Some people have nothing but good memories of summer camp — I will never be one of them. However, when it comes to Wet Hot American Summer: First Day Of Camp, I have almost nothing but good things to say. Debuting on Netflix on July 31, the eight-episode series is a prequel to the 2001 flick of almost the same name from David Wain and Michael Showalter. Even though it flopped at the time, the Wain-directed film has achieved significant cult status. Flash forward to today and, as my video review above says, you have one of those rare circumstances where the prequel is better than the original.
For one thing, this time round, everyone’s in on the joke of the antics from the counselors and kids at a 1981 Maine summer camp. Sure, there’s a story of a sort, but the real treat of First Day Of Camp is the cast, almost all of whom have gone on to much bigger things since the movie came out. From Ant-Man himself Paul Rudd to Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Christopher Meloni, Michael Ian Black and Elizabeth Banks to the theatre-program coordinators played by Amy Poehler and Bradley Cooper and more, the gang’s all here – and looser and more adolescent than ever, which is pretty impressive for a bunch of 40-year-olds. With a built-in fanbase to play to, the script from Wain and Showalter, who also stars in the movie and the show, is a lot of bad penis jokes, bad rock ‘n’ roll and good times seemingly had by all.
Add to that mix the new kids on the block like Jon Hamm, John Slattery, Lake Bell, Chris Pine, Jason Schwartzman, Kristen Wiig and a very preppy and very would-be evil Josh Charles, and the absurdity of it all just gets better. And there’s Weird Al Yankovic and Ronald Reagan too.
We all have that guilty pleasure of something that is so bad, it’s good. There’s also looming disappointments like Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, which is debuts on Syfy tonight and is just stupid bad. But rarely do we get the unabashed fun of something becoming better. Well, get ready to binge at the end of the month campers, because that’s what Wet Hot American Summer: First Day Of Camp is.
Check out my review and tell us what you think. Will you be watching?
Editors Note: This review originally ran July 22.