'Wet Hot American Summer' recap: Dinner
Arts and farts and crafts (and Chris Pine).
It’s 5:06 p.m., the perfect time for Camp Firewood to gather, eat, and make love. This episode is full of discovery, passion, Mennonites, food, Michael Ceras, wine, reclusive rock stars played by Chris Pine, farts, and even a wedding. Also included is what seems to be a considerable departure from The Movie, leaving open the radical possibility that maybe what happens in First Day of Camp has little to no bearing on the Wet Hot mythology. Is it even canon?? Read on to find out for yourself. (Hint: Gail marries the wrong person.)
Victor (Ken Marino): While we already knew Victor was a master cut-up, his high jinks are now putting him in mortal danger levels. He’s really bad at prank calls — he calls Jonas to insult his food, telling him that his smells like dick farts and also “I’m going to kill you and f— you!” What he doesn’t know is that he just unlocked Jonas’ inner Gene.
But he’s better at hiding. When Jonas/Gene comes to his bunk to ferret him out, Victor’s able to hide (under a blanket, then on a rafter, then directly in front of Jonas/Gene’s face) long enough to make break for it.
This leads to The Big Chase Scene, almost a direct callback to the one in The Movie. It’s fun to watch, no doubt, though honestly it’s a bit too close to the original.
Jonas/Gene (Christopher Meloni): Wait, this isn’t the food inspector! Realizing he’s been pranked, Jonas/Gene threatens to find Victor, kill him, and turn him to a (admittedly delicious-sounding) soup. Will he make good on his promise and murder Victor on the first day of camp? (Definitely not.)
Gail (Molly Shannon): With her wedding approaching, our favorite devout Mennonite Gail is emotionally distressed. Is this her wedding dress? Is this even her wedding table? Maybe it never was. All this grief is unloaded on her arts-and-crafts students, prompting one sagacious young girl to deliver the rom-com pep talk to beat all rom-com pep talks. “When you point a finger at someone, there’s three fingers pointing back at you,” she says. Gail knows that the girl is right.
The wedding is back on.
Jeff (Randall Park): The City Hall records clerk is madly, passionately in love with Gail, and he can’t let her get married to Jonas/Gene without telling her. So at the ceremony (which Jonas almost misses due to his hunt for Victor), he comes clean in front of all the Mennonites gathered here today. Like most people who interrupt other people’s weddings, Jeff wins her over and ends up making her his bride, and Jonas is totally cool with it. The life lesson here is, always interrupt other people’s weddings.
With Jonas free of Gail, the show takes us to what we knew was coming: Jonas’ complete transformation into Gene, done under the cover of a full moon.
These events raise one nitpicky issue, though: This is all wrong. Gail was supposed to marry Jonas! It’s his name she evokes in The Movie—not Jeff’s. Just sayin’.
Susie (Amy Poehler): Electro-City, seemingly costumed by American Apparel, is still in rehearsals, but it still looks meager. Andy and Katie are having trouble pulling of the musical’s Big Leap, causing Andy to run off in fit of Andy-like despair.
Susie, having been an understudy to the great Claude Dumay for so long, finally gets a chance to put her skills to work. Andy’s a wild horse, everyone knows that, but if anyone can talk him down, it’s Susie. “Maybe for the first time in my life, I’m afraid,” Andy admits, face dripping in a mixture of sweat and tears. Susie has the solution: “Harness it.” It works.
Electro-City is back on.
Andy (Paul Rudd): His fart-filled efforts to win Katie over are working. It was true in The Movie and it’s true now: A little gas will get you a long way at Camp Firewood.
Claude Dumay (John Slattery): The suave Mr. Dumay finally makes a move on Susie, inviting her over for a “working dinner.” He makes the meal himself, using a recipe given to him by Betty Buckley. It’s all too overwhelming for impressionable young Susie, and soon, they’re making love amid Claude’s beanbag chairs and lava lamps.
Coop (Michael Ian Black): In the mess hall, Coop is giving David Lee Roth a run for his money thanks to his new Donna-approved rock-star duds. He’s about to make a toast to his and Donna’s upcoming summer together — sure to be filled with memories, laughter, and hugs — when he’s suddenly interrupted by you-know-who. (It’s Yaron.)
Yaron (David Wain): The hunky Israeli’s motives are becoming clearer, even if his speech isn’t. After evoking Pythagoras and the “three stars of Shabbat.” To make things painfully clear to Showalter: “Tonight, you will be our turd.”
Ben and McKinley (Bradley Cooper and Michael Ian Black): Making eyes and singing about zoot suits arm-in-arm? Something tells me they’re almost ready to keep those socks on.
Lindsay (Elizabeth Banks): With her big story exposé on the line, Lindsay makes J.J. a deal he can’t refuse: Escort me to Eric’s cabin and you can touch one boob.
The exposé is back on.
Eric (Chris Pine): The protopunk genius of the Rockin’ Knights is found by Lindsay in his secret hideaway, filled with crates upon crates of vinyl records — and he’s not happy about it. But after shooing her out of the cabin and cracking open an ice-cold, sugar-free Tab, he sits down and picks up his guitar.
The Rockin’ Knights are… back on?
Jim Stansel (Michael Cera): Undefeated in slip-in-fall cases, lawyer Jim Stansel is young, hungry, and has nothing to lose. His office is presumably in Waterville, on the second floor above a record shop. He doesn’t get paid until you get paid. He’s undefeated in slip-and-fall cases (public-urination ones, too), and he’s known at the courthouse as Johnny Pisspot.
But now, Beth and Greg have brought something much bigger to his desk: a case to bring down the U.S. government. Hold all his calls.
Beth and Greg (Janeane Garofalo and Jason Schwartzman): The toxic-sludge situation is getting more dire and is getting closer to killing everybody at the camp — a thing which The Movie tells us will absolutely not happen but they don’t know that so shut up about it already!
Anyway, they hole up in a motel in an effort to lay low. Greg’s choice for their joint-alias — Archibald Doohickey — is terrible, because it happens to be Beth’s middle name. Cut to, like, two seconds later, and the pair are making out on the bed, socks and all.
Best Lines (You Know, From Before):
Jonas: This isn’t the food inspector, the food inspector would never call me at this time of day.
Victor: “I’m going to kill you and f— you!”
Neil: Victor, do you think he knew it was you, Victor? Victor, do you think he know, Victor?
Andy: This is stupid, it’s impossible!
Susie: That’s it, Andy, run. Run like you always do! Like this.
Susie: Theater is fear. Theater is pain. Theater is now, and it’s you. Now you get back on that stage, you beautiful, broken son of a bitch. And you dance like your life depends on it—because it does.
Gail: It is writ so in the Scriptures.
Yaron: You know, in my country it is considered bad luck to make a toast with a little wine.
Coop: No, I don’t drink—I’m under age.
Andy: I’ll fart my way into that snatch, just you watch.
J.J. (solemnly): Okay.
Yaron: Do you know what the strongest shape is?
Coop: Stop sign shape?
Jim Stansel: You may have just uncovered the biggest government conspiracy since Watergate, which was about seven years ago.
Beth: It’s the only family I know, other than my own family.
Greg: He’s a can of vegetables. He doesn’t have to know.
Claude: Tell me, Susie: Have you ever bean in lava?
Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp