'Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp' Review

After absolutely adoring the 2001 cult classic 'Wet Hot American Summer', I had immediately put up the upcoming Netflix series as one of my most anticipated shows of the whole year. With its release a long bingewatch later, I can finally figure out if it lives up to the movie or if it's just a desperate attempt to try and relive the spirit of the movie but fail. Does it?

Simple question shall receive a simple answer; 'Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp' is great. A near perfect loveletter to the weird nature and insane humor the original movie had in spades. There seems to be this weird turnaround this year for filmmakers who return to their early days and actually manage to make a very good followup, something that seemed to be impossible up until this point. It happened with George Miller and 'Mad Max: Fury Road' and now it's happened with Michael Showalter, David Wain and the entire cast of 'Wet Hot American Summer' (let us all hold hands and pray that the same thing will happen with Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell with 'Ash vs Evil Dead' later this year). It has to be mentioned that they somehow managed to get pretty much the entire original cast back for this show - quite an achievement after so many of them moved on to become movie stars like Paul Rudd and Bradley Cooper. The latter even shot all of his scenes in a single day back in February, something that makes watching the shots of him even more hilarious because you can see where they needed to cut corners.

As usual when I review a whole season I always include a ranking of the all the episodes from best to worst as well as the rating I would give each one so without further ado, here is the basics of what I thought of each of the episodes in 'Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp': 

Episode 8      Day is Done             10/10
Episode 6      Electro/City            10/10
Episode 5      Dinner                  10/10
Episode 7      Staff Party             9/10
Episode 4      Auditions               8/10
Episode 3      Activities              8/10
Episode 1      Campers Arrive          8/10
Episode 2      Lunch                   8/10

It appears the first 2 episodes (primarily the first) were divisive amongst the fans and I can certainly see where they are coming from, and respectfully disagree as I was having way too much fun with these characters and all the crazy shenanigans they get into. The thing with this universe is you need to give it time to pull you into the world of craziness. It needs to get you in the right mindset, and when you get there, it's one of the funniest things you'll ever watch. By the latter half of the season, you're laughing nonstop at even the most simplistic jokes. That said, not a single episode failed sending me to the floor laughing. This is probably the funniest piece of entertainment I will see all year and possibly one of the best seasons from any TV-Show released this year. It is really hard for me to say I dislike any of the episodes because even though it definitely focused a bit too much on the new character Kevin at the beginning, by episode three we get a lot more of the characters we know and love and it's basically just back to a normal insanely eventful Camp Firewood day. Every ounce of worry I had coming into it was shredded by just the opening, the title cards telling us the time is a definite proof that the same amount of love and understanding of what made 'Wet Hot American Summer' work has been put into the show. In the movie they always get a laugh out of the audience (this is something I covered in my review) because something really eventful that must have taken several hours out of their day will occur -  and then we hardcut to the title card telling us only 20 minutes have passed. If this show was terrible, I expected these title cards would only be there to just tell us the time and not actually make it a joke, just because "it's a thing that happened in the original movie".

In the final episode ('Day is Done') we get a hand to hand combat scene which is just excellent. It's actually shocking how well choreographed and filmed it is. Something even major motion pictures fail at. Somehow 'Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp' pulled it off in style and hilarity. Actually, the entire season is surprisingly well filmed for a show like this and it just makes me want more. A lot more.

Before I finish the review I just want to say, to all of you people out there bashing this TV-Show or the movie and starting it with "Listen, I got all the jokes but..." - and then move on to complain about plot holes, deus ex machinas, really silly gags etc... just know one thing; If you open with any of that, you probably did not get it. I'm sorry, but you probably didn't. No matter how hard you try to prove it. If you're trying to poke holes in a story that is deliberately poking holes in itself, you probably didn't get it.

Yes, not ever episode was perfect, some made me laugh harder than others, but I have to judge this show based on what it actually is here for - which is to make you laugh and on that aspect, in 8 episodes, it knocked it out of the park more than practically any other show I have ever seen in my life. 'Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp' is the best season I have seen from any TV-Show this year so far and I am completely ready to call it the best season when the year is done (we still have a few of my favorite shows left however), I loved it so much that there really is no other rating I can give it than;


- Lucas


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