I’d recently seen adverts for the Wet Hot American Summer series, so I looked it up on Netflix. I hadn’t realised that there was a film before the series, so recently me and Michael had a bit of a WHAS Netflix marathon! (If you click on the image above, it’ll take you straight to the Netflix page with all 3 listed – how good to you, am I, eh?!)
First up, Wet Hot American Summer (2001) – the film
You need to watch the film first. It stars a whole host of big names, with quite a few of them crediting WHAS as their first feature film (Bradley Cooper, Amy Poehler and Elizabeth Banks). The rest of the cast includes Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Molly Shannon, Paul Rudd, Christopher Meloni, Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black, Zak Orth and A.D. Miles. I tried to write a synopsis, but then I realised that Wikipedia had already created a great one, so here it is:
In 1981, Camp Firewood, a summer camp located near Waterville, Maine, is preparing for its last day of camp. Counselors have one last chance to have a romantic encounter with another person at Camp Firewood. The summer culminates in a talent show.
Beth (Janeane Garofalo), the camp director, struggles to keep her counselors in order – and her campers alive – while falling in love with Henry (David Hyde Pierce), an astrophysics associate professor at Colby College. Henry has to devise a plan to save the camp from a piece of NASA’s Skylab, which is falling to Earth.
Coop (Michael Showalter) has a crush on Katie (Marguerite Moreau), his fellow counselor, but has to pry her away from her rebellious, obnoxious, and obviously unfaithful boyfriend, Andy (Paul Rudd). Only Gene (Christopher Meloni), the shell-shocked Vietnam war veteran and camp chef, can help Coop win Katie—with some help from a talking can of vegetables (voiced by H. Jon Benjamin).
All the while, Gary (A.D. Miles), Gene’s unfortunately chosen apprentice, and J.J. (Zak Orth) attempt to figure out why McKinley (Michael Ian Black) hasn’t been with a woman, the reason being that McKinley is in love with Ben (Bradley Cooper), whom he marries in a ceremony by the lake; Victor (Ken Marino) attempts to lose his virginity with the resident loose-girl Abby (Marisa Ryan); and Susie (Amy Poehler) and Ben attempt to produce and choreograph the greatest talent show Camp Firewood has ever seen.
It really is a funny film, and I highly recommend you watch it!
Watching time: 1h 37 minutes
Then, there’s the series Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp…
This eight-episode Netflix series is a prequel to the original film, and so really I would recommend watching the film first. The series is set on the first day of camp, and so (if you’ve watched the film first), a lot of things will start to make sense. Like, how did Gail end up with Ron? How did Katie get to together with Andy? Why is there a talking tin can in the film? All these answers, and more! As well as all of the original cast, there are a number of famous faces who pop up: Chris Pine, John Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Josh Charles, Lake Bell, Michael Cera, Jayma Mays and even “Weird Al” Yankovic.
Watching time: There are 8 episodes at around 30 minutes each so let’s call it 4 hours
Then, there’s the making of Hurricane of Fun: The Making of Wet Hot
This is a behind the scenes view of the making of the 2001 film, when Michael Showalter (one of the writers) and David Wain (the other writer and director) try to make a film set on one sunny day in camp, when in fact the elements are against them and they had nothing but driving rain and muddy conditions. After watching the film and the series, it is a perfect way to round off your Netflix binge watch.
Watching time: 1h 4 minutes
Total watching time: 6h 41 minutes
All totally worth it 🙂