Wet Hot American Summer recap: Auditions
Kristen Wiig and David Hyde Pierce join the fun.
It’s 3:29pm, and as ol’ Arty (alias: the Beekeeper) informs us, we’re due for from some midday entertainment in the form of Jackie Brazen, “the original bad boy of hypnotism.” But until then, there are a lot of new developments at Camp Firewood to discuss.
Prof. Henry Newman (David Hyde Pierce): We were starting to wonder where Camp Firewood’s space-loving neighbor was! Sure, The Movie already laid out a lot of his backstory (perhaps more so than any other character’s), but we get to see it unfold in colorful, even violent fashion.
Newman is up for tenure, of course. But first, he has to get published. Easier said than done—especially when his rival Broadfarb Gilroy is in the way.
Instead of getting into peer-reviewed journals, Newman gets into fistfights and insult-laden shouting contests with his colleagues and his boss, and so he gets the boot, at least for the time being. To clear his head, he moves into a cabin in the woods of Maine, where we know he’ll be for eight exciting weeks.
Broadfarb Gilroy (Rob Huebel): The hot-shot, Hamlet-quoting academic whose work always gets chosen for publication over Newman’s. Huebel playing a cocky douchebag? Yes, always, please.
Dean Fairchild (Richard Schiff): Not only the dean, but also the editor of the Astrophysics Quarterly Review. But he’s clearly an unabashed Gilroy partisan. Someone outta write him a letter.
The Falcon (Jon Hamm): Self-identified as “President Reagan’s hired assassin,” the Falcon is making his way through the New England countryside, beating up (and blowing up) ne’er-do-well punks and misfits on his way to Camp Firewood. And he might be closer than you think, too…
Courtney (Kristen Wiig): So there are girls at Camp Tigerclaw! And what a girl: Courtney is a preppy dream straight out of Heathers. What’s more, she has the hots for Blake and doesn’t mind exploiting his rocky relationship with Katie to get her way. Needless to say, she does crew.
Jonas (Christopher Meloni): Whatever psychic damage he went through last episode is starting to show: He accidentally says Gail was doing the Hustle on that night they met at the Portsmouth Marriot. But she wasn’t. She was doing the Electric Slide.
Gail (Molly Shannon): She tells Jonas she overheard him saying something to Beth and Greg about “sludge, the government, codes, a can, “ but he plays dumb. She even gives him the mop-handle-to-the-face test. Who can blame her?
At the library, she learns the truth: Her fiancé stole the identity of a man who was “burnt to a crisp” in a horrific plane accident near Malta. The man she thinks is Jonas Jorgensen is actually (drumroll!) Gene Jenkinsen, a Vietnam War veteran who loves to cook (not to be confused with Don Draper, a Korean War vet who hated hippies).
Ben (Bradley Cooper): Sometimes good news comes disguised as bad news, as is the case here. Abraham Mandel’s courageous, off-screen rescue of the leads Danny and Becky has left him severely injured. So, Ben will get to step in Abraham’s place and perform with none other than McKinley in “the zoot-suit number.” Let’s hope they have the chemistry to pull it off. (This move has the added benefit of taking him off directorial/production duties, giving Claude Dumay a chance to exercise even more power over the theater program, not to mention Susie.)
It’s important to note that Danny and Becky, despite sustaining no injuries in the off-screen incident, are also out as the leads. It’s time for the stars of Camp Firewood to start auditioning!
McKinley (Michael Ian Black): The magic begins. McKinley runs into Ben in wardrobe, where they bond over their shared passions. McKinley’s been into sewing since he was 8, we learn, and he in fact designed the zoot-suit number himself. It requires the two men to be in the suit at the same time.
And while McKinley’s been openly creative most his life, it becomes clear to him that Ben might still be a closet creative. I expect the zoot-suit number will bring them closer together in more than one way (but also in that way).
Katie (Marguerite Moreau): After a string of dud auditions, Katie comes the closest anyone has yet to meeting Claude Dumay’s standards. It’s enough to make Ronda burn with envy. (But it’s worth it to see Michaela Watkins try to look cool while accidentally sipping cigarette ashes from her NYC Greek coffee cup.)
Logan (John Early): Logan is the worst kind of theater kid, but in real life, Early is the best kind of comedian. (Seriously, check him out.) That’s the perfect recipe for Wet Hot magic, and Early delivers it (forgive me) early and often with Logan. He’s by far the thirstiest person at Camp Firewood, and he even has a shot at getting the lead in Electro City.
Andy (Paul Rudd): After learning that Katie’s auditioning for the lead, Andy catches the acting bug. He crashes the auditions at the last minute with his acoustic guitar and performs an original song, “Champagne Eyes.” It’s an undeniable showstopper, earning him the lead alongside Katie, forcing Logan to settle for the role of the Warden.
Kevin (David Bloom): and Amy (Hailey Sole): Ah, right, these kids! Their flirtation is still going slow but steady. There’s a small flare of romance at the tetherball ball pole, but it doesn’t result in much more than a tetherball to the face.
Drew (Thomas Barbusca): When the boys take turns calling “dibs” on the girls in the cafeteria, and Drew ends up claiming Amy. Kevin’s battle keeps getting uphill-ier and uphill-ier.
Jackie Brazen (Weird Al): The bad boy of hypnotism moves fast: Before we know it, he’s already made J.J. think he’s a turtle. Brazen might be more than what he seems. He behaves odd, almost mechanically. And there’s a reason for that: It’s actually the Falcon in disguise, and he’s here to kill Beth and Greg. Shots fired.
Beth (Janeane Garofalo) and Greg (Jason Schwartzman): Terrible runners. Just awful.
Andy: Trees look weird if you squint at them.
Jeff the librarian (played by the always great Randall Park): Jonas Jourgensen, date of birth: June 21, 1952. Resides at 1048 Walnut Street, and he’s dead.
Gail: What? Oh, that can’t be.
Jeff the librarian: I’m so sorry, I read that wrong: it’s 1408.
Warner: You’re insane, Graham. Ayn Rand? She’s not attractive!
Graham: Her talent, Warner. I’m attracted to her talent!
Blake: Well she certainly has a brilliant mind. But who needs a woman with a mind?
Courtney: I thought I heard she wasn’t coming to the Tiger Formal tonight so she could eat hot dog wieners with those peasants from Camp Firewood.
Andy: That’s all I got… sorry for wasting your time.
Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp