The point of watching TV is to escape for an hour or two (or 10 depending on your binge-watching preferences) from our real lives into the world of dragons or gangsters or the crime-fighters of your choice; we all know this. Maybe that's why it's sometimes so uncomfortable to watch hyper-realistic shows that depict flawed people just being flawed — because they don't allow us to escape. That's kind of the feeling I (and I'm sure hundreds of other controls freaks) experienced when watching Jennifer Garner's obnoxious character on HBO's Camping.
Kathryn McSoreley-Jodell takes being high maintenance to a whole new level, whether she's stealing other people's mattresses or over-sharing about her pelvic floor issues. Though her unbearable personality has obviously been exaggerated for the sake of comedy, she holds up a horrifying mirror for viewers like me who are self-proclaimed control freaks. Why you ask? Because it's still nearly impossible for me and other Type A people to watch without silently agonizing, "OMG, is that what I seem like to other people?"
If you too obsess over the slightest shift in plans or details, the following moments in Camping probably gave you a little bit (read: a lot) of anxiety.
1. An uninvited guest joining the trip. Normal people would have just rolled with it when Walt's (David Tennant) friend Miguel (Arturo Del Puerto) brought his new girlfriend along on the trip without telling anyone. Not Kathryn though. The meltdown that followed was all too familiar — I mean, I get it, but don't let the crazy out of its cage so soon, girl — and I cringed the whole way through.
2. Deviating from the schedule to swim. On the first day's hiking trip, Jandice (Juliette Lewis) decided they should all have an impromptu swim in the lake, which was not on the schedule for that day. Translation: Everything is ruined now and we all might as well just go home. Naturally, Kathryn refused to participate and ended up seeming like an biggest stick in the mud. For reference, being called a stick in the mud by people you love is one of the seven circles of hell, I'm sure of it.
3. Playing a flag football game. What's better than a friendly game of touch football, right? Wrong. Everyone knows you should never let a person like Kathryn play any kind of competitive game unless you're willing to watch all the fun slowly drain out of the day as she gets more and more invested in winning. I've often looked back on my own behavior during a game of charades and wondered why I turn into a freaking goblin instead of enjoying some friendly competition. I'm honestly surprised she didn't just punch Jandice in the face when her son got knocked to the ground on accident.
4. Self-diagnosing in front of the doctor. Sickness and injuries are no-no territory for control freaks because of the simple fact that it's literally your own body rebelling against you. That's probably why we also tend to be hypochondriacs a lot of the time. Did anyone else get serious flashbacks to their own outrageous behavior when Kathryn was trying to take her own blood pressure and grilling the doctor about her son's possible organ damage? Just me? Cool.
5. Playing Eye Spy. Once again — games are a terrible idea, so who keeps letting Kathryn play them? Even against her own son, Kathryn was immediately annoyed when he guessed her Eye Spy item right on the first try and refused to keep playing the game afterwards. If you think winning makes control freaks insufferable, just wait until you see us lose.
6. Being on Adderall. Here's the thing... I'm pretty sure the brains of people like me and Kathryn already function at a level that is terrible for our mental health, so why oh why would you add drugs to that equation? While Adderall focuses normal human brains, it makes ours feel like the world is going to end if we don't do everything right now. Kathryn's behavior on Adderall was yet another reminder that without our normal inhibitions hindering our bizarre behavior, we become even more unbearable to be around than usual.
7. Taking an unauthorized selfie. Kathryn's obsession with her Instagram may seem trivial to normal viewers, but I get it on a bone deep level. Presenting a perfect image of yourself to the world is embedded deeply into a control freak's DNA, which gives Instagram the ability to turn us into monsters. Kathryn's glamorous friends refusing to be in a selfie with her obviously didn't sit well, but to try to sneakily take one without their permission? I had to physically step away from my TV and walk that second-hand humiliation off.
Camping airs Sundays at 10/9c on HBO.