Wet Hot American Summer became something of a cult film when it was released back in 2001. Set in 1981, the movie follows a group of camp counsellors on the last day of camp and starred Elizabeth Banks, Michael Ian Black, Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Janeane Garofalo, Joe Lo Truglio, Ken Marino, Christopher Meloni, Marguerite Moreau, Zak Orth, David Hyde Pierce, and Molly Shannon.
Netflix is about to release an eight episode prequel to the film (titled Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp) set on the first day of camp in the same year, and the first trailer for the series has arrived online. With scripts by original film writers David Wain and Michael Showalter, the show reunites the original cast members along with newcomers Kristen Wiig, Randall Park and John Hamm. Wain is also directing the series.
It seems irrelevant that Poehler, Rudd, Cooper and co were far too old to play camp counsellors the first time around, let alone fourteen years later. Showalter has already declared that they are “not going to try and make everything make sense,” adding that this Netflix series is more about “an opportunity to bring the cast back together and tell more stories about these camp kids.”
The Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp trailer does not actually promote the new episodes but instead takes the form of a promotional video for the fictional Camp Firewood. This video proudly parodies original camp promotional films and the trailer appears in all its eighties glory – and we’re talking grainy video footage, filmed over what fleetingly looks to be like some kind of porn movie (plus a healthy dose of static and color so bright it makes your eyes water).
Camp Firewood certainly looks like a fun place to be, and the trailer does its job – which is essentially to make you want to tune in and see whether the prequel is as good as the original movie. All things point to this being a great return. The original writers and cast all being back on board (and making time within their busy schedules to film these episodes) would certainly seem to say that they were enthusiastically dedicated to bringing this series to fruition.
The fact that First Day of Camp doesn’t seem to be taking itself too seriously should also be considered a plus. If things don’t tie in, or don’t quite make sense, and if the main cast happen to look fourteen years older for a prequel, who cares when the writers have expressly stated that their only intention is to tell another story with this group of people?
Question is, will the writing be as funny? Will the humor be as irreverent and witty as the Wet Hot American Summer film was? And will the cast be on point once more? Only time will tell.
Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp will premiere on Netflix on July 31st, 2015.