We saw ‘Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp,’ and it’s going to blow your mind
I’ve seen the first six episodes of the Wet Hot American Summer show, subtitled First Day of Camp and streaming on Netflix starting July 31, and let me just say that if you loved the 2001 cult comedy about the last day of summer camp, you’re gonna twenty-sided dieeeeee for the series.
Okay, okay, enough with the references that only those who have seen Wet Hot American Summer a million times will get. (Although, I will say that seeing the original film is kinda sorta a necessity to enjoying this series. In fact, if you haven’t seen it already, just stop reading right now and get on that, like, immediately.) But let’s get down to the real deal business of the day (by dayyyyyyy): why Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp rules even more than you can even attempt to imagine.
The gang’s all here!
Honestly, this show wouldn’t work without the original Camp Firewood counselors and lucky for us, everyone you loved in the first movie is in on this one. Yes, even currently mega famous peeps like Bradley Cooper (did you know Wet Hot, where he played secretly gay drama dude Ben, was his first movie ever?!), Amy Poehler (drama gal Susie), Paul Rudd (resident mean dude Andy), Elizabeth Banks (BBQ saucy Lindsay), Joe Lo Truglio (high-pitched tag-along Neil), Ken Marino (Victor Kulak, secret virgin), Christopher Meloni (oddball cook Gene) and H. Jon Benjamin (Can of Vegetables). And don’t forget about forever faves Molly Shannon (recently divorced Gail), David Hyde Pierce (physicist Henry Newman), Michael Ian Black (McKinley!), Michael Showalter (adorkable, yet kinda creepy Coop) and Janeane Garofalo (camp director Beth), as well as Wet Hot staples Zak Orth (J.J.), Marguerite Moreau (Coop’s crush and Andy’s girl Katie) and Marisa Ryan (the unforgettable, unattainable Abby Bernstein)!
Best of all, they all seem to be having the time of their lives getting to play these over-the-top characters in new, even more over-the-top ways. (I’m being vague, but I swear it’s for your own good/laughs! The best parts of the movie are the unexpected ones, and the same goes for the show.)
And the music is back too!
Remember the theme music, a.k.a. the opening bit of Jefferson Starship’s “Jane”? Oh, you better believe it’s back. Know what else is back? A certain motivational song that takes you higher and higherrrrrrrr every time you hear it (for newbies, that’s “Higher and Higher,” a perfect spoof of all training montage songs custom-made for the movie).
Oh, and wait until you get a listen to the lyrics to the songs from the faux musical Susie and Ben are making the new kids do on Day 1. Let’s just say these new tracks are, to quote Danny Zuko, ELECTRIFYINGGGGG!
The jokes remain on point
The humor in this show isn’t exactly for everyone, (I know a few other writers who have seen the episodes and weren’t nearly as keen because they “just didn’t get it.”) But if you loved the movie’s humor, get those short-shorts and s’mores ready and prepare to camp out in front of your TV. The jokes here are just as endlessly quotable. Don’t get mad at me if you watch all eight episodes in a single sitting (that’s what I did with the first six, minus the s’mores!), or if you bust the gut of your vintage tee open from laughing so hard.
There are even more amazing camp cameos
As if the original cast wasn’t enough to give you all the feels, we also get to see Kristen Wiig, Chris Pine, Lake Bell, Jason Schwartzman, Mikaela Watkins, Paul Scheer, Weird Al, Michael Cera, Josh Charles, Randall Park, and a whole platter of men from Mad Men (Jon Hamm, John Slattery and Rich Sommer!) spend some time at Camp Firewood, each of them playing parts that are actually outrageous and often totally out of normal character.
You’ll particularly flip for Wiig as a girl from a neighboring preppy camp who tries way to hard to get the dudes to like her. Oh, did I mention that Cera’s ‘stache is on display for all the right reasons? And movie and series creator David Wain plays Coop’s new (or is it old?) romantic nemesis and wears the most incredible (a.k.a. awful) wig? Talk about finding “a new way” in the best way.
You’ll get some answers, and they’ll be weird
Still unclear on why Gene became the way he is? Wondering who in their right mind could have broken Gail’s heart so badly that she had to get with a camper at the end of the summer? Curious about the origin story of that can? I’m gonna tell you right now that you’re going to get some answers in First Day of Camp and they are even more weird than expected and thus, totally spot-on.
And did I mention it takes place on the first day of camp?
Meaning this is a prequel. Meaning everyone is playing even younger versions of themselves than they were playing in the movie, which is now itself 10 years old. Meaning everything is more surreal—and Wet Hot American Summer-esque!—than ever before.
Now, if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go rewatch the movie as many times as physically possible before I can see how First Day of Camp ends!
[Image via Netflix]