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. Three additional seasons aired on the streaming service before the series was unceremoniously pulled alongside other original animated programming in August 2022, though a sixth and final season aired on Cartoon Network; the series ended on August 11, 2023.
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:
- Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: In the pilot, Max was attracted to Hedgehog, she returned these feelings to some degree and Oscar was jealous because he wanted to be in Max' place. In the series, Hedgehog has a crush on Max which he doesn't return in a romantic, but in a platonic was (they do indeed stay friends even after Hedgehog's confession) and Oscar isn't bothered by it in the slightest and even tries to be the wingman for his best friend and Max.
- All Myths Are True: Many, many creatures thought to be myths are very real on the Summer Camp Island, but some are revealed to be totally made up, such as, according to Alice, fairies.
- 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.
- Art Shift: "Sea Bunnies" is done in CGI.
- 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 also voiced baby Grizz in 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. Some episodes, however, such "Ghost the Boy", "Hedgehog Werewolf", and "Fuzzy Pink Time Babies", will end with "Witches Lullaby". Word of God states that "Witches Lullaby" is used at the end of "lore-building" episodes.
- The Darkness Gazes Back: In "Oscar's Demon", Oscar needs to cross a bridge to get ingredients to one of Hedgehog's potions, but is spooked by a pair of demonic looking eyes staring at him from a hollow tree at the foot of the bridge. After several attempts to bypass it fail, Oscar makes a monster costume to try and scare the creature. It is then revealed that what he thought were eyes are really markings on the ears of a rabbit.
- Descended Creator: Susie Mc Callister is voiced by series creator Julia Pott.
- 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.
- Dub Name Change: Given that it's a species-specific descriptor, Hedgehog's name changes depending on the respective language - for example, it's "Erizo" in the Spanish dub.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: Two early episodes, "Monster Babies" and "Ghost the Boy", feature an alien with a xylophone who rolls up and performs a short song based on the plot. This does not happen again.
- Eating Shoes: After turning into a werewolf, Hedgehog eats at least one shoe. However, she soon develops the ability to resist the urge to eat shoes.
- 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.
- Framing Device: The "Susie and Ramona" arc is presented as a story told to Oscar and Hedgehog by Jim Jam.
- "Freaky Friday" Flip: In "Wild Caboodles Can't Be Broken", Oscar and the unicorn named Caboodle trade bodies after one of Hedgehog's spells backfires.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: There are several moments in every episode that will have these, such as which objects have faces on them, aliens hidden in the background, a collection of books with funny titles, and junk scattered across 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 in softball and letting everyone see his dinosaur 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 hedgehog.
- Furry Reminder: Though the cast more or less act like regular humans most of the time, there are occasional references to a character's animal-specific traits - Hedgehog making use of her inbuilt ability to dig a tunnel in "Monster Visit", Susie following a scent trail in "Susie Appreciation Day", Oscar trumpeting with excitement in "Oddjobs", and so on. "Ice Cream Headache" plays it for laughs; after eating magical ice cream, bat Max grows wings, to the incredulity of the other campers. "A bat with wings? That's wild!"
- Jimjams has a habit of fouling the air just like his friend Susie.
- One elf invention is called "The Shout and Toot".
- When a giant bear rubbed his back on Susie's house, he also farted on it.
- 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.
- In "Light as a Feather", Hedgehog groans that all her pajamas look as if they have been bought at Dorks "R" Us.
- 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.
- 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.
- Innocuously Important Episode: "See Bee Gee Bees" seems a random episode that will have no impact later on. Come the finale, the sandwich Oscar learns to make in the episode is the key for turning the magic of the island back on.
- 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 in "Ice Cream Headache". After everyone else gains superpowers from Susie's magical ice cream, Oscar is upset because he didn't, thanks to his lactose intolerance. Feeling bad for him, Hedgehog tricks him into thinking he's gained invisibility. Oscar assumes he has to be naked; Hedgehog blessedly stops him.
- 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.
- The Magic Goes Away: The "Susie and Ramona" arc reveals that magic used to be plentiful, until it began to be replaced by technology. As magic went into disuse, it began fading away, until it became isolated on one island — the very island where the show takes place. The campers are, in fact, magical creatures unaware of their own powers; they were lured to the island in order to keep magic from disappearing altogether.
- 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.
- Mime and Music-Only Cartoon: "Oscar's Demon" has no dialogue until the very end, due to everyone having to stay quiet until the library door is repaired.
- Mixtape of Love: In "Feeling Spacey", alien Puddle has a box full of mixtapes that he has made for his crush on the Alien King. He ends up playing one and singing a song for the King, confessing his love.
- Moon Rabbit: A rabbit known as the Miracle Rabbit lives in a mansion on the moon.
- 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.
- No Ontological Inertia: The magical strep throat infection spread from patient zero, Alice, to the living, sentient nature and objects of the island, but once Alice was given the healing potion, all infected nature and objects were also healed very fast.
- 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.
- Organ Autonomy: In "The Legs", Susie's legs get separated from her body due to a spell gone awry. The legs keep trying to leave, and once they are reattached, they still refuse to obey Susie and instead take her to Ramona's house so she can reconcile with her friend leaving.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: Ghosts on Summer Camp Island are the standard Bedsheet Ghosts; however, they are not the spirits of the deceased. Instead, they are created when witches burp out their insecurities. Susie, who claims to have no insecurities, has burped enough ghosts to populate the island's swamp, where they have made their own little community.
- Our Monsters Are Different: The monsters at Summer Camp Island are pleasant 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.
- Portmanteau: Oscar has an "elephone," which is a telephone that looks like an elephant.
- 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.
- Pull a Rabbit out of My Hat: Oscar is trying to do this trick in his magic act in "The Legs". To help him out, Hedgehog casts a spell on the hat, but instead of a hat, Oscar pulls out Susie. Unfortunately, since the hat wasn't magical, Susie can't be pulled out all the way until the hat gets registered as magical.
- Pun-Based Creature: In "The Soundhouse", sentient banana peels became rotten and went bad both in the literal and figurative sense: They began to rot and then turned to bullying Margareth and Flower and gambling (the dice were not normal dice, but had suggestions written on then one how to bully Margareth and Flower).
- Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: Doors actually say "knock-knock" when one knocks on them.
- While the unicorns have marks on their flanks, their appearance is based off of the unicorns from Fantasia.
- In "Monster Visit", God Monster is reading a book called "Murder on the Handsome Aristocrat Express".
- "Pepper and the Fog" is largely based on Hedgehog in the Fog, from the title to the general premise to most of the specific elements within the episode.
- Supernatural Hotspot Town: The titular island is secretly home to various magical creatures, including witches, monsters, yetis, elves and the like. It is, in fact, the source of all magic in the world, which was once plentiful but is now confined to the island. The campers are actually latent magical creatures brought in to replenish magic and keep it from disappearing altogether.
- Superstition Episode: In "Hark the Gerald Sings", Oscar has a superstitious belief that if he eats breakfast after 9:30 AM, something bad will happen. This being Summer Camp Island, not only is the superstition real, but it also gets passed on to Hedgehog, then becomes a physical entity (the titular Gerald) so that Oscar can deal with it.
- Surprisingly Creepy Moment: 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 "Chocolate Money Badgers", Susie bites on a merit badge and declares that it's legit.
- There Are No Adults: The series takes place in a summer camp where all of 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 four centuries old, and the other counselors seem to be the same age as her).
- Tin-Can Telephone: Since Oscar and Hedgehog's cabins are next to each other, they use this method of communication through their window.
- Toilet Humour:
- Besides the main duo or Susie farting, Ramona wrote in her invitation to a party in frozen time to come "having peed".
- In "Wild Hearts Can't Be Caboodled", the unicorn Oscar traded bodies with due to a potion accident with a potion he talked Hedgehog into using farted confetti at the episode's end.
- The ghost plane Ramona uses for crop-dusting her crops of magical plants farts the fertilizer on the fields.
- 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.
- Wham Episode: "Witches in the City" reveals that the witches invited everyone to the island because they ALL have magic or magical in certain ways.
- World of Funny Animals: Most of the characters are animals with humanoid bodies.
- Year Inside, Hour Outside: As revealed in "Meeting Of Mounds" the entirety of the show occurs over 4 months on the island, while only a week passes in the outside world.
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.