If “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp” wanted to completely blow us away with character backstory, they definitely did that by starting up the second episode with the real backstory of Lindsay (Elizabeth Banks) as a journalist for a rock magazine desperate to prove herself. Therefore, she goes undercover at Camp Firewood to better understand some of how the young people are thinking, because their publication could cover more than just rock music. There is brilliance here in three separate ways:
1. This is a tongue-in-cheek joke about how much older some of the cast members now are than who they are playing on the show. (Michael Showalter, 45, is playing a teenage coup.)
2. This is a not-so-subtle dig at Rolling Stone and other publications who claim that they cover music, but really just cover whatever the heck they want.
3. Remember where Lindsay is in the original movie? Basically, she spends a good chunk of the last day of camp making out with anyone and everyone. This adds kind of a creepy / weird layer to everything knowing where she started.
Lindsay was pretty clearly the highlight of the second episode, which also featured Coop realizing more that “summer love” Donna was not his love and would not last the summer, that a toxic waste dump designed to fund the camp is now set to ruin it, and that Abby literally became a woman overnight. Was it all very funny? Tremendously so, but we wouldn’t say that there were the same laughs-per-minute ratio as in the premiere.
Also, the one thing we question now is the direction of the toxic waste dump. We didn’t necessarily think that the original film needed to spend so much time on the space-capsule-is-crashing crisis, and we’re not sure we need a similar event here. Maybe that’s because we don’t think the show necessarily needs peril … but we’re only two episodes. We reserve the right to change our mind as time goes on. Episode Grade: B.
We’re going to continue to post reviews for every episode of “First Day of Camp” as the season progresses every day at the link here. To sign up to get some further TV updates via our CarterMatt Newsletter, click here. (Photo: Netflix.)