Here's What to Expect From Netflix's Wet Hot American Summer TV Show

by | July 28, 2015 | Comments

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, Netflix’s reboot of the titular 2001 cult film, is upon us. And before you binge your way through Camp Firewood this weekend, check out the Rotten Tomatoes primer on everything you need to know about season one.



Welcome to Camp Firewood, 1981. For those familiar with the film, it’s the same Maine summer camp where Wet Hot American Summer is set — but, while the movie took place over the last day of camp, the new TV version starts on the first day of camp. In other words, this is a prequel set two months prior (even though the cast is 15 years older). The entire season is a continuing storyline transpiring over a single day, with episodes that should be seen in order, preferably binge-watched like a long movie.


Pretty much everybody you remember from the original movie shows up for the TV series. Molly Shannon is back as crafts teacher Gail von Kleinenstein, as is her love interest, Gene (Christopher Meloni), the disturbed Vietnam vet-turned-camp chef. Janeane Garofalo returns as Beth (on her way to becoming camp director) and her soon-to-be love interest, Professor Henry Newman (David Hyde Pierce). The camp counselors are also in full attendance: Andy (Paul Rudd), Gerald “Coop” Cooperberg (Showalter), J.J. (Zak Orth), Victor Pulak (Ken Marino), Neil (Joe Lo Truglio), McKinley Dozen (Michael Ian Black), Katie (Marguerite Moreau), Ben (Bradley Cooper), Susie (Amy Poehler), Lindsay (Elizabeth Banks), Ron Von Kleinenstein (Judah Friedlander), and Can of Vegetables (H. Jon Benjamin).


If your mind hasn’t exploded yet from the roster of stars who made it back to Camp Firewood, it might when you see the talent who was added to the First Day of Camp. Without spoiling too much, we can tell you that Mad Men alumns Jon Hamm and John Slattery show up, as well as Jason Schwartzman (Rushmore), Lake Bell (In a World), Rob Huebel (Transparent), Jordan Peele (Key & Peele), Paul Scheer (The League) , Josh Charles (The Good Wife), ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic (UHF), Chris Pine (Star Trek), Michaela Watkins (Enough Said), and Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids).


“Part of what happened with us is we realized we had more story that we wanted to tell than what we could fit into a 90-minute vessel,” Wain told reporters at a Netflix press day in April. “So we just kept thinking about it and realized that the platform, and the medium, and the audience, and the creative space of Netflix was perfect. That had just emerged at around the time that we were thinking about this, and so it was a perfect convergence.”


Watching the film (which is currently streaming on Netflix) is not a prerequisite for enjoying the show — though it would augment the experience. “If you’re a fan of the movie, or you know it well, then there’s a whole layer of many, many, many little and big ways that things get set up, or precursors to elements of the movie, that we tried to make clever, funny, [with] fun reveals and so on,” Wain teased. Also, since the TV show is a prequel, the events from the movie haven’t happened yet.


“After a few minutes you’re not even thinking about how old they are. You’re just watching this story of these teenagers and laughing,” Wain explained. It was always part of the bit that the actors were too old for their characters in the film, but, of course, 15 years later, the age difference is even more apparent — and more funny. “I do think it gives you an opportunity to see it in a way that you wouldn’t,” Showalter said about the age of the cast. “There is an element of satire to it that you wouldn’t get if you had actual teenagers playing these characters.”



If you’re a fan of the film Wet Hot American Summer, you can expect much of the same silliness and meta-comedy from the new TV show. But, while the movie showed camp counselors on a heroin bender, you might not see as much shock humor in this version. “In [the TV show] Stella, and even a little bit in Wet Hot, there was an element of trying to be outrageous — potentially offensive,” Showalter said. “That’s less interesting to me right now — that particular kind of throw-caution-to-the-wind. I’m more interested in a certain kind of fun. I want people to feel good.”


There’s no word yet on whether or not there will be a season two, but WHAS creators Showalter and Wain seem open to it. Wrangling the talent for the TV reunion was strangely easier than expected. “We just basically set a date and said, “Okay, whenever anyone’s free during that time, come on over and we’ll shoot,” Wain said. “So, that was never the delay. It was just sort of getting the whole machine up and running. But, yeah, I think there’s plenty more to do if it all works out. It would be great.”

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp premieres this Friday on Netflix. Read reviews here.

Tag Cloud

golden globes Captain marvel Comedy Central Lionsgate Mary poppins SXSW Box Office supernatural WarnerMedia Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 20th Century Fox robots crime Super Bowl 24 frames Heroines Logo psycho hist binge anthology streaming E3 revenge Schedule President History Trophy Talk Song of Ice and Fire adventure science fiction Tarantino X-Men Netflix crime drama TLC cooking zombie children's TV medical drama sports CW Seed Mindy Kaling theme song IFC Pet Sematary Rocketman discovery comiccon Acorn TV Sony Pictures Character Guide transformers Paramount Network Universal Crackle OWN Binge Guide witnail Teen DC streaming service Fall TV TBS period drama Awards TCA 2017 Rom-Com Disney streaming service politics First Look Showtime spy thriller PBS Food Network space TIFF justice league Music Cartoon Network Black Mirror cops dramedy Extras cats DirecTV diversity El Rey Star Trek Election HBO Max Sundance Now Film Festival RT21 DC Comics Stephen King cars Walt Disney Pictures 2017 tv talk Pixar Amazon Prime Chernobyl book zero dark thirty Mudbound Polls and Games The Witch police drama Premiere Dates Pride Month CBS what to watch MTV anime Disney Channel Sneak Peek TNT Chilling Adventures of Sabrina elevated horror Grammys crossover comic Hulu Shondaland Red Carpet vampires Comic Book Summer Valentine's Day Year in Review 2018 ITV Dark Horse Comics Watching Series Marvel doctor who spinoff sitcom historical drama Ellie Kemper 45 Spectrum Originals NBC Shudder Mystery Superheroe war Freeform blaxploitation Superheroes television Martial Arts Nat Geo finale cults richard e. Grant Opinion Winter TV Holidays quibi crime thriller 2015 Comics on TV Reality Competition CMT PaleyFest RT History dragons composers movies ghosts Oscars BBC America 21st Century Fox Starz cinemax Western Best and Worst casting TCM natural history MCU APB Set visit GoT Photos Nominations SundanceTV psychological thriller SDCC FOX Fantasy Trivia green book Ovation Sundance GIFs Mary Tyler Moore Tomatazos sequel Calendar dc Anna Paquin mockumentary Disney HBO Bravo Action Comedy TV boxoffice Marathons Epix AMC unscripted Drama facebook thriller Spring TV Masterpiece LGBTQ DGA Interview Countdown festivals ratings Spike WGN FX USA Thanksgiving ABC Family Adult Swim Certified Fresh 2016 Ghostbusters miniseries USA Network Reality VH1 animated travel based on movie Quiz Sci-Fi Esquire kids series Film Mary Poppins Returns Awards Tour nature Emmy Nominations The CW YouTube Premium E! Star Wars Amazon Prime Video talk show Video Games disaster spider-man Cosplay Pop Winners Apple political drama National Geographic Country singing competition jamie lee curtis NYCC CNN Creative Arts Emmys Animation award winner mutant Biopics American Society of Cinematographers adaptation Trailer Musical MSNBC social media true crime Women's History Month Cannes Britbox docudrama Emmys biography TV Land Pirates Writers Guild of America ESPN YouTube Red serial killer ABC Rock 007 New York Comic Con A&E Infographic Vudu Lucasfilm stand-up comedy 2019 Toys BBC BET game show Christmas Nickelodeon Rocky GLAAD Syfy technology Warner Bros. CBS All Access Podcast aliens Brie Larson Columbia Pictures Paramount strong female leads The Arrangement toy story San Diego Comic-Con YA Tumblr harry potter Family See It Skip It DC Universe TCA Musicals Amazon Lifetime TruTV LGBT FXX teaser Fox News dceu Horror romance Elton John IFC Films VICE zombies Kids & Family