Camp it Up

Wet Hot American Summer is a polarizing movie. It made no money at the box office, but became a cult success, and is still dividing friends who generally have similar movie tastes to this day. I love it, but have proudly screened it for people who then asked me what in the hell I see in something so unabashedly absurd.

When Netflix announced a limited run of a prequel series called First Day of Camp, I was immediately on board. I was nervous that the attempt to recapture the off-the-wall tone of a movie almost fifteen years old would fall flat, but there was no way in hell I was going to pass up the chance to see this cast again. Janeane Garofalo. Amy Poehler. Paul Rudd. Bradley Cooper. Elizabeth Banks. Christopher Meloni. Molly Shannon. Ken Marino. Joe Lo Truglio. Zak Orth. Michael Ian Black. Michael Showalter. David Hyde Pierce.

And if they (and additional original cast members) weren't enough, there are heaps of amazing cameos as well. A talented cast doesn't automatically mean a great show, though, so I dipped my toe into the series cautiously a few days ago.

Yeah, I'm already done. There are only eight episodes, and they fly by. I'm also happy to report that the series effortlessly nails the gleeful goofiness of the original movie, and even manages to center all the hijinx around some (relatively) stable storylines. They involve weddings, government conspiracies, a staff play, and a rock guitarist hermit.

It doesn't help sell any comedy to over-explain the jokes, but there are plenty of fun Easter eggs to spot for fans of the movie. Do those street punks in the convenience store look familiar? They should! Actors who were already in their '20s and '30s to play teenagers in the 2001 movie are now playing even younger, and they incorporate that in hilarious ways. Naturally, everyone has to wind up in their starting position for the last day of camp shown in the movie, so it's grand fun to see the convoluted twists they go through to get there.

I'm not sure how much an audience who never saw (or didn't like) the movie would react to this series, but for the fans who have been endlessly rewatching and quoting Wet Hot American Summer for fourteen years, this is a camp you'll never want to come home from.

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp: A-


Post a Comment

Copyright © Slice of Lime