I won’t blame you if you don’t remember Claire and her boyfriend Mark from the original Wet Hot American Summer movie, as played by Sarah Burns and Mark Feuerstein — because they weren’t in it at all. But they feature pretty dang prominently in Ten Years Later, the new eight-episode Netflix series that finally brings the Camp Firewood family back for their long-awaited 10-year reunion. So who is Claire in Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later, and why has she been inserted into the story like this?
Although the show features a flashback sequence where Claire and Mark are included, anybody with a keen eye and an encyclopedic knowledge of the 2001 version can tell that the footage wasn't part of the original film. First Day of Camp also added some new characters into the mix, like Coop’s erstwhile girlfriend Donna and her eventual Israeli lover Yaron (both of whom are returning for Ten Years Later); but most of them left the camp by the end of the series as a way to maintain continuity. Now, it’s clear that showrunners David Wain and Michael Showalter are throwing caution to the wind. Not that they had any caution left. Wet Hot is not exactly known for being cautious.
But why add even more new characters in the first place? Part of is might have to do with how tricky it is to get all the stars of the original Wet Hot to come back for more, what with all their elaborate A-list schedules; you can’t replace everyone with Adam Scott like the show did with Bradley Cooper, because even he’s got other projects to work on. More screen time for Claire and Mark mean less screen time for everyone else, which is good when you only have a few days to shoot with your actors and need to fill time in your dorky comedy series.
Plus, who doesn't love an opportunity to make fun of early '90s fashion? Claire's long pearls, Annie Hall tie, baggy blouse, and lace floral leggings are such a fantastically awful congregation of trends. I'm more than willing to meet some new campers this season of Ten Years Later if it means more ridiculous outfits to laugh at.