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'Wet Hot American Summer' recap: Activities

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Saeed Adyani/Netflix

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
seasons:
1
performer:
Janeane Garofalo, Jason Schwartzman, Paul Rudd
broadcaster:
Netflix
genre:
Comedy

“It’s early afternoon—sort of the lower midriff of the day, if you will,” Arty (alias: the Beekeeper) intones at the start of the episode. “I’ve only been at Camp Firewood for a few hours, but it already feels like an old pair of sneakers.” You said it, young Arty. As the day nears the halfway mark, let’s take a little time to explore this midriff a little closer.

Mitch (H. Jon Benjamin): As he and his can of vegetables sink into the ooze of his own making, Mitch is able to spew a few cryptic last words to Greg and Beth: “Save the camp. Follow the money. Get the code.” Farewell, Mitch.

Donna Berman (Lake Bell): How does one say, “I’m sorry?” Horns from Israel! As a peace offering after hurting his feeling last episode, Donna presents Coop with a special Israeli shofar—a special gift for just for him.

Coop (Michael Showalter): Proud and in love, Coop goes out to toot his own Israeli horn in front of everyone. But the tooting doesn’t last long: He soon notices that McKinley also has shofar. And J.J. also has a shofar. And, worst of all, Yaron has a shofar.

You know those couples that fight a lot and never kiss or go on dates? Coop and Donna are so that couple! Shofar-gate was almost too much for Coop to handle, so they get into another argument. That, of course, lead to yet another make-up conversation, and in the end, he was able to forgive her.

In addition to an apology, Katie gives Coop some more notes on his appearance. In the first episode, you’ll recall, she made him muss his hair and sport a pookah shell necklace. Now she’s wants him to don a shiny red shirt, roll up his sleeves, and put on a black porkpie hat. This raises the question: Is Coop turning into somebody else, or is he finally becoming his true self?

McKinley (Michael Ian Black): Engages in a “shofar dick fight” with J.J.

J.J. (Zak Orth): Engaged in a “shofar dick fight” with McKinley.

Katie (Marguerite Moreau): The camp’s other big romantic triangle is also heating up. Katie’s attempt to weave Blake a boyfriendship bracelet is interrupted by handsy Andy. She’s able to fend him off for now—but just barely.

Blake (Josh Charles): Blake and his binocular’d cronies, of course, watch it all go down and vow to make Andy pay. But first, Blake pays a visit to Katie’s bunk to admonish her for “toiling in frivolity” all day with “a bunch of sunburned Jews.” Straightening his three collars in the mirror, he gives her an ultimatum: Come with me to the Tigerclaw formal tonight, or we’re toast.

Let’s take this moment to acknowledge how brilliant Josh Charles has been on the show so far. We’ve always known the man had comedic chops (from Sports Night to Inside Amy Schumer), but who knew he’d be this good at Wet Hot’s brand of ridiculous? Every word and word-like sound he utters brings his sneering cartoon Wasp to life in magical ways. You almost wish he had been in The Movie.

Lindsay (Elizabeth Banks): After a short morning of doing some very light investigating, Lindsay gets the scoop on the mysterious cabin, courtesy of J.J. It’s quite a tale, too: A counselor from the ‘70s named Eric played in the band Rockin’ Knights. An A&R guy saw them play their most popular song “Turn It Up” at the end-of-camp talent show, signed them on the spot, and put them on tour with the J. Geils Band. But things unraveled from there. Eric had a meltdown and left the band in blaze of confusion. He secluded himself in a cabin at Camp Firewood, where legend has it, he still lives to this day, alone with his valuable, never-before-heard recordings.

If only a journalist from Rock&Roll World Magazine was around to write about it.

Susie (Amy Poehler) and Claude (John Slattery): Claude is officially fed up with the amateurs that Camp Firewood’s theater program has to offer. As a result, Susie is officially fed up with the amateurs that Camp Firewood’s theater program has to offer. And the show is only four hours away!

Beth (Janeane Garofalo) and Greg (Jason Schwartzman): These two are an inseparable pair now, raising even more questions about Greg’s eventual absence from The Movie. As for now, they’re desperate to hack Xenstar’s mainframe and can expose Xenstar for what it really is. But they don’t know what Xenstar really is yet—not without the code to Xenstar’s mainframe. Fortunately, Beth knows just where to turn.

Jonas (Christopher Meloni): That’s right—Jonas has some Gene in his genes. As it happens, Mitch once told Beth that Jonas was in the military—“the ‘Nam.” She’s proven right thanks to a fast mop-handle throw to his face, which Jonas fields and twirls with the kind of dazzling precision and panache that only an expert soldier would possess. But his soon-to-be wife Gail also finds out all this info, but only by eavesdropping from outside.

To access those buried memories, Jonah has to mentally relive his entire life from the start. The process takes about 13 seconds, and boom: His inner Marine takes over. The code is procured.

Can of Vegetables (H. Jon Benjamin): Ah, here it is—our first introduction to the mysterious talking Can of Vegetables from The Movie. What an origin story: It was Mitch all along, but that toxic waste turned him into this. The more you know!

Gary (A.D. Miles): Jonas’ kitchen buddy (and occasional antagonist in The Movie) hasn’t been up to much so far, but now he’s found himself in the middle of the action. Also, he’s the only one who wants to talk about how weird it is that Mitch is a can of vegetables now.

Steve (Kevin Sussman): Steve! Bet you were wondering where he’s been this whole time. In an unexpected twist, he’s been sitting alone at the camp computer. And much like in The Movie, he might have the abilities needed to save Camp Firewood from destruction. Without Steve, we’d all be dead.

But we might be dead anyway. Steve’s hack into the mainframe confirms Beth and Greg’s worst fears: Xenstar has been doing the government’s dirty work for years, from arms smuggling to regime overthrows. This goes all the way to the top.

President Reagan (Michael Showalter): If there is one thing fans of Stella, The State, and any other Showalter-Wain collaboration know, it’s that they have a soft spot for Reagan references. But that knowledge failed to prepare me for Showalter’s amazing, surreal, deranged, still amazing performance as the former president. His Reagan is something of a distant relative of Joe Pesci from Casino. The jellybean-loving Commander-in-Chief slaps, punches, and side-winds with relish. More importantly, he demands that Camp Firewood’s “high-ranking camp counselors” be taken down—via The Falcon.

The Falcon (Jon Hamm): Somewhere in the busy streets of Buenos Aires, the Falcon is activated. His mission? Kill Beth and Greg.

Ron? (Judah Friedlander): Could that man at Reagan’s side be Gail’s next love interest, as indicated by The Movie? Stay tuned.

Best Lines From Before:

Beth: Try harder? What is this, the latest ad campaign for Avis Rent-a-Car? Because that’s their campaign.

Andy: Blake can’t blow your life like I can.

Warner: Textbook nymphomaniac!

Claude: If I wanted to watch two people not perform, I would’ve gone to the not theater!

Coop: Donna, of course I forgive you. You’re my girlfriend. And we’re in a serious relationship. Can I kiss you?

Lindsay: I, um, forgot my diaphragm, so… my dad’s going to send it to me. That was him on the phone. It’s a mixed marriage. That’s why he’s black.

Can of Vegetables: Don’t tell me about cans. I know about cans, believe me. I am one.

Jonas: Mainframe? Proof? Hack? It?

Gary: What, Mitch is dead? I saw him like an hour ago.

Greg: Well he died more recently than that!    

Beth: Steve, I need you to stop playing with that typewriter and that TV screen and help us with something on the camp computer.

Ronald Reagan: Ah, General Secretary Brezhnev. I hope you like quiche!

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