‘Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later’ Continues the Craziness at Camp Firewood

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Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later

The campers of Camp Firewood are back yet again. Just a few years after Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp gave us a prequel to the cult comedy, now the same creative team is returning to take us into where these characters have gone in the decade since the end of that fateful summer at Camp Firewood. If you’re a fan of Wet Hot American Summer and First Day of Camp, you will be over the moon as Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later is more of the madcap hilarity that made the movie and prequel series a cult hit in the first place. Of course, the humor of Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later isn’t for everyone with its irreverent sensibilities that pay no heed to logic or continuity. If you’re willing to go along with where the show takes you, it may be harder to find a funnier piece of comedic lunacy.

At the conclusion of the first film, the campers at Camp Firewood agreed to meet each other in exactly ten years. It has been exactly ten years and the campers, now in their twenties, make their way back to their childhood camp. In the tradition of the movie and the prequel series, Ten Years Later’s entire eight-episode season takes place over the course of one incredibly crazy day.

Returning from the original cast are Beth (Janeane Garofalo), the owner and lead counselor of Camp Firewood; Coop (Michael Showalter), the socially awkward one who is now an acclaimed author; Katie (Marguerite Moreau), the subject of Coop’s decade-long crush and now an up and coming executive; Andy (Paul Rudd), the handsome bad boy who used to see Katie and has since floundered in adulthood; J.J. (Zak Orth), the movie obsessed one who now works at a video store; Gary (A.D. Miles), the assistant cook of the camp who is now a successful chef; Gene (Christopher Meloni), the mentally unstable cook from the camp; Susie (Amy Poehler), the drama student who is now finding success in Hollywood; Gail (Molly Shannon), the arts and crafts counselor with a complicated history with Gene; McKinley (Michael Ian Black), the young man who married the love of his life Ben (REDACTED), the couple just having a child; Victor (Ken Marino), the eternal virgin who loves to brag about his fictitious sexual prowess; Neil (Joe Lo Truglio), Victor’s best friend; Abby (Marisa Ryan), the somewhat promiscuous young woman who is now writing a sex column; Nancy (Nina Hellman), a camp counselor; Lindsay (Elizabeth Banks), who has ascended to the positon of a television news reporter; and Mitch (H. Jon Benjamin), the talking can of vegetables. Yeah, that’s a big cast of crazy characters.

A number of characters also return from First Day of Camp, but I’m not going to list which ones because that might be getting into spoiler-ish territory. The same goes for a number of the impressive cameos that occur throughout Ten Years Later. There are a number of off the wall surprise with both characters new and old. Some surprises will have you dropping your jaw in shock, asking yourself, “How in the hell did they get them to do this?”

This time around, the campers of Camp Firewood have arranged a truce with the affluent campers of Camp Tigerclaw across the lake. However, that truce may just only be for appearances and there’s a new threat looming that threatens Camp Firewood and everything the campers hold dear. Naturally, creators David Wain and Michael Showalter escalate the stakes this time out with a crazier and more outlandish threat than the previous two entries in Wet Hot American Summer lore. All of which culminates in a conclusion that is so crazy, so bizarre, and so funny.

First Day of Camp presented us with an origin story for these various characters, all of which was leading towards its connection to the original feature film. This time, Ten Years Later presents us with these characters through a different lens. It’s fun seeing them taking on new aspects of their personalities – their triumphs, their struggles – while still retaining what originally made them so amusing. These are still wildly absurd characters that speak self-aware dialogue that is constantly reminding us that this is a scripted piece of filmed entertainment.

Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later is a series sequel to a cult movie, and it’s made entirely for its specific audience. If you’re a member of that audience, you’ll be rolling with laughter as the mythology of Camp Firewood grows in bigger and weirder ways than before. But if you can’t handle something that doesn’t take itself the least bit serious, then you’re better off just scrolling through Netflix in the hopes of finding something else. Ten Years Later is a piece of comic absurdity that revels in nonsense, building its bizarre world piece by piece over the course of its hilarious eight episodes. I certainly hope that these Wet Hot American Summer reunions become a regular occurrence.

Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later premieres exclusively on Netflix on August 4, 2017.

Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later
  • Overall Score
4

Summary

Another wildly absurd extension of the 2001 cult comedy, Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later will please fans of the movie and prequel series First Day of Camp with its escalating insanity over the course of eight episodes.

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