Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp: Lunch
August 2, 2015 8:45 AM - Season 1, Episode 2 - Subscribe

Lindsay shows up at camp. Coop saves Kevin from some embarrassment. Donna and Coop have words. Gail and Jonas announce their engagement. A new soccer counselor arrives. Rehearsals continue, but with mandated breaks. And Mitch comes clean.

The Beginning of Summer
We open on the Golden-Age New York City of the early nineteen-eighties, and find its four-on-the-floor heartbeat in the offices of Rock & Roll World Magazine. The Editor-in-Chief (Jordan Peele) dismisses ideas left and right from staffers/Greek-choristers Paul Scheer and Jayma Mays, until one BBQ-sauced old veteran journalist pops up with an idea. She wants to check out a summer camp in Maine, find out what the teens really act like without parents around. Nobody believes this 24-year-old graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism could possibly pass as a sixteen year old counselor, but her skills turn them all around. The Editor gives her 5000 words and tells her to make 'em count, and Lindsay (Elizabeth Banks) struts out of that office and onto her path of glory.

On a side note, this scene is my fucking everything.

June 24th, 1981 - 11:30 am.
Arty "The Beekeeper" Solomon takes our hand through a montage of morning activities before Lindsay rolls her VW convertible up the drive. She steels her doubts about the impossibility of her mission in voice-over, while hinting that this assignment would change the course of her life. And with that, WHAS:FDOC has its first bit of foreshadowing!

Coop leads his bunk through a game that Drew treats with every ounce of respect that it deserves. Katie's bunk asks her if she has a boyfriend, and she tells them that yes, her family summers with Blake's family on Nantucket. Which, come on, Katie, they're 12 and go to Camp Firewood. Katie asks the girls if any of them have boyfriends, they all give her the point I made just a moment ago, and Katie gives Amy an excuse to look over at Kevin for a while. One girl, with a pink shirt and a butterfly painted on her cheek, stakes her claim in the "boys are gross" camp, which many scenes in this episode will back her up on, provided she sticks to her guns.

Coop's bunk all takes off once Kevin is acknowledged (making a point to tell him how much he sucks on their way out) but this just gives Coop and Kevin a chance to talk about HOLY SHIT A COOL THING OVER THERE!

OMG YARON (David Wain)! You guys, seriously! Those devils sticks?! Donna knows what I'm talking about. Anyway, he's the new soccer counselor, from Israel, and he's got cigarettes that aren't that weak sauce you get in the States. Coop tries one at the suggestion of Donna, who really has to unpack some bags.

Beth attempts to interface with Mitch who, like a boss, tells her to just do whatever. She asks if he's okay, and he retaliates in full force about not needing the third degree about his mental state all the time, like an okay person. J.J. sees Lindsay approach and makes the call that she is hot. She introduces herself as a counselor, and nobody raises any objections. So far, all systems are go. Lindsay's from Ohio, which is backstory we didn't get when we saw her in NY, but she hits it off with the other counselors pretty well.

Katie is doing girl-stuff with Amy while her boy-hating camper does jumping jacks and educates us about astrophysics and the phallocracy. That camper stops mid-lecture, however, and runs off panic-stricken... to the girls' room! Katie follows, and therein she and Nurse Nancy guess at the problem and pass a tampon under the door, walking the young girl through this rite of passage. When the stall opens however, it is a young woman, Abby Bernstein, afraid but excited about this time in her life.

At rehearsals, Claude is there to inspire the leads by demeaning Ben. Rhonda, the choreographer, shows up late and gets the cast in gear, but Susie calls for a mandated Equity lunch break. Ben, ever the scab, protests, but Claude backs Susie. Outside, Susie attempts to take advantage of Ben's belittled status to pressure him into sex, but he stands firm and graceful, ever the Southern Gentleman.

(In the middle of this kitchen sink drama, Kevin shits his swimsuit)

Lindsay wins over the other counselors, accepts a priceless artifact she has no business taking from J.J., and asks about a mysterious cabin that no one wants to talk about. Over at the Mess Hall, Gail (Molly Shannon) walks in to find Jonas (Chris Meloni, who played a different cook named Gene in the movie.) They're getting married later in the day, and Gail has gotten him an apron celebrating his love of tomatoes. The two announce their engagement, J.J. gives Jonas some good-natured ribbing, and laughs are had all around.

Beth and Greg discuss Mitch's private matters that they have no business discussing while taking the trash out, when they come across a truck dumping the green sludge from the end of the previous episode. Greg tastes it and surmises that it means trouble with a capital "T."

In the mess hall, Kevin and Amy talk for just long enough for Kevin to be perfect at talking to girls. Abby, once so anti-boy, now seems to be in favor of them, but what's this?! Drew has brought in a pair of shit-stained swim trunks with Kevin's name on them! Thankfully, a woman named Patty Pancakes (Michael Showalter, in a dual-role) saves Kevin's day by explaining that she often steals the boys' trunks to defecate in them and leave them in the woods.

Miss Patty Pancakes comes across Donna and Yaron at the archery range, and accosts her about things that make much more sense coming from Coop, suggesting a continuity error of some sort. Whichever it's supposed to be, they walk away from Donna indignant.

Beth and Greg take Mitch to the toxic sludge, and Mitch admits to permitting the usage in order to keep the camp afloat. Then he stumbles back into the sludge and starts to die.
posted by Navelgazer (18 comments total)
I'm so glad they got Schwartzmann he's a perfect fit for this show.
posted by Dr. Zira at 9:45 AM on August 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Fantastic recap!

I loved how Elizabeth Banks was clearly on the verge of cracking up when she delivered her line about the Colombia School of Journalism.

And there's there a really clever cut when Beth and Greg are watching the toxic waste truck from up on the ridge. The camera is static on them as the truck is pulling away, and then a half-second later they are down by the sludge pool. It feels a lot like in the movie when Beth meets the professor at the picnic table in ten seconds.
posted by mochapickle at 12:02 PM on August 2, 2015 [6 favorites]

There are a bunch of scenes where the blocking continuity is completely fucked up between shots, and they are all hilarious. I really appreciate how the series has taken all the things I loved about the movie and just cranked them up.

I love how Elizabeth Banks makes such a big deal about how she can't pass for a camper because she's 24 when of course she's actually 41, and all the other campers are in their 30s and 40s anyway. The old people playing teenagers joke was such a fun part of the movie, and the series has just taken it to absurd lengths. I actually have trouble figuring out how old the various characters are supposed to be since they make no effort to not look like they're in their 40s.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 7:08 PM on August 2, 2015 [7 favorites]

Question: is George Dalton dubbed in his role of Arty 'The Beekeeper' Solomon? There's something off in his voice, or at least it feels like that.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:49 PM on August 2, 2015

much as in the original movie, the beekeeper's voice is done by samm levine. in the series they seem to have pitched his current speaking voice up slightly to match his 2001 voice, which leads to twice the "off"ness
posted by JimBennett at 7:53 PM on August 2, 2015 [3 favorites]

Thanks! I should have paid more attention to the IMDb credits.

I actually have trouble figuring out how old the various characters are supposed to be since they make no effort to not look like they're in their 40s.

The counselors are 16-17, and the campers are either pre-teens or in their early teens.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:59 PM on August 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

The Abby Bernstein origin story was like a perfect fragile jewel of pure beauty.

Also, I do like how menstruation is apparently the key that opens the door of "being a counselor instead of a camper." I wonder what the equivalent is for the boys!
posted by a fiendish thingy at 5:59 AM on August 3, 2015 [3 favorites]

I wondered about that, a fiendish thingy: do we know for sure that Abby is a counselor in the movie?
posted by Navelgazer at 6:33 AM on August 3, 2015

You had me wondering, too! I just buzzed through the movie and Abby is present at the counselors' meeting when Beth is giving her last-day speech. Beth asks her to set up the betamax so the campers can watch The China Syndrome Again. (The campers love The China Syndrome.)
posted by mochapickle at 6:51 AM on August 3, 2015 [4 favorites]

Holy cow, flt. That's amazing. And so, so good.
posted by mochapickle at 9:04 AM on August 3, 2015

The entire series is so well thought out, you'd think they had it written 15 years ago.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 9:30 AM on August 3, 2015 [3 favorites]

If not for the call-forward to The China Syndrome, I would see that they spent a while re-watching the original movie and picking out threads to tie into this series. Other people picked up on this connection, so I'm interested to see what folks say about this in interviews.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:18 AM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

The introduction of Yaron was amazing
posted by extramundane at 8:52 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Lindsay's completely unnecessary backstory twist is one of my favorite things about this series. Everything about it is wonderful.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:50 PM on August 5, 2015 [3 favorites]

My friend Rob Karlic took the photos used in the offices of Rock & Roll World Magazine!!!!
posted by Juliet Banana at 10:39 AM on August 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

Maybe Abby's still a camper at the end of camp and just helping out. I mean it seems like they were a bit shorthanded at the end compared to who they had at the start of camp, and she is quite mature for her age.
posted by ckape at 11:51 PM on August 8, 2015

I never knew there was more to the "Boys go to Jupiter" rhyme than that opening couplet!! My childhood was robbed of more elaborate gendered schoolyard taunts.
posted by mixedmetaphors at 9:18 PM on August 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

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