We wish we could say “how we missed you” to “Wet Hot American Summer,” but the reality is that we only watched the movie for the first time earlier this week in preparation of checking out the Netflix prequel. Therefore, we don’t have the sense of nostalgia tied into the film in the way in which many people out there do, and we haven’t spent the past decade-plus quoting the movie or fighting with a can of vegetables.
Even still, to us there is no denying that it was a really funny film, and this is a really great start to an eight-part comedy series that really throws you back into Camp Firewood. All of these episodes will take you less than four hours to get through as a whole, but we’re going to spend our time the next week diving into a single episode a day.
Let’s start here with of course the beginning of the “First Day of Camp” mentioned in the title. We spent a bulk of the episode for the most part setting up different situations, but the majority of them were still very much funny, and a nice reminder of some events from the movie. We learned that Coop entered camp thinking he was in a different relationship, Katie actually had a different relationship with a guy from a nearby snobby camp, and the radio station did not even exist yet. Yet, we had the building blocks to much of what we see on that last day in this particular episode.
Of course, it’s unavoidable that seeing people like Michael Showalter and Paul Rudd playing teenagers so many years removed from the original movie is jarring, but about ten or fifteen minutes in you start to get used to it. We really like how they almost don’t even care that they look different than they once did; we could even see it becoming an in-joke. We’re glad that Showalter stuck to his intuition here and did a straight-up prequel rather than some new project featuring the original characters as parents or older people running the camp.
The amount of famous people in this is truly astounding, and we only reached the tip of the iceberg in this episode. One of the benefits of having this huge cast is that you can get people like a Rudd or an Amy Poehler without asking them to devote several months of their lives to filming.
Like we said, there’s not too much to note yet here story-wise, and maybe there never will. All we can say for now is that this is a ridiculously funny show, and anyone who loved the original movie will laugh out loud many times here. Maybe the first five or ten minutes are a little slow, but then it just fires off in a great direction after that. Episode Grade: A-.
We’ll be back tomorrow with another review. For now, click here to get some other TV updates on all we cover via our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: Netflix.)