stuart.
- Interspecies Romance: "Moon Problems" shows a wolf and a goose are married. Though the goose complains that he's "not the wolf [she] married" when he seems to be howling at a moonless night.
- Invisible Streaker: Joked about but thankfully not used. After everyone else gains superpowers from ice cream, Oscar is upset because he didn't thanks to his lactose-intolerance. But Hedgehog tricks him into thinking he got invisibility. Oscar assumes he has to be naked thankfully Hedgehog stops him.
- Magical Land: The main setting is an island populated by witches, trees that can talk and move on their own, talking animals, and monsters that live under the beds of the campers.
- Mixtape of Love: A character has a box full of mixtapes that they've made for their crush on the king. They end up playing one and singing when they finally confess their love.
- Mundane Object Amazement: Heartforde is the only non-magical section of the island, and for that reason it's treated as a big tourist attraction, both by the native denizens and by the campers who want a break from all the magic.
- My Little Phony: Unicorns are pastel and have marks on their flanks, although their appearance is based off the unicorns from Fantasia.
- Mythology Gag:
- Hedgehog wants to become a witch in the series, and in the pilot, Susie's original species was a hedgehog instead of a cat.
- A few in "Campers Above the Bed":
- Hedgehog has a crush on Max, just like in the pilot.
- Monster Under the Bed reads Hedgehog's diary and calls one of her entries disgusting, like in the pilot.
- In "Spell Crusher", one of Hedgehog's test involves turning Max's hat blue. Max's hat in the pilot was originally blue.
- Opposite Day: In "It's My Party", when Oscar and Hedgehog decide to throw a party for Susie, Hedgehog convinces the campers to attend her party by suggesting to them to give her Stealth Insults that are the opposite of how they really feel:Oliver: Hey Susie, you're so good at sharing. [You're really selfish]
Lucy: Susie, everything you do and say makes me so happy. [We're frustrated by your words and deeds]
- This backfires when Lucy whispers how Susie never has to know the truth, so she shapeshifts into Oscar and talks with Hedgehog, who tells her (in disguise) that it was the only way to get guests to attend the party because no one could stand to be around her that much. By the time Pepper gives his speech, Susie catches on to their charade and wrecks the party, and cleans up the site afterwards with a magic spell, telling Oscar not to get used to it.
- Our Monsters Are Different: The monsters at Summer Camp Island are very nice and well educated (one even went to Harvard).
- Our Werewolves Are Different: Yep, the island has a hidden wereworld population. Their leader is just a normal talking wolf, while the other werewolves are various other residents of the island, including Betsy, one of the camp counselors, and they get together on a full moon to have parties. Hedgehog actually stays as one of them at the end of the episode. They also like eating shoes for some reason.
- The Power of Friendship: It seems singing a song about how you forgive a friend for doing the exact same thing you had inadvertently done to them causes two magic friendship bracelets to form from the song's music. They are on a magic island.
- Reality Ensues:
- "Monster Babies" revolves around a Alice turning creatures "cuter" because she prefers cute things. She ends up transforming adult monsters into cute babies. Most other series would use this plot to have wacky gags while trying to turn them back to normal. However, Oscar is horrified by the lack of consent in the transformations and it gets Played for Drama.
- In "It's My Party", no matter how amazing Susie's birthday party is, it will not be a enough to get everyone to change their opinion of her, and it definitely doesn't help that she acted like her usual self throughout the party.Hedgehog: 'Cause at the end of the day, people just don't like Susie. You can't change people's mind with a unicorn petting zoo.
- In "Ice Cream Headache", when the Sun reveals that she's upset because nobody noticed her haircut, Oscar points out that it's not like they can look directly at the Sun anyway. This just upsets her even more.
- Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: Doors actually say "knock-knock" when one knocks on them.
- Surprise Creepy: For a show with Sweet Dreams Fuel, it also talks about people gleefully violating others' consent or abusing their authority, how much autonomy a person has after a traumatic incident, and how other species are seen as less than human.
- Sweet Dreams Fuel: The entire show has an adorable, laid-back feel that makes for a comfy watch.
- Tasty Gold: In "Camp Merit Badges", Susie bites on a merit badge and declares that it's legit.
- There Are No Adults: It takes place in a summer camp where all the main characters are children. The camp counselors are teenagers who may-or-may-not be legally adults (Susie turns fifteen mid-series, but she's actually over a century old, and the other counselors seem the same age as her).
- Tin-Can Telephone: Since Oscar and Hedgehog's cabin are next to each other, they have this communication through their window.
- Vicariously Ambitious: Hedgehog's father seems to want to push her into being a successful business person so much because he wants her to be more successful than he ended up being.
- World of Funny Animals: Most of the characters are animals with humanoid bodies.
- Widget Series: One of the weirdest things on Cartoon Network.
Tropes found in the Summer Camp Island Pilot:
- Love Triangle: Heavily implied that Oscar likes Hedgehog, that Hedgehog likes Max and that Max is at least attracted to Hedgehog. In the actual series this is very much toned down, with the feelings Oscar has for Hedgehog and Hedgehog has for Max being more ambiguous and Max not expressing interest.
- Shout-Out: The small monster that appears bears a significant resemblance to a Mogwai.