Wet Hot American Summer was the reigning popular movie of my adolescence. Even though I’m not sure my friends and I knew 100% what all the jokes were about, it was silly and irreverent and made us laugh. What else could we need? 16 years later the Wet Hot American Summer saga continues with Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later, a sequel series that calls back to the moment in the film when the characters all decide to reunite a decade later and make it their beeswax to be on time. But in watching the show, you may notice that one of the main characters looks a little different. Adam Scott plays Ben in Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later, though the role was played in the movie and the 2015 series, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day Of Camp by Bradley Cooper.
Ben and Susie (Amy Poehler) were the leaders of the theatrical portion of camp, and one of the shining moments of the film is the summer-end talent show they helped produce. Ben and Susie are known by everyone to be an item, except Ben is actually gay and in a secret relationship with counselor McKinley. Cooper was very funny in the role, but, according to Entertainment Weekly, he wasn’t available to film Ten Years Later with the rest of the gang because he was off directing and starring in his new film, a remake of A Star Is Born.
Now, it is very obvious that Adam Scott and Bradley Cooper do not look alike, so the explanation in the show for the difference in appearance is that Ben had a nose job to repair a deviated septum and this is why he looks different. Ridiculous? Totally. But it’s so in line with the absurd humor of Wet Hot American Summer. Co-creator and star Michael Showalter told Entertainment Weekly in the previously referenced interview that it was all by design. He said:
“I like unapologetically just swapping out the actor. The idea that seemed so silly was that he had a nose job and is worried that people won’t recognize him, and the joke is that everybody recognizes him completely and says that you can barely notice it. Essentially what we’re saying is: If Bradley Cooper got a nose job, he would look like Adam Scott.”
Fellow co-creator David Wain said that Cooper liked the explanation too. So with his blessing, Adam Scott falls into the role of Ben. Luckily, everyone else is back for the show — Amy Poehler reprises her role as Susie; Christopher Meloni is chef Gene; Paul Rudd is jerk Andy; and Marguerite Moreau is popular girl Katie, to name a few. Added in to play new characters are Alyssa Milano, Melanie Lynskey, Mark Feuerstein, and Sarah Burns, among many others.
A scheduling issue could have been a big problem for another show, but a casting twist like swapping Adam Scott for Bradley Cooper is right in line with irreverent and frequently unexplained gags in every iteration of Wet Hot American Summer.