TV Tango Search


|              FREE: Ask a TV Expert

HBO CAMPING Q&A Interview w Jennifer Garner, David Tennant, Jenni Konner + Episode Guide, Characters

Maj Canton - October 13, 2018





On Sunday, October 14, 2018 at 10pm ET/PT, HBO premieres the highly entertaining comedy series, CAMPING. To celebrate her husband Walt’s 45th birthday, the obsessively organized and aggressively controlling Kathryn gathers together her meek sister, her holier-than-thou ex-best friend and a free-spirited tagalong – and what was supposed to be a delightful, back-to-nature camping trip at the underwhelming Brown Bear Lake campsite, quickly becomes a weekend of tested marriages, memories they’d rather forget, and woman-on-woman crime that won’t soon be forgotten. Starring Jennifer Garner, David Tennant, Juliette Lewis, Ione Skye, Brett Gelman, Arturo Del Puerto, Ione Skye, Janicza Bravo and Bridget Everett. Tune in and have a laugh!





This past summer TV Tango attended the Television Critics Association (TCA) Summer Press Tour where HBO presented a panel, which included cast members Jennifer Garner, David Tennant (via satellite) and Executive Producer Jenni Konner. Here are a few highlights (edited for clarity and readability) from that panel.


From left to right, Jenni Konner & Jennifer Garner (both onstage), and David Tennant (via satellite on screen)

at the Television Critics Association (TCA) Summer Press Tour in July 2018.


Jennifer Garner on CAMPING.

Question: Jennifer, what was it about your character that drew you in?

Jennifer Garner: I was drawn to the writing, just flat out the writing was so much fun to say and David can tell you that I had a really hard time saying it. I mean, being in a scene with David and saying, "Do you want me to have a dysfunctional pelvic floor for the whole of your birthday weekend?" Like, who gets to say that every single day at work? There were things that I got to say that I felt like no one else gets to say these lines. So, that was initially what I was drawn to and Jenni directing, and Lena back there writing away in New York, and it was kind of heaven being part of an ensemble. And then I got this one. [Indicating David]

Question: Have you ever done a part like this before?

Jennifer Garner: I had a very hard time. Honestly, I felt there were moments of deep unprofessionalism. And that there was patience required on the part of everyone on set. It was also that the stakes are so high for her and there's so much energy in anything that she does that there was kind of like a dangerous quality to that as well. So sometimes that turned into uncontrollable fits of laughter. But have I done anything like it? No. That's the whole fun of being an actor.

Question: Jen, were you being offered roles that didn’t resonate with you before CAMPING?

Jennifer Garner: If people were offering me things on TV, they weren’t really making it to me. But I said and have always said “I assume at some point I look forward to going back to TV”. I love the familial feel on set. I love getting a new script. I mean there is nothing more fun than in the middle of the second episode receiving the third and it’s just like oh my gosh how are we going to do it, how are we going to make this work, how will I get through it? And that's just a super fun feeling. But no, I wasn't being offered things that I was saying no to.

David Tennant on CAMPING.

Question: David, after JESSICA JONES and BAD SAMARITAN was Walt the kind of character you wanted to play?

David Tennant: This came in and you go, oh well that’s perfect because, you can only play so many psychopaths without taking it home. So, it was lovely to play someone who’s so sweet and open-hearted and long suffering and possibly most like the real me that I've ever done. So it was hugely appealing to kind of get into that head space and bucket hat. I don't think it was a direct reaction to anything I've done before, but it was certainly quite unlike anything I've done before. Although I think the character brought more resonances with myself when I wear my hats even in public. You're just trying to be truthful. And I think the more kind of scrupulous you can be about being truthful, the funnier something is. A show like this, it's about the characters, and those characters have got to be believable, and rooted in something real. I slightly worry that this is closer to the real me than anything I did in "Jessica Jones," or anywhere else, really. I love playing those parts, and I love the sort of challenge of that. Walt is, you know, me, really. And so there's something liberating and slightly alarming about allowing myself to go there, I think.

Jenni Konner: He brought so much to the part. David showed up and had a physicality that was nothing like David's physicality. And he had a way of speaking that felt so different from the person I'd met. And he just brought this character to life, like Jen did with Kathryn. They were like deflated balloons or something, and then these two came in and blew them up.

David Tennant and Jennifer Garner on CAMPING.

Question: How does everyone feel about actual camping?

Jenni Konner: I hate camping. They [Jen and David] loved it. I couldn’t. I thought they were doing a bit.

David Tennant: I've always assumed I would hate camping because I do quite like home comfort and a shower and not smelling. These things are important. And so I was and I have only been proper camping once. And it was sort of a disaster. I went to a music festival and we got rained on and I woke up the next morning. There were rivers down either side of the tent we were in. And it didn't really improve for the four or five days. And I resisted briefly. And then I just surrendered and part of me kind of went feral and kind of loved it, but I've not rushed back. I'm not a natural camper, but there is an area of me that once I can access it, I think I could do that probably quite happily. I think we got some of the joy of what camping was like, actually. This cast of eight actors are basically sitting around a campfire every day. But we got to go home and have a shower so I believe that’s the best way to camp.

Jennifer Garner: I'm a big backyard camper. My kids and I camp in the back yard every year. We just spoke about it this morning when we're going to do it. So that's a way to do it, but I like camping with a group. I like being with the girl scouts and with a group of girlfriends. And I have done it and will do it. With our cast I would go in a heartbeat.

The cast of CAMPING on set.

Question: Can you tell any stories about antics you and your cast members got up to on set?

Jennifer Garner: We could not have enjoyed being together more, there are so many different styles of working in this group of eight. You had the comedian, Brett Gelman, who was just coming up with bits. He can’t help himself. We would be saying to him, “Hang on. I’m just about to do a monologue. Just make your mouth stop talking for five seconds.” But then he got that because he’s also an actor and a total pro. And then you have Juliette Lewis another kind of creature. She can access a whole different level of freedom and wildness and spontaneity and I just love working with her.

David Tennant: Everyone had a different way of approaching a scene and a different way of acting and, yet, everyone brought something so unique to it. It was a really special group to be a part of. It was very exciting to go to work and to do a scene and to just see where that would go. The writers were on set and they’d sort of drop in new lines now and again and we’d do it. So each take you might have a new line to play on. Then the scene would go off in different directions and it really kept you on your toes, and I loved that.

Question: David, what differences do you see between British and American productions?

David Tennant: I think this was, in many ways, the least different experience I’ve ever had between a UK set and a US set. There was a lot of joy on set in CAMPING. There was a lot of freedom. There was a lot of creativity. Any sort of negatives I might have had were completely banished by working with CAMPING, where everyone was so full of joy about it and easy and creative and fun. That’s the best of working on our side of the Atlantic and you don’t always get it, and in the US you certainly don’t always get , but when you do you know you’re on something special.

Janicza Bravo and Brett Gelman on CAMPING.

Question: Was it always the plan to have Brett and Janicza [George and Nina-Joy] on camera together?

Jenni Konner: It was always our plan. We were just fans of them and their Insta-Stories and the way they were in real life together, and it just seemed like a really funny energy. Janicza’s right smack in the middle of a brilliant directing career, but she took the leap with us and we had a really good time. We’re not super precious writers. We get a lot of input from them so were willing to try and see what happens. So, I think it worked out in the end.

Jennifer Garner and David Tennant on CAMPING.

Question: Can you talk about the differences between the American and British versions of CAMPING?

Jenni Konner: I don’t know. You have to ask HBO that question, because we really sold it as this limited series. But I would die to come back to these people. I saw Julia Davis’ show and we were just obsessed with it and thought it was the most hilarious thing. It's really British, and really amazing, and there's something from her in all of our episodes, but there's also changes that you have to make to make it feel like people you know.

Question: David, can you talk about the differences between British and American humor?

David Tennant: It's a really interesting question, isn't it? It's hard to be objective. I mean, I know Julia Davis's work overall. I've been a massive fan of her forever, and I love that she goes to some very dark and quite surreal places. But I hadn't seen "Camping" until this came up for me, and I sought it out, and loved it. But as genius as it is, it feels very British, and I thought, I don't even know what that means. There's something very domestic about it, which is part of its joy. And I think what Jenny and Lena managed to do was to take something that's recognizably the same show and make it very much their own. And I don't quite know how they did that. If you've seen the British show, you'll recognize it, but then it becomes very much its own beast very quickly.

The cast of CAMPING on set on first day of filming.

Question: Is there more opportunity for physical comedy in something that’s set primarily outdoors?

Jennifer Garner: It was nice to have space. It was nice to have a chance to run, and to discover what your character's run might be, especially given Kathryn's problem with her pelvic floor. In this case, yes, and it was also nice to have a rattlesnake wrangler there to collect rattlesnakes before we were on the scene every day.

Jenni Konner: He was a very nice man. But, with Jen, you want to do physical comedy. She's so natural at it. And I remember one of the first days; she had to push a log. She pushes a log across to sit on, and my big note was for her to pretend that it was hard, because it was so easy for her because she's so strong.


KATHRYN MCSORLEY-JODELL (Played by Jennifer Garner)

Kathryn McSorley-Jodell is a controlling LA mom who is far less cheerful than her Lululemons imply. She directs the weekend’s proceedings with an iron grip, until she’s faced with a woman who undoes all her best-laid plans.

WALT JODELL (Played by David Tennant)

Walt Jodell is an obedient husband and a loving father, the reliable lynchpin of his male social group, but below that reality lurks a subtle but growing discontent about what he’s just signed up for.

CARLEEN (Played by Ione Skye)

Carleen has spent her life in the shadows as Kathryn’s sister. Timid and terrified, she must rely on her own strange passions, such as crocheting, to get her through the lonely days. Nina-Joy is the friend you go to for everything: best massage, best jeans, best oatmeal. But her tension with Kathryn over a breach of confidence threatens to topple the weekend.

JANDICE (Played by Juliette Lewis)

Jandice is a woman of many talents: a DJ, a reiki healer and a certified public accountant. Her life may seem ideal, but the reality is far less. Smack dab in the middle of a midlife crisis, the recently separated Miguel now expresses his instability through a youthful wardrobe and very strange life choices.

GEORGE (Played by Brett Gelman)

George is loyal, goofy and infinitely game. He’s as obsessed with his best friend, Walt, as he is with his wife, Nina-Joy, and just under the surface of this affable boom operator simmers barely repressed rage that can stop any singalong.

HARRY (Played by Bridget Everett)

Harry is the tough-talking, nature-loving queen of the campsite; her passion for her wife, Nan, is surpassed only by her passion for all other women and an assortment of arms.

NINA-JOY (Played by Janicza Bravo)

Nina-Joy is reluctantly accompanying her husband George on the camping trip after a recent disagreement with Kathryn.

MIGUEL (Played by Arturo Del Puerto)

Recently separated from his wife, Miguel has fallen hard and fast for Jandice, whose free-spirit is the perfect medicine for his heartbreak.


If you want to know nothing about the episodes at all, skip this section. Provided by HBO, this episode guide includes general episode descriptions and specific plot details.

Sunday, October 14, 2018 at 10pm ET/PT
A “perfect” group camping trip, obsessively organized by Kathryn McSorley-Jodell (Jennifer Garner) in honor of her adoring husband Walt’s (David Tennant) 45th birthday, is threatened by tension between Kathryn and her estranged best friend, Nina-Joy (Janicza Bravo), the unexpected addition of a pissed-off goth teen (Cheyenne Haynes) and the chaotic arrival of Miguel (Arturo Del Puerto), who is smack dab in the middle of a breakdown and toting his new girlfriend, Jandice (Juliette Lewis), a woman of many talents who rubs Kathryn the wrong way.
Written by Lena Dunham & Jenni Konner; directed by Jenni Konner.

"Going to Town"
Sunday, October 21, 2018 at 10pm ET/PT
After her son, Orvis (Duncan Joiner), gets roughed up in a game of flag football, Kathryn (Jennifer Garner) rushes him to the nearest hospital, flipping out about his health and the danger that Miguel’s girlfriend, Jandice (Juliette Lewis), poses to the weekend. As Kathryn and Walt (David Tennant) attend to Orvis, the others hit a local bar, where a racially charged remark to Nina-Joy (Janicza Bravo) awakens George’s (Brett Gelman) rage. Elsewhere, Miguel (Arturo Del Puerto) and Jandice create real issues for a prissy shop owner (John Riggi).

"Fishing Trip"
Sunday, October 28, 2018 at 10pm ET/PT
When the guys go on a fishing trip, Walt (David Tennant) opens up about his dead-in-the-water sex life. Jandice (Juliette Lewis) encourages Carleen (Ione Skye) to loosen up and embrace her female strength. Kathryn’s (Jennifer Garner) attempt to mend things with Nina-Joy (Janicza Bravo) is overshadowed by a big announcement. Miguel (Arturo Del Puerto) and Jandice’s first misunderstanding gets serious fast.

"Up All Night"
Sunday, November 4, 2018 at 10pm ET/PT
A late-night pill swap leads a buzzed Kathryn (Jennifer Garner) to crash a neighboring campsite, where she runs into Nina-Joy (Janicza Bravo), Carleen (Ione Skye) and some chic old friends. Unsettled by a revelation from Miguel (Arturo Del Puerto), Jandice (Juliette Lewis) ends up sharing a beer with a forbidden friend.