Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp

wet hot american summer first day of camp poster netflix episode guide
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Fun of the movie continues in the series

If you didn't like the movie, you won't like the series


Camp Firewood is open!

Another summer has come and Camp Firewood is preparing for a whole new batch of campers.  Coop (Michael Showalter) looks to meet up with his new girlfriend Donna (Lake Bell).  Ben (Bradley Cooper) and Susie (Amy Poehler) are welcoming a new Broadway director named Claude Dumet (John Slattery) to the camp to help produce Electro/City.  Bad boy Andy (Paul Rudd) has set his sights on Katie (Marguerite Moreau) despite risking war with Camp Tigerclaw.  Gail (Molly Shannon) prepares for her wedding day to Gene (Christopher Meloni) and rock reporter Lindsay (Elizabeth Banks) goes undercover as a counselor to expose the camp’s secrets.  Unfortunately, there is danger lurking in the woods as a government planned chemical dump is uncovered by camp counselors Greg (Jason Schwartzman) and Beth (Janeane Garofalo), and it could put everyone at Camp Firewood in danger!


The origin of…the vegetable can!

Wet Hot American Summer:  First Day of Camp is an eight episode mini-series which was released on Netflix on July 31, 2015.  The series is a prequel to the cult favorite Wet Hot American Summer which bombed upon its release in 2001.  Like the movie, the series polarized critics who either liked or hated the concept from the movie.

I am pro-Wet Hot American Summer.  I liked the spoofing of bad ’80s camp movies and the over-the-top comedy of the film.  There were parts in the film that pushed things a bit too far (like the talking can of vegetables voiced by Archer star H. Jon Benjamin), but if you went with it, the series was fun…and this series seeks to unwrap some of the “mystery” of the movie.


See the glory of Electro/City!

One of the biggest jokes of Wet Hot American Summer:  First Day of Camp is that it is a prequel to the 2001 movie.  In 2001, the characters were already supposed to be too old for their roles and now they are almost fifteen years older.  You get jokes like Amy Poehler reminds John Slattery that she’s only sixteen years old and predictions that everyone will look fifteen years younger by the end of summer.  It is a stupid joke, but the type of joke you’d expect from the makers…and therefor fun.

The plot of the series unfolds much like the plot of the movie.  All eight episodes take place on the first day (minus a few scenes at the end of episode eight).  Every type of camp event you can imagine is crammed into the day and relationships are built and collapse multiple times through the day.  The drama is overly dramatic and the acting is over the top.  It is fun and goofy.


Beam me up!

Much of the cast of the movie had gone on to bigger and better things since the series ended.  It was quite a testament to get many of these actors back despite the commitment of the series.  It looks like the cast has fun and that is important in this type of show.  It also added Jason Schwartzman, Michael Cera, Kristen Wiig, Jon Hamm, John Slattery, and Chris Pine.

The TV series intentionally looks cheap.  It is part of the series charm.  The TV show like the movie is trying to lampoon camp movies that also usually were rather cheaply produced.  The TV series looks like it was put together on a rather cheap budget and it works.

Wet Hot American Summer:  First Day of Camp definitely won’t please everyone, but fans of the movie will enjoy.  It really catches the spirit the longer you watch.  With moderate success, Netflix followed up Wet Hot American Summer:  First Day of Camp with a sequel in 2017:  Wet Hot American Summer:  Ten Years Later.

Wet Hot American Summer:  First Day of Camp Episode Guide:


“Campers Arrive”

Episode 1        Campers Arrive Airdate:  07/31/15

Camp Firewood is open and the campers have arrived.  Now the camp counselors are meeting them for the first time as cabins are assigned, activities are picked, and the day kicks off.  Kevin (David Bloom) tries to find his place at the camp and faces off against bully Drew (Thomas Barbusca) with the help of Coop (Michael Showalter).  Claude Dumet (John Slattery) comes to Camp Firewood to work with Ben (Bradley Cooper) and Susie (Amy Poehler) on the stage show.  Boys head councilor Greg (Jason Schwartzman) overhears Mitch (H. Jon Benjamin) fighting to keep Camp Firewood open.  Plus, what is a company called Xenstar doing with barrels of mysterious glowing goop on Camp Firewood grounds?



Episode 2        Lunch Airdate:  07/31/15

Lindsay (Elizabeth Banks) goes undercover at Camp Firewood as a counselor.  Coop finds he has a rival in Donna (Lake Bell) from an Israeli soccer counselor named Yaron (David Wain).  Gail (Molly Shannon) arrives at camp and is reunited with her fiancé Gene (Christopher Meloni).  Lindsay learns about a mysterious cabin that no one in the camp seems to want to talk about.  Greg and Beth (Janeane Garofalo) find that someone is burying toxic waste on camp property.



Episode 3        Activities Airdate:  07/31/15

Mitch has been tragically killed by the toxic waste which he permitted the school to bury and orders Greg and Beth to find the source of the money.  Andy (Paul Rudd) makes a move on Katie (Marguerite Moreau) despite her being involved with Blake (Josh Charles) at Camp Tigerclaw.  Going to Steve (Kevin Sussman) for help with hacking Xenstar’s computer system, Gail learns the truth about Gene’s past and Mitch’s future is revealed.  As the search for the truth about the conspiracy unfolds, the Falcon (Jon Hamm) is activated to control it.



Episode 4        Auditions Airdate:  07/31/15

Henry Newman (David Hyde Pierce) finds his academic career falling apart and rents a cabin next to Camp Firewood.  The Falcon arrives and is out to stop the situation at Camp Firewood under President Reagan’s orders.  Auditions kick off for Electro/City and Katie makes the cut.  Jackie Brazen (“Weird Al” Yankovic) comes to the camp to demonstrate his hypnotism routine.



Episode 5        Dinner Airdate:  07/31/15

Andy debates quitting Electro/City.  Gene hunts Victor (Ken Marino) after a prank call goes bad.  Gail questions her whole marriage to Gene when she realizes that her life with Gene is a lie.  Lindsay tries to get J.J. (Zak Orth) to investigate the haunted cabin.  Claude makes his move on Susie while Ben gets closer to McKinley (Michael Ian Black).  Greg and Beth realize they need an attorney with the Falcon after them and go to Jim Stansel (Michael Cera) for help.



Episode 6        Electro/City Airdate:  07/31/15

It is the big premiere of Electro/City.  Beth, Greg, and Jim Stansel meet with the lawyers from Xenstar…and fight for the survival of the camp.  Jeff (Randall Park) and Gail go on their first date which ends in sadness.  Lindsay tries to get into the mystery of Eric (Chris Pine) and his music.  Kevin makes his move on Amy (Hailey Sole) but finds Drew’s “dibs” might keep him from being together.


“Staff Party”

Episode 7        Staff Party Airdate:  07/31/15

It’s the after-hours staff party and everyone is celebrating.  Neil (Joe Lo Truglio) has his girlfriend coming while Victor hopes to have his first time.  Coop, Donna, and Yaron have their relationship boil over while Katie tries to find her real feelings for Andy.  Lindsay files her story, and the camp learns that Lindsay has been lying to them.  Camp Tigerclaw vows to take down Camp Firewood.


“The Day Is Done”

Episode 8        Day Is Done Airdate:  07/31/15

With Greg and Jim assassinated by the Falcon, Beth and Steve find themselves on the run as the government sets out to silence them.  As Camp Tigerclaw and the military move in, the battle for Camp Firewood will be epic.

Related Links:

Wet Hot American Summer (2001)

Wet Hot American Summer:  Ten Years Later

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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