EW Community TV Show Episode Guides and Recaps from EW's Community

'Wet Hot American Summer' fan recap: You're my girlfriend now

Season 1 | Episode 1 | “Campers Arrive” | Aired July 31, 2015

When I find a perfect film, I’d usually hope it will not have a sequel or anything else associated. I want to capture its perfection. I like the tension that crackles in my mind about how I don’t know what the characters are doing outside the films. Knowing too much is the enemy.

Everything I just said? Throw it out the window when it comes to Wet Hot American Summer. After just watching the first episode of Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, more is better. Fans have been waiting 14 years for a follow-up. Many of the cast members have gone on to do amazing things or have blown up into huge stars (Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd, Christopher Meloni). Others have seemingly disappeared (Marguerite Moreau).

My hands shook as I switched my television to Netflix and the show began to load. Then the sweet sounds of the familiar opening riff of Jefferson Airplane’s “Jane” hit my ears. The montage of camp counselors partying around a campfire is identical to the opening of the film, except for one thing: The characters are 15 years older, and it shows. It’s not a judgment of aging, but a celebration, a loving acknowledgment. But this recap is not about the nearly religious experience I had with the show—it’s about the show.

Wet Hot American Summer

Right out of the gate, this prequel is genius. “Well, you’re all about 16 or 17,” camp owner Beth (Janeane Garofalo) says to actors in their late thirties and early forties. Michael Showalter is about twice the size of his original character, Coop. That’s okay; so are many of the fans of the original.

This episode is definitely a fan service to the original; it introduces our characters at seemingly great points in their lives, and we are left wondering what happens to bring them to the embarrassing conclusion of the original movie (which is the last day of camp). Beth and Mitch (H. Jon Benjamin) are the owners, and dating. There’s the promise of a performance by Alan Shemper. Susie (Amy Poehler) and Ben (Bradley Cooper) are still “happily” a couple. McKinley (Michael Ian Black) stares longingly at the sports shed where we know he will secretly meet up with Ben.

Speaking of Ben, if you thought perhaps Bradley Cooper was too busy or too big of a star to return to a show he did before he was known, you are underestimating him. In this first episode alone, he has more lines than he did in the original movie, and is embracing every moment of it. I forgot how much chemistry he has with Amy Poehler, and I can’t wait to see Ben and Susie’s production of Electro-City.

Wet Hot American Summer

Paul Rudd, not looking a day older than he did in the original movie, is doing his best physical comedy as Andy in trying to impress Katie (Marguerite Moreau). Victor (Ken Marino) is talking about the “million chicks he’s already banged.”

As if this weren’t enough, there are also several new characters introduced in this prequel, and we can only wait to see their demise and why they weren’t present on the last day of camp. John Slattery plays Claude Dumet, a pretentious Broadway actor helping with the production of Electro-City. He does an homage to Willy Wonka’s entrance by pretending to use a cane and then doing a somersault. Josh Charles plays Katie’s boyfriend across the lake at the rich-kid camp, sporting about four polo shirts at once. Lake Bell plays Donna, the hot girl in camp whom Coop thinks is his girlfriend. Jason Schwartzmann is the by-the-rules head counselor.

Wet Hot American Summer

The best new addition to the canon is more screen time for actual campers, including the painfully nerdy Kevin Appleblatt and his nemesis, the red-haired villain Drew. I’m always impressed with child actors who have such great comedic timing.

Despite this episode serving mostly as a brief introduction to the characters (and there’s plenty more still to come—Abby! Gene! Gail! Lindsay!), the signature brand of humor is still present. It’s a cross between farce, nonsensical phrases, and anti-humor. Victor and Neil have inappropriately sexually explicit conversations in front of campers. Ben and Susie are parodies of overly dramatic theater teachers. There’s simple wordplay, including this exchange:

Andy: Nice lady shorts, McKinley.
Yeah, I got ’em from your mom’s dresser.
Don’t make fun of the guy who dresses my mom.
McKinley: I’m sorry, I thought your mom was still dressing herself …

This first episode assuaged any of my fears of this show tarnishing the film’s excellence. The biggest regret is that this series is only going to be eight episodes long.

Some of my other favorite quotes from the pilot:

J.J.: Someone gave her the message about losing the braces.

Neil: You’re in bunk three. It’s a good one—the toilets are working.

Coop: Your hair looks wavy.
Donna: I know, like, why try to fight it?

Andy: Hunker down for doinkage.

Drew: He ran into the woods because he’s a piece of schnit!

Mitch: Poison Ivy is … real.

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp is currently streaming on Netflix.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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