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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Friday, June 21, 2024

'Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp' is entertaining prequel

"Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp" -- released this past summer on Netflix -- is a comedy series written by David Wain and Michael Showalter (and directed by Wain) and functions as a prequel to Wain's movie, "Wet Hot American Summer" (2001). The cast of the original film, many of whom have gone on to have very successful careers, returned for the eight-part Netflix show; familiar names like Bradley Cooper, Amy Poehler, Molly Shannon and Paul Rudd were among the stars to return.

I chose this show as one of my binge-watch series specifically because it was created for Netflix, and shows original to the streaming service are usually made to be binge-watched. All eight episodes of the show were released at once, so viewers can watch them all in one sitting.

I never really had a summer camp experience. I tried it out a few times, but the one time I went away, I ended up crying for two whole weeks because I missed home so much. Also, I'm from the Midwest, and fancy summer camps aren't popular there at all, so it was cool to watch "Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp" because it gave me and, I’m sure, other audience members a glimpse of the summer camp experience. Specifically, I got to see the drama between the counselors and the romances between all the kids! Watching the show made me wish, for the first time in my entire life, that I had spent more time at summer camp. Who knows, maybe I'll end up becoming one of those people who returns to summer camp at the age of 85 and works there. Probably not, though…

The best episode of the show, in my opinion, is actually the pilot. This episode introduces the audience to all of the different, hilarious characters. I think very few shows can successfully give you a sense of what they are going to be like in just 30 minutes. Here, viewers are introduced to the characters and the relationships between them as well as to the dynamic between the camp directors and their staff. It’s an informative and interesting episode that also manages to be comedic at the same time. I think it’s one of the best opening episodes of any show I’ve watched in my life.

The only aspect of the show that I don't understand -- and wish I did -- is the decision to use adult actors in some scenes and child actors in others. I think it's kind of funny but also a little creepy. I feel that Wain could have done a better job with this. For example, in the second episode, one of the girls gets her period for the first time, signifying her maturation. The camera shows a young girl walking to a bathroom stall and a completely different, adult woman emerging. The scene is cool, but it could have been executed better.

This show was very popular among Netflix viewers, and I definitely expect that the show will appear again in some form, either on Netflix (for a second season) or in theaters.

Here’s to hoping next summer is going to be just as wet, hot and American!

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