‘Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp’ episode 5 review: The real Jonas … or the real Gene?

SummerWe come out of the fifth episode of “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp” feeling somewhat mixed, mostly because we spent a good several minutes of the episode on a Jonas / Viktor escape gag that may have been too much of something from the original movie, and with so much time there, we didn’t perhaps get enough elsewhere. Take, for example, the wonderfully awkward scenes between Coop and Donna as he continues to realize that he is second place in just about everything to Yaron.

Can we say again how much we love that both Michael Showalter and David Wain are still game for great stuff both on and off-screen with this prequel? These are some of our favorite scenes so far, mostly because their chemistry is super-fun and it’s different than any dynamic we had in the film.

In going back to Jonas (who officially later became Gene), his transformation was mostly hysterical in how it came about. As it turns out, it was not Gail learning about his true self that was the problem that ultimately ended their relationship; instead, it was more along the lines of her deciding to give things a shot with Jeff (middle name Jeff), the records guy played by the amazing Randall Park. This reckless manner of romance for Gail really does help to explain how she ends up where she does at the end of the movie.

While the Susie stuff was fun largely thanks to both Amy Poehler and John Slattery trading comments, the other major highlight of episode 5 was ironically one we didn’t love weeks ago. The thing is, seeing Michael Cera play the Camp Firewood version of Saul Goodman was worthy of some great laughs, especially since he is convinced of his own incompetence. Still, he is really the only hero they have at a time when The Falcon is fastly approaching.

As for everything else in episode 5, it was fine. There was a nice appearance by Chris Pine as Eric, the former rock star now living alone in the creepy cabin, and Lindsay continues to be one of the surprising highlights of the show. We’re only watching a single episode a day, and we find that an interesting experience where we’re left constantly wanting more since we’re only getting such bite-sized morsels of each story. We wonder if that would change in the event we were getting more of them. Grade: B+.

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