Actually, I had intended to make this post coincide neatly with the July 31st release of “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp” on Netflix, and I DID do the binge-watching in two days so I was ready…but somehow now it’s the third week of August and, welp, don’t we ALL want to revisit summer just a little bit at this point? (Say yes.)
If you’re unfamiliar with the cult classic movie “Wet Hot American Summer”, you can easily catch up on Netflix. (In fact, I highly recommend you watch the movie first before the “prequel” episodes that were just released as a Netflix Original.)
The movie was in theaters back in 2001 and was written and produced by David Wain and Michael Showalter. (If you’re familiar with MTV’s “The State”, you’ll recognize those names.) It takes place at a fictional 1981 summer camp called Camp Firewood, and the entire movie is about the LAST day of camp. That’s one of the funniest things as a viewer, realizing time and time again throughout the movie that it’s still the same day. One of the other hilarious elements is that the main characters, the crazy, dysfunctional camp counselors, are all supposed to be sixteen or seventeen years old and the members of the cast were all clearly too old for those roles at the time of filming. Just go with it; it’s part of the joke.
The cast is an eclectic mix: Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Elizabeth Banks, Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper (in his debut movie role!), Michael Ian Black, Christopher Meloni, Ken Marino, Marisa Ryan, Molly Shannon, and lots of others including (my favorite) Paul Rudd.
The movie is ridiculous, and completely hilarious. It’s one of those films for which it’s best to just sit back and let yourself laugh at the insanity. Jim and I have watched it countless times and its awkwardness and silliness never gets old.
The news that an eight-episode series called “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp” would be streaming on Netflix made Jim and me very happy. All eight take place during the one day and tie up some loose ends (and yes, create a few more unanswered questions). The original cast came back for it, and now that they’re all fourteen years older but still playing characters that are sixteen or seventeen years old takes the insanity to a whole other level. Additions to the cast for this go-around include John Slattery, Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Lake Bell, Jordan Peele, and more. We LOVED the series, and I’ve already watched it all the way through a second time.
I didn’t have to go far to look for more where that came from. Also streaming on Netflix? “Hurricane of Fun: The Making of Wet Hot”. This hour-long documentary is a glimpse into the making of the original movie and includes hilarious footage of all the stars (fresh-faced Bradley Cooper, waxing poetic as a fresh college grad? AWWW!) interacting as if they were truly at camp together. It’s clear how much fun they had on set, and it’s clear why they all came back for the series. This documentary is a must-see for true fans.
So while all of the kids are headed back to school, here’s YOUR assignment: hit up Netflix for Wet Hot viewing in THIS ORDER:
1. “Wet Hot American Summer” (the original movie)
2. “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp” (the prequel/eight episodes)
3. “Hurricane of Fun: The Making of Wet Hot”
You just might find yourself putting “Return to summer camp” on your bucket list. Apparently you’re never too old!