A Campy Series


Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp – Beth and I actually watched the original movie just a few years ago, even though she was a fan of The State back when it was still airing on television. I remember some parts of it being really funny, but there was also quite a bit that I didn’t remember. I’m pretty sure I didn’t write a review of it, for whatever reason. That took place on the last day of summer camp, and the new series is set on the first day. Most of the actors returned, and the fact that they’re now fifteen years older (and that’s taking into account that some of the ones who played teenagers were ALREADY too old to do so convincingly even back when the movie was made) is made into a joke. Director and co-writer David Wain also appeared as a character this time. What I think really worked here was that they really played up the absurdity and the fact that it was set in 1981. There’s a whole espionage subplot involving the dumping of glowing green toxic waste, which also includes characters hacking the government’s computer system with a single password, a judge accepting eight-inch floppy disks as case-breaking evidence despite no one even looking at what was on them, and Michael Showalter playing a totally unhinged President Reagan.

It also gives a back story for the talking can of vegetables in the film, specifically that the former camp director fell into the toxic waste while carrying the can, resulting in their being fused together.

Also spoofed were the snooty rich kids at a nearby camp causing trouble for little reason, and a journalist going undercover as a teenager to get a story. It came across as more of a totally absurd spoof than the affectionate parody that the original movie was (well, much of the time, anyway), and I think that worked in its favor. And “Weird Al” Yankovic makes an appearance.

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