Wet Hot American Summer is officially returning for the 14 years later prequel we’ve all been waiting for.
But because it’s been 14 years, it might need some dusting off in your brain. So gather round the campfire — or don’t, it’s not like your counselors will actually notice — to revisit Camp Firewood, home of screwball timelines, men in short shorts, and negligent counselors (“McKinley, there are some lower campers stuck in the obstacle course. I meant to tell you about that yesterday, but could you get to it now?”) and prepare for the impending eight-episode Netflix prequel. Here’s why the first Wet Hot American Summer was so sublimely dumb and dumbly sublime.
Paul Rudd being a dick. Paul Rudd is America’s nice guy. He’s an amiable everyman who is handsome in a nonthreatening way and has a pleasant laugh and seems like he probably has a dog named Buster or Duke that he walks three times a day. He plays that role in almost every movie and ostensibly his own life. He’s among the lowest on the list of celebrities you’d expect to see involved in a sex tape scandal or caught yelling Mel Gibsonian racial slurs. That’s why it’s so fun to see him let loose as a douchebag. This is one of the best scenes in cinematic history:
Who could argue with Katie’s speech at the end about why she’s staying with him?
Listen, Coop - last night was really great. You were incredibly romantic and heroic, no doubt about it. And that’s great. But I’ve thought about it, and my thing is this: Andy is really hot. And don’t get me wrong, you’re cute too, but Andy is like, cut… He has this beautiful face and this incredible body, and I genuinely don’t care that he’s kinda lame. I don’t even care that he cheats on me. And I like you more than I like Andy, Coop, but I’m 16. And maybe it’ll be a different story when I’m ready to get married, but right now, I am entirely about sex. I just wanna get laid. I just wanna take him and grab him and fuck his brains out, ya know? So that’s where my priorities are right now. Sex. Specifically with Andy and not with you.
The timeline. From the counselors’ hour-long drug bender that takes them through every stage of addiction, to lines like “meet me over there in 10 seconds,” and “I’ve done a lot of growing up since before dinner,” the movie was never afraid to be absolutely ridiculous — and skewer typical teen movies that do it unintentionally. The show is sticking to the wacky timeline by having the actors play younger versions of their characters, despite the fact that they’re all noticeably 14 years older. Paul Rudd might ruin the gag with his damn agelessness, but otherwise, we can look forward to more of this:
And declarations of love like this:
When we first started hanging out together, this morning, we were just friends; but things change, and I’ve fallen in love with you. I just know that if you gave me a chance, I could make you feel so good. So I am coming, not as your buddy, and not as a co-counselor, but for the first time as a man — a man who loves a woman, and who wants to hold her and provide for her and, yes, have sex with her; but no, seriously, Katie, I love the way you laugh and I love the way your hair smells and I love it that sometimes for no reason you’re late for shul, and I don’t care that you’re bowlegged and I don’t care that you’re bilingual — all I know is that…I’ve always wanted you.
The random sensual gay sex scene that came from absolutely nowhere. It’s sensual. It’s intimate. It doesn’t fit the tone of the movie at all. It works because it shouldn’t work — there’s no joke, no gag. It’s as if the writers just said, “What if we stuck in an out-of-the-blue scene that seems like it’s from a completely different movie and see if anybody notices?” We noticed. And we hope you do it again, especially because Bradley Cooper has gotten a lot more famous since then.
The ‘80s training montages. There isn’t much to say here, not because it isn’t awesome, but because it speaks for itself. Judging from the background music in the trailer, we can hopefully expect more of this — and Jon Hamm might even join in this time.
The general batshittery. From Gene the chef and his talking beans and sweater-fondling to the world-altering talent show, every scene felt like the writers went, “What’s the most absurd over-the-top thing we can possibly do before someone tells us to stop?”
…and nobody told them to stop. Thank god.
Get pumped for the 8-episode Netflix comeback on July 31st.