It’s difficult to explain the allure of Netflix’ Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. The outrageously silly comedy is a prequel to the 2001 cult film about a group of teenaged summer camp counselors in 1981 (then played by relatively unknown twenty-something actors such as Bradley Cooper and Elizabeth Banks, now played by forty-something A-List celebrities such as Bradley Cooper and Elizabeth Banks). If you’re into odd humour that doesn’t make any sense whatsoever, this show is for you…
Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp (2015): Created by Michael Showalter and David Wain; 8 episodes à 30 mins.; starring Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, Elizabeth Banks, Chris Pine, Jason Schwartzman (The Darjeeling Limited), Jordan Peele (Key & Peele), Ken Marino (Veronica Mars), Michael Cera, Josh Charles (The Good Wife), Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig.
For Fans of: Outrageously silly comedy as seen on Angie Tribeca and The Naked Gun movies.
To binge or not to binge? I’d advice against binging simply because the humour is so rich and weird that you want to give it room to breathe.
Where can I watch? Only on Netflix
It’s hard to believe, but there was a time when nobody knew who Bradley Cooper was. Which is why Wet Hot American Summer is a very interesting chapter in the Oscar nominees career. Back in 2001, Cooper was cast in the film alongside 90s heartthrob Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, who would join the cast of Saturday Night Live that same year, and a relative unknown blonde by the name of Elizabeth Banks.
The outrageously silly comedy about a group of summer camp counselors became a cult hit and most of the principal actors came to fame in the years that followed. Which is why it was a genius idea on Netflix’ part to revisit “Camp Firewood” with an eight part series in in 2015. And not just that, but to have it be a prequel to the film, meaning that the actors, now 15 years older, would be playing even younger versions of their 2001 characters. But if you think that that’s the oddest thing about the show, you are wildly mistaken. To help you decide whether the show is something you might enjoy, here are some of its silliest moments…
1. A camper gets her period for the first time…
… and five seconds later…
…is re-cast with an adult woman
2. Elizabeth Banks goes undercover
Banks plays a Rolling Stones type journalist who poses as a camper to find out what it’s “really like” to be a teenager at summer camp. But first she has to convince her colleagues that she can pass for a 16-year old – and succeeds by putting a hair clip in and doing a sultry over-the-shoulder-turn.
3. Mitch falls into toxic sludge and is turned into a can of vegetables
It’s even weirder when you consider that the series is a prequel to the 2001 film in which the talking can also made an appearance – without any context or back story whatsoever. Just a talking can of mixed vegetables, no big deal.
4. Jeff Jeff
Molly Shannon’s character Gail does a background check on her fiancé with the help of city hall records clerk Jeff. Bonded by their sleuthing, Jeff asks Gail to call him by his middle name.
5. Chris Pine’s cameo
Pine is one of the few cast members appearing in the Netflix series who wasn’t part of the 2001 film. He plays a reclusive rock-star who lives in a cabin in the woods that the campers believe to be haunted. But after an enlightening sexual encounter with Elizabeth Banks’ character (that’s eerily reminiscent of Tom Cruise and Malin Akerman’s tête-à-tête in Rock of Ages), he feels inspired to take up music again and ends up performing “Higher and Higher”, the unofficial theme song to the film and series.