As fans all know by now, the Netflix prequel to 2001 cult-classic Wet Hot American Summer is finally here. Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp picks up, you guessed it, on the first day of camp. While the actors have gotten 14 years older, the characters have somehow gotten younger, proving that the goofy universe of Camp Firewood, where time already moves at an accelerated speed, is also an aging enigma. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for these 40-year-old actors to get back into their teen characters — especially Paul Rudd. Andy’s tantrum over cleaning up his tray is one of my favorite scenes in any movie. This kind of angst coming from now 46-year-old Rudd is comedy gold! Moving past the Benjamin Button aging effect, when is Wet Hot American Summer set anyway?
According to multiple online synopses, the original film was set in 1981, and since First Day Of Camp occurs during that same summer, it should also be set in 1981. But due to the goofball nature of the film, curve balls are thrown at the setting. With the original film made 20 years after it was set, and the prequel made 30 plus years later, the franchise is definitely packed with ‘80s nostalgia. Here are six ways the whacky Wet Hot American Summer universe brings some serious ‘80s vibes.
1. The Fashion
The knee socks, flared jeans, popped collars, and softball tees scream 1981. Seriously though, look at Amy Poehler's feathered hair!
2. The Technology
Bradley Cooper plays a keyboard. If that isn't ‘80s enough for you, remember Camp Firewood has a common landline — aka no cell phones — and Internet apparently hasn't been invented yet. Plus, that one camper has a radio show, not a podcast.
3. The Song "Higher And Higher"
Theodore Shapiro and Craig Wedren's “Higher And Higher” is the perfect inspirational and cheesy ‘80s power ballad, composed for the film in 2001. When Gene (Christopher Meloni’s character) shows Coop “the way,” “Higher and Higher” scores the ‘80s-tastic montage.
4. An homage to the classic ‘80s summer camp film genre
The ‘80s summer camp movie genre packs a pretty big catalog with Little Darlings, SpaceCamp, Poison Ivy, a myriad of camp-inspired horror films, and even Ernest Goes to Camp. If you grew up in the ‘80s or ‘90s, you probably owned at least one of these films on VHS — and exhausted the tape.
5. OK, So Maybe Time At Camp Firewood Moves At A Bizarre Pace
The long days of summer camp did seem to boast an almost unreal amount of action. But Camp Firewood certainly takes time to the next level, fitting road trips, lost campers, relationships, advances in astrophysics, and an excursion into town into one final day. Now, the paradoxical parody is aging people backward? Let's not overthink this and enjoy this parallel Wet Hot American Summer universe for what it is: hilarious.
Images: Gemma La Manna, Saeed Adyani/Netflix, Giphy (5)