Netflix debuted its newest series, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. It’s the latest in Netflix’s mission to bring back everything you ever loved and it’s also kind of a no-brainer given that the cast of Wet Hot featured every major name in comedy before they were famous. Written by Michael Showalter and David Wain, the original movie released in 2001 featured Janeane Garofolo, David Hyde Pierce, Marguerite Moreau, Michael Ian Black, Zak Orth, A.D. Miles, Paul Rudd, Molly Shannon, Ken Marino, Joe Lo Truglio, Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, Elizabeth Banks, Judah Friedlander, and Christopher Meloni. The new series has added even more stars like Jason Schwartzman, Kristen Wiig, Jon Hamm, Lake Bell, and Jordan Peele to name a few. But beyond remembering all the names of the ridiculously stacked cast, there’s a couple of things you might want to be aware of before diving into First Day of Camp.
1. The year is 1981: The original WHAS is set during the last day of camp in the summer of 1981. Rather than setting this new series 14 years later in 1995, this series is a prequel set during the first day of that same summer. The fashion may also throw you off as we’re coming out of the 70s and the vibe is definitely not the high glam 80s you remember.
2. The counselors are mostly teenagers: One of the conceits of the original film is that these very adult looking adults are actually are all 16-18 year old counselors who ignore the children they are watching in order to get laid and get high. The few exceptions are Janeane Garofolo as the camp director, Molly Shannon as the arts and crafts teacher who is going through a divorce and Christopher Meloni as the camp cook. So now 14 years later we have even older adults playing teenagers.
3. No one cares about these kids: Part of the hilarity of the first film is that it’s the last day of camp and the counselors and kids are so jaded that they let the campers take the boats out by themselves or leave them in the middle of rafting trips to go get laid. I expect this will be somewhat different since this is the first day of camp, but not much different.
4. Paul Rudd is the unequivocal stud of the camp: This probably isn’t too hard to believe after seeing his abs in Ant Man but I remember being very surprised that Paul Rudd was playing the hottie character in anything. They do offset that image with the fact that his character, Andy, is clearly a horrible boyfriend.
5. Everything is inappropriate: The reason WHAS is a cult classic is because if you’ve ever gone to camp or been a camper, this movie is your experience turned up to 100. Every counselor has wanted to go off and hook up while their campers are playing capture the flag or say out loud how lame the camp talent show is going to be but these people actually do it. And it’s horrible. And wonderful.