OK, stop! I feel like I’m watching regional theatre, you guys! God, am I in the Cleveland Playhouse or something? Your craft is a muscle, you need to exercise it! Take a break! Think about what you’ve done.
In honor of the hotly awaited new Netflix show, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, we watched the movie that started it all, Wet Hot American Summer. We also had a lot of fun playing characters for the A Deadly Adoption post, so we decided to dress up as characters from the show.
André as Gene
Leanna as Susie
We decided to cook up food that you would likely get at a summer camp. We opened with some mixed vegetables (voiced by H. Jon Benjamin) that we grilled outside. It might have been truer to the movie to just get a can of vegetables, but we can do whatever we feel like, so there! These tasted delicious and we have no regrets.
In our food research, we saw a gif from the new show (don’t read any further if you want to avoid major spoilers) where they serve tomato soup and grilled cheese at the camp.
We thought that sounded tasty, but we decided to step it up a notch. To embody the wet and hotness of summer and so we weren’t just eating plain tomato soup, we made fire-roasted tomato bisque. And instead of plain ol’ grilled cheese, we went to the store and bought some extra sharp white cheddar aged for two years (none of that 9 month crap for us, we are super serious here at Munch) and made frico grilled cheese, with cheese melted to a crisp on the outside of the sandwich. This is not your mother’s camp food.
To close out the meal, we made some homemade firecracker pops with fresh strawberries, blueberries, and yogurt. With the high temperatures it has been it turned into a wet hot sticky mess, but were delicious none-the-less.
And speaking of a mess, what’s more American than a red, white, and blue popsicle? Let’s ignore the fact that the color blocking makes it look more like a French flag…or a Belgian flag…or a Luxemborg flag… But do any of them own the red, white, and blue more than we do? Nope.
You better believe we made up our own drink for this movie! We call it the Wet Hot American Summer, and we tried to represent each word in the best way possible.
- Wet: We wanted something cool and slushy, with some ice, frozen strawberries and fresh lime juice…
- Hot: And we added a jalapeno for some spice and some shots of Patron…
- American: Then poured it into a comically large glass and topped it off with some beer…
- Summer: But not just any beer! We used an aptly named Summer Lager.
The result? A cool, refreshing, but still surprisingly spicy drink that will get you through the wettest, hottest days of an American summer.
- Drink whenever the talent show is mentioned.
- Drink when Cooper’s love for Katie is referenced.
- Drink whenever people make out.
Bonus rule: Drink whenever your spirit character enters a scene.
For those of you who had only heard about the show, allow us to fill you in about the movie. Wet Hot American Summer is a cult classic exploring the last day of summer camp at Camp Firewood. It takes place in 1981 and the short shorts are glorious! This movie has an all-star cast of H. Jon Benjamin (only briefly), Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, and more but was shot in 2001 when they were all relatively no-name actors.
Wet Hot American Summer isn’t a movie for everyone, but if you’re the kind of person who loves absurdist period-piece comedy movies, well, this is exactly the movie for you. Maybe the only movie for you, since there aren’t many absurdist period-piece comedy movies out there.
Wet Hot American Summer constantly flips your expectations on their head. After Coop (played by Michael Showalter) delivers a “rousing” motivational speech to the baseball team before the last game of the summer, a player says he feels the whole thing feels rather contrived, and that it’s been done before, so the counselor promptly cancels the game. A quick trip into town quickly goes downhill, going from a few counselors innocuously sharing a cigarette to showing the whole crew shooting up or strung out in a crackhouse. In the next scene, the counselors are driving back into town in good health, telling the campers that, “It’s always fun to go into town, even for an hour.”
Whether the movie will seem funny to your or not completely depends on your tolerance for absurdist humor. Some may find the movie ridiculous to the point of annoyance, while others won’t be able to stop laughing. The humor in Wet Hot American summer is so niche that the reviews for the movie vary wildly – critics gave it 31% on Rotten Tomatoes, while the audience gave it 80%. Metacritic shows a score of 4.3/10, while Netflix reviewers have given it 5 stars. Our theory is that critics, who have a high bar for movies and were forced to watch it in order to write a review, generally were disappointed; however, those who sought it out themselves had a better idea of what they were in for, and enjoyed the movie more.
Andre: Airhead White Mystery. You have no idea what you’re getting into with this movie, and once you’re done with it, you may not be entirely sure what you consumed. Furthermore, everyone perceives the movie differently. Personally, I love Wet Hot American Summer, and could watch it over and over again – this was my 3rd or 4th viewing. I think it’s novel and entirely original, and crack up every time I watch it. Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to go fondle my sweaters.
Leanna: On a scale of a Broadway show to the talent show, this is an independent theatre smash hit. It’s ridiculously fun pointing out all of the stars in their early days acting in such a ridiculous fashion. Amy Poehler was a favorite for me in particular, if you hadn’t guessed that from my costume, and although she didn’t have a cat in the movie, I think Susie was a cat lady at heart just like myself. The movie is such a wild ride that I think it is important that you watch in optimal viewing conditions. Since it’s so far from the norm itself, don’t watch it on a typical Saturday night in. Watch it hungover in bed while you recover (like I did the first time I saw it), when you’re drinking Bud Light and you’re overcome with the spirit of “Up For Whatever,” or when you accidently ate a special brownie and need to kill some time… The point is, you’ll have a good time with this film if you’re in the right mindset to embrace it. I can’t wait to see the cast return in Netflix’s prequel series.
Ben: 25%. Well, I guess I am the odd one out. I didn’t quite care for this film. I have been known to like certain absurdist comedies before whether it be, Hot Rod, Napolean Dynamite, or Blades of Glory, but rarely did I find Wet Hot American Summer Funny. The best part of the film was seeing all of the actors you know now in this film. But the film itself was rarely funny. Each of the individual actors have a knowledge of humour, but when brought together in this context and each character only having a small snippet of the movie it is hard for any of them to shine. What you left with is a lot of half-baked performances that are struggling to be funny by bringing in something from left field but you are disappointed when what they brought was leftover Thanksgiving casserole. Finally, it is worth mentioning that this movie is incredibly white. Like cast of Into The Woods, white. With all of the characters in this film, and there are a lot, they couldn’t have gotten a person of color to play any of the other roles? As far as I am aware there was a single person of color in the film and it was a black runner used as a fleeting joke about how he could run faster than everyone. It is hard to find that funny, when they couldn’t be bothered to fill any other role with a non-white person.