Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp: Activities
August 3, 2015 9:12 AM - Season 1, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Rehearsals go wrong! Stories get spilled! Camp Directors Mutate! Gifts get given! Horns get blown! Also Identities get blown! Arms get really good! Strap in!

"Save the camp... follow the money... get the code..."

RIP Mitch, you died doing what you loved - holding a can of mixed vegetables.

June 24th, 1981, 1:15 pm.

Arty "The Beekeeper" Solomon eases us all into the lower midriff of the day as kids eat worms, counselors craft erotic pottery, and J.J. attempts something like breakdancing.

Back by that pool of toxic sludge, Beth is still upset about Mitch dying, and Greg tries to bring her back to the reality of the situation: lying to the parents. In this as in all things, it helps to think of the quality service and superior automobiles one finds at AVIS Rent-a-Car.

Donna knocks up Coop's door, extending an olive branch wrapped in a manner more convenient for multiple takes. It is a "Shofar," from Yerooshalayim, and it is a gift with many meanings, all of which Donna understands at a level likely unattainable to others. Coop shows off his great arms and the two kiss for the amusement of Coop's campers.

Beth and Greg confront the frantic parents. It seems some campers didn't get the bunkmates they had requested and you all know this means hell to pay. The parents see right through Greg's walkie-talkie-tape-recorder ruse, but a fortuitous scarecrow manages to keep them distracted. Only for an hour or two at most, though.

Andy comes a-courting for Katie, giving her a free massage like the gentleman he is, but over at CTC, Blake and his pimp-sergeants sense an ulterior motive. Katie and Andy discuss her not wanting to hack off a slice of his long greasy dick at this juncture, but he's sure she'll come around to him. Oh, she will. He knows she will. He knows. That she will. He knows.

Greg doesn't need Beth's mock phone calls to know that calling Xenstar up won't get them to stop dumping the waste. Hacking their mainframe seems like the only logical option, but Xenstar being who they are, with all those protocols and algorithms and RAMs, that's impossible. But lo ho ho, dear viewers - Mitch's last words were "get the code!" There's a chance after all! If only they could find someone with Military experience who oh apparently Beth knows somebody at camp with secret military experience.

Over Electro City way, unrofessionalism rules the day, and it's given a cush job to its nephew - injury!

Outside the mysterious cabin of mystery, J.J. finally tells Lindsay the story of the mysterious cabin of mystery. Seems that a half-dozen years prior, in the heady days of the mid-seventies, a dyed-in-the-wool Rocker by the name of Eric (Chris Pine) was just about to bring the world to its literal and figurative knees with his outfit "The Rockin' Knights of Summer." An A&R guy had seen them play at Camp Firewood and immediately brought them on tour, but Eric went all Brian Wilson with
the bands recording sessions soon afterwards and locked the tapes and himself right in that self-same cabin! The mysterious one! Meanwhile Lindsay has a typewriter out so I guess she's writing a letter to her mom or something.

Blake's popped collars deign to make an appearance in Katie's bunk but it's not at all clear that they were invited there. Also, Blake says some disparaging stuff about Jews that maybe would have been more socially acceptable back then but I'm still pretty sure we're meant to take it as a sign that he's an asshole. Blake says it's his way "come to the CTC formal tonight" or the highway "don't date an anti-semitic tool anymore" and Katie has to think long and hard about her decision.

McKinley and J.J. have a dick-fight, which is all well and good, but the dicks they are fighting with are in actuality more Shofars! Donna's been giving them to everyone. Even Yaron. Especially Yaron! Yaron who can play music on his. Coop, as we can all imagine, is not amused.

In the mess hall, Jonas wants to be all "I wasn't in the 'Nam" but Beth is all, "yeah, you were in the 'Nam" and proves it by swinging a pole at his face. His background confirmed, they begin the regression process to extract the secret code that all Marines have stored in their databases, while Gail slowly carries a box of craft supplies by outside and probably doesn't overhear anything. She especially doesn't overhear Mitch coming back, melded as one into that Can of Vegetables he loved so much once! More good news!

Donna comes back to see Coop again, apologizes about her feather, gives him a hat and shirt combo that probably made its way into a Sugar Ray video 15 years later, and the two kiss again. Cue the whistling!

Greg and Beth, now equipped with the code, find a camper named Steve (Kevin Sussman.) Beth doesn't recognize that he is sitting at the campus computer, despite being thoroughly knowledgable about protocols earlier, so file that under "suspicious" and keep a pin in it. Together, the trio cracks the mainframe and discovers that Xenstar is behind every evil act in eviltown. Unfortunately for our intrepid investigators, though, Ron (Judah Friedlander) is watching them for President Ronald Reagan (Michael Showalter), and President Ronnie has a mean left hook, an axe to grind, and an assassin named "The Falcon" in Buenas Aires, just waiting to take the next instantaneous flight to Waterville.
posted by Navelgazer (19 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This was the episode that had me and my wife laughing out loud.
[Coop] Wow, that's such an odd way to wrap presents
[Donna] Yeah, it's just easier for multiple takes.
And a fortuitous scarecrow manages to keep them distracted
[Beth] Mitch? Um, he's right over there in the soccer field, see?
[Father guy] Is that Mitch?
[Mother lady] Oh! I recognize his hat. That is Mitch.
[Greg] I gotta hand it to you, you just saved our bacon.
[Beth] But we just have an hour, maybe two, before those parents realize that's not Mitch.
Somehow, the delivery of that last line made it great.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:28 AM on August 3, 2015 [12 favorites]

Hearing H. Jon Benjamin's voice come out of a can of vegetables instead of a human being was so comforting, like I finally scratched an itch that had been bugging me for an hour.

Jon Hamm's whole scene at the end is hilarious. The folder being on the pay phone, the fact that it is obviously a green screen shot, his whole demeanor. I'm giggling just thinking about it.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 10:47 AM on August 3, 2015 [6 favorites]

I'd never heard of Jon Hamm before this show, but I think he really has potential. I'm glad that the WHAS folks were able to give him a chance.
posted by codacorolla at 12:12 PM on August 3, 2015 [8 favorites]

That Bradley Cooper guy is pretty cool too. Maybe if he can get some more screen time next season he'll take off.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 12:14 PM on August 3, 2015 [3 favorites]

Movie continuity: In this episode, we see Gail walking past the kitchen with an enormous box marked CRAYONS. By the end of the season, she's down to just one crayon. And it's brown.
posted by mochapickle at 6:23 PM on August 3, 2015 [11 favorites]

Having never watched Mad Men, I've ONLY seen Jon Hamm in comedy roles, and I love that.
posted by destructive cactus at 6:25 PM on August 3, 2015

Hearing H. Jon Benjamin's voice come out of a can of vegetables instead of a human being was so comforting, like I finally scratched an itch that had been bugging me for an hour.

I realize he had a live-action show about having a van, but Jon Benjamin has always always been a voice for animated characters in my life. Watching the actual Jon Benjamin say things in a Jon Benjamin voice felt more like lip-synching than the Beekeeper with Samm Levine's dialogue ever has.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:06 PM on August 3, 2015 [10 favorites]

The whole Mitch transformation was what really made me feel the series had found its groove, rather than the more hit-or-miss feeling I got from the first two episodes. The way that everybody is really throwing themselves back into their parts is great, and even though Bradley Cooper apparently had only one day of shooting, he doesn't seem to be rushed or not giving it his all.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:05 AM on August 4, 2015

Having an Israeli play Amazing Grace on a shofar is wrong in ways I cannot even express.
posted by maxsparber at 8:23 AM on August 4, 2015 [14 favorites]

That Bradley Cooper guy is pretty cool too. Maybe if he can get some more screen time next season he'll take off.

The previously unseen documentary about WHAS on Netflix, Hurricane Of Fun, features Actual Ditz Bradley Coop so much. He's so happy to be there!
posted by The Whelk at 10:58 AM on August 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

Greg pulling out a spoon to get a final taste of the toxic waste KILLED ME.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 12:37 PM on August 4, 2015 [7 favorites]

Not just that, but Beth having to keep him from running back for another final taste once they were leaving the scene.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:43 PM on August 4, 2015

Jon Hamm playing the Falcon is perfect, since I watched the entire original movie thinking that Christopher Meloni was Jon Hamm. Yeah I'm not good at recognizing actors.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 5:36 AM on August 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

Meloni actually looked a lot like Jon Hamm when he first showed up clean cut with the wig in this series. I'd never noticed before how similar they look.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:05 PM on August 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

Fun fact: Rockin' Knights of Summer was David Wain's real-life band, which he put together in between college semesters. Full story in Camp Camp
posted by dr_dank at 8:14 AM on August 6, 2015

"I've seen better leaps from a year."
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:01 PM on August 9, 2015

Meloni actually looked a lot like Jon Hamm when he first showed up clean cut with the wig in this series.

Me: They got Jon Hamm for this?
Girlfriend: That's not Jon Hamm.
Me: No, but really, that's totally Jon Hamm.
Girlfriend: Nope.
Me: OK, now THAT'S Jon Hamm. (RE: The Falcon)
Girlfriend: Is it?
Me: Duh.
posted by carsonb at 10:44 AM on August 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

If at some point Jon Hamm should appear in this series (or anywhere for that matter) with a big ol' goatee, a do' rag, and jorts I could die happy.
posted by carsonb at 3:21 PM on August 11, 2015

The TRS-80 was a nice touch.
posted by schmod at 12:02 PM on August 15, 2015

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