Which 'Wet Hot American Summer' scenes are based on real-life crazy camp stories?
You’ve waited 14 long, cold years, and now Wet Hot American Summer is coming back with a vengeance – or at least an eight-episode Netflix prequel – on July 31. While the movie took place on the last day of camp in the summer of ’81, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp is set on – well, you’re not an idiot, you can read the title of the show – the first day of camp that year. (And just in case you haven’t seen any of the new footage yet, you should know that all of the original adult cast members are back, along with plenty of new faces.)
The original Wet Hot was written by Michael Showalter and David Wain, who found inspiration for their camp-movie send-up in their own camp experiences at Camp Modin in Maine and Camp Mohawk in Massachusetts, respectively. While reporting our story on the return to Camp Firewood – which can be found in the latest issue of EW – we asked the WHAS: FDOC creators/executive producers/stars to share the craziest story that happened to them while at camp. As it turns out, Showalter’s gastrointestinal tale of terror served as the basis for a scene that you will see in the prequel, while a version of Wain’s crash-and-burn tale showed up in the movie.
SHOWALTER: “When I was a camper, I needed to make a number two and had to walk a quarter of a mile to get to the bathroom. When I crested a hill, I could see it 100 yards away, and the excitement made me go to the bathroom in my swim trunks. I was probably 10 years old, and at that time of your life there is nothing funny about that. That’s a life-or-death situa- tion. So I hid my bathing suit in the woods under a bunch of bushes and went back to my bunk and changed and took a shower. But a bunch of my bunkmates found the bathing suit. I denied that it was my bathing suit, but they were like, ‘Your name tag is sewed into it.’ I said the most ridiculous lie known to man, which is: ‘Someone must have stolen my bathing suit, took a s–t in my bathing suit, and then hid it in the woods. And I’m insulted that you would even think that that’s not what happened.’ ”
WAIN: “I had just turned 16. I was assigned to drive a group of campers to an overnight camping trip and leave the next morning with another counselor and head back to camp. But I had just met this girl at the camp and I was so excited to see her that I decided, “No, I’m going to leave late at night and race back to camp,” even though I barley knew how to drive. So I cranked up the tunes – pedal to the metal – and I was driving through pitch-black, winding unpaved roads as fast as I could in hopes of making out with this girl. And about two miles away from the campsite but still in the middle of this state park, I smashed hard into a tree. I lodged the fender deep into the tire, rendering the van utterly undriveable, and was stuck in the middle of the woods. I had no idea how to get back – I couldn’t see my hand in front of me – but luckily I did end up wandering back to find the campsite with the kids and the counselor and they were like, ‘What the hell is wrong with you?’ After that they initiated a policy that junior counselors weren’t allowed to drive vehicles at camp. I eventually did get to make out with the girl.”
Wet Hot American Summer