Wet Hot American Summer recap: Lunch
Welcome, Elizabeth Banks!
“Today is the day you let everyone know just who you are. Who you sit next to at lunch today could set the stage for the rest of your summer.” He’s barely had time to settle into his studio, but young Arty Solomon (alias: the Beekeeper) is already dropping pearls of wisdom all over Camp Firewood. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the crop of characters episode 2 throws at us. (Hint: It’s about to get Banks-y.)
Lindsay (Elizabeth Banks): We’re less than a minute into the episode, and she’s already got barbecue sauce on her face! A graduate of Columbia University’s journalism school, Lindsey is “a 24-year-old journalist with a lifetime of sexual and career experience”—but with the right clothes, she can pass herself as a 16-year-old. This comes in handy for her next big assignment: Infiltrating Camp Firewood undercover to get the real story on what teens are up to at summer camp.
This raises a lot of questions. Was she still working undercover in The Movie? If so, does Andy somehow play a part in her exposé? Or did she leave her career and permanently assume this strange new life? So many tempting possibilities. But for now, we don’t know much except that Lindsay might’ve found an angle for her exposé: A mysterious cabin in the woods that the other campers refuse talk about.
Alan (Jordan Peele): Alan is the seen-it-all editor of Rock&Roll World Magazine who takes a risk by giving Lindsay the green light on a 5,000-word story on summer camp.
Dave (Paul Scheer): Your classic leather-jacket-clad, cigarette-smoking journalism bad-boy, Dave prides himself as being a street-smart reporter who can always sniff out a hot story.
Kevin Appelblatt (David Bloom): Things are still up-and-down for our old pal Kevin. After a morning of stealing glances with Amy, he eventually works up the courage to actually talk to her, so that’s a plus. But, also, he poops his shorts. Worse, he leaves the incriminating shorts out in the open like a fool.
Drew (Thomas Barbusca): Upon finding said soiled shorts, Drew barges into the cafeteria to shame Kevin everyone. Fortunately for Appelblatt, Drew’s bullying efforts are foiled by…
Miss Patty Pancakes (Michael Showalter): Every summer camp has a middle-aged woman who enjoys defecating in children’s bathing suits. This is Camp Firewood’s. (As it happens, Michael Showalter can relate.)
Yaron (David Wain): The new soccer counselor from Israel is already impressing Camp Firewood with his suave European ways and alluring devil sticks. Just the kind of thing Donna Berman might like.
Coop (Michael Showalter): Coop senses that he’s losing his grasp on Donna, a hunch that’s worsened by the arrival of Yaron. To combat his new romantic rival, Coop tries everything, from smoking to using “ersatz” in a sentence… but it’s no use. He’ll never be a sophisticated man like Yaron.
Donna Berman (Lake Bell): There’s only so long you can avoid a boy before his feelings get hurt. That point is passed at the end of the episode: After ignoring Coop in favor of Yaron all morning, she seems to have lost him for good.
Gail (Molly Shannon): The new arts and crafts (fine, arts and farts and crafts) counselor arrives, and she’s really… happy?! The deep sadness that defines her in The Movie has yet to strike because her ex-husband Jonas isn’t her ex-husband yet. In fact, he’s not even her husband yet.
Jonas (Christopher Meloni): And here he is… looking a whole lot like Gene from The Movie. And like Gene, he works as a cook in the camp kitchen. Weird! Anyway, he’s head over heels for bride-to-be Gail, whom he met at a singles disco mixer at the Portsmouth Marriot. (That information is probably not relevant but is definitely amusing.) The two of them are slated to get married tonight. Yes, the same night as the theater show as well as Camp Tigerclaw’s formal, not to mention the party at the roundhouse!
Interestingly, he wears a sweater vest—the kind one might want to fondle.
Susie (Amy Poehler): Her newfound adherence to Actors’ Equity rules might say less about her respect for labor conditions and more for her feelings toward Claude. It doesn’t help that Ben, for some reason, won’t have sex with her.
Ben (Bradley Cooper): Aw, poor guy. He’s giving Electro City his all, but Claude’s turning Susie against him. Their relationship is starting to fray. But while it might be painful for him now, we know from The Movie that it gets better for him.
On a more positive note, Ben’s beautiful tendency to slip into overblown Tennessee Williams-worthy Southern accents is becoming one of my favorite running gags.
Claude (John Slattery): The turtlenecks, the rhymes, the gold chains: Claude’s upping Camp Firewood’s game all around. Undercutting Ben by bringing in his big-city assistant Ronda to takeover some of his duties.
Ronda (Michaela Watkins): Everyone agrees that one word defines this New York theater vet: Sassy! Like most Michaela Watkins characters, Ronda is an instant scene-stealer. Let’s hope she sticks around for a while.
Abby Bernstein (Marisa Ryan): Of all the backstories we’ve seen so far, Abby’s is probably the most hilariously absurd. (So far.) She began the episode as a young girl who thinks boys are gross but quickly blossoms into womanhood. By the end of it all, she’s trying to get seven minutes in heaven with Drew’s pal Kyle. Of course, in The Movie she chews gum and sucks fake with Victor. Maybe she’s working her way up to him? (Also, where is everybody’s gum?)
Andy (Paul Rudd): As expected from The Movie, Andy is on lifeguard patrol at the lake. No one has drowned yet, but still, this is one to watch.
Katie (Marguerite Moreau): Not too much here except that we learn that her parents and Blake’s parents summer together in Nantucket, which is basically the Camp Tigerclaw of Massachusetts.
Beth (Janeane Garofalo): Mitch has been really on edge all day, which has Beth concerned. She consults with Greg.
Greg (Jason Schwartzman): After telling Beth about Mitch’s strange behavior, the two of them happen upon that mysterious green ooze in the woods. Using his uncanny ability to discern toxic waste with his tongue, Greg calculates that they’ve got less than 24 hours to “restore the ecology, or every living thing within five miles of here could die.” We’ve got stakes, people!
Mitch (H. Jon Benjamin): “I’m not a bad man,” Mitch mutters repeatedly as he surveys the toxic waste, can of vegetables in hand. Wracked with guilt, he comes clean to Beth and Greg: There was no volleyball salesman. The truth is, the camp is in dire need of money, and Mitch accepted an offer he couldn’t refuse: A shady entity called Xenstar is giving him cash in exchange for the rights to use the woods.
If that sounds despicable to you, it gets worse. Mitch, all worked up in a panic, slips and falls into the sludge… still holding his can of vegetables.
Best Lines (You Know, From Before):
Dave: What is this, a joke—a summer camp in Maine? Is it a joke? Because if it’s a joke, it’s funny joke, but if it’s not a joke, come on!
Lindsay: Guys, guys—this is Rock&Roll World Magazine. Are we just going to cover rock&roll? Or are we going to cover… the world.
Dave: She’s got a point, we gotta cover the world. It’s in the title.
Coop: Look, last year I was terrified to talk to this girl Donna. But then on the very last day of camp I did talk to her, and now she’s my girlfriend.
Donna, smoking Yaron’s cigarette: Mmm, I really miss these. They’re not as strong in the States.
Coop: Ersatz stuff in general is pretty dubious. That’s kind of my take on that.
Donna: Oh, Coop, I don’t know if I can, just because I have to unpack and take stuff out of bags and stuff. I’m kind of slammed right now.
Lindsay: Where am I from? Manhattan…ville. It’s in Ohio. The center… upstate, down? The downtown. The mid part.
Susie: We are a very important couple at Camp Firewood, and couples don’t fight.
Ben: Yes they do, my parents did all the time until my father killed himself.
Ben: Oh, child… you’re as beautiful as an English rose at sunrise. I just want our first time to be perfect, that’s all. The waxing of the orange crescent harvest moon: Can you picture it? Hanging so low, it’s almost like a dewdrop. I think I can lasso it.
J.J.: I wish I could tell you about what’s in the cabin, Lindsay, but I can’t tell you about what’s in the cabin.
Jonas: “I love you from my head to-ma-toes”? Aw, I love tomatoes. I slice them everyday!
Coop: I don’t see you unpacking any bags, Donna. Where are your bags?!
Donna: Coop, you smell terrible.
Coop: Yeah, well I feel terrible, Donna.
Donna: You smell like shit.
Coop: I feel like shit.
Donna: Okay, I can’t breathe.
Coop: Well, me neither—I’m suffocating in this relationship!
Greg: Does this have anything to do with the phone call to the volleyball salesman?