Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp: Auditions
August 4, 2015 10:18 AM - Season 1, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Camp Tiger Claw rips up some money, Andy regales us with "Champagne Eyes," J.J. thinks he's a turtle, and Logan's not dragging - it's just that kind of tune.

Sometime in the Past!

Prof. Henry Newman (David Hyde Pierce) teaches his small cadre of students some dad-jokes in front of a blackboard with the pythagorean theorem written on it and then goes through a montage of wondering why he's not more respected as an astrophysicist. Dean Fairchild (Richard Schiff) clearly thinks he's a prig, and his chief competition, Brodard Gilroy (MILF Island-host Rob Huebel) knows how to play the game far better than Newman ever will. After an embarrassing verbal slip-up Henry's friend convinces him to rent a cottage by the lake for the Summer, and he accepts.

July 24th, 1981 - 3:29 pm.

Okay, real quick-like: Arty psyches us up for some ass-kicking hypnotism later on. In the wake of the injury, Susie fires the leads of Electro City, and Claude calls for auditions to replace them. Claude's standards are high and his fuse is short. Ben will be in some sort of "Zoot Suit" number with McKinley.

Falcon rolls into a friendly Waterville general goods store for a tin of skoal and some combs, like you do, when the store is invaded by ruffians! One of them is wearing rainbow suspenders and another is some sort of girl who's into "The Cure." Falcon handles them with a well-placed leg-sweep and then sets fire to the store just to be safe.

Gail confronts Jonas about what she apparently overheard earlier, but even smacking him right in the face with a pole gets her nowhere. He mixes up the Hustle with the Electric Slide, though, and that's never a good sign. Katie is practicing to audition for the play. Andy thinks this is the lamest thing ever except that the leads kiss at the end, and so he's "caught the acting bug." It's going to take a lot to impress Claude and Susie, though.

Kevin and the boys are playing Tetherball when Amy and the girls wander over. Kevin acts the gentleman, all showing Amy how to play, and stopping everybody from laughing when she hits herself in the face with the ball, and then hitting himself in the head with it repeatedly. That last bit kind of makes everybody run away from him, though.

(insert a montage of people singing "Heart Attack of Love" very poorly)

At the end of that montage, Katie rocks it and secures the lead for herself. Beth welcomes Hypnotist Jackie Brazen ("Weird" Al Yankovic) to entertain the campers. Ringer Logan St. Bogan (John Early) blows Susie and Claude away with his poise and polish. Gail goes to the hall of records to check up on Jonas's history. The records clerk, Jeff (Randall Park) is happy to help and informs her that Jonas is dead. At the hypnotism show, Drew is calling "dibs" on every girl in camp. Kyle says they should at least take turns, and let's Kevin go first, but since they're going counter-clockwise, Drew actually goes first and calls dibs on Amy.

McKinley and Ben meet in the dressing room, where Ben is checking out the Zoot Suit costume they'll be wearing together. Being creative himself, McKinley was able to just tell that Ben was creative, but Ben hasn't totally confronted his own creativity yet, and so didn't realize McKinley was creative. In any case, McKinley thinks Ben is talented and the two try on the costume.

Over at Camp Tiger Claw, Blake and Co. are amusing themselves by tearing up some money and discussing Ayn Rand, when Courtney (Kristen Wiig) cozies up to the table to share the latest gossip - that Blake and Katie are on the rocks. Blake denies this, and Courtney leaves, down but far from out. Meanwhile, in the hall of records, Gail and Jeff look over some disturbing microfische that makes it appear that Jonas is really Gene, and that he stole Jonas' identity after a horrible plane crash.

Katie and Logan indeed get the leads, but what's this?! Andy has come to audition, and Claude allows it. Andy serenades the cast, nay, the world, with "Champagne Eyes," an original composition that blows all competition away. Obviously he's the lead now. Logan will play the Warden, and better make the most of his one song.

The hypnotism show ends, and when Beth and Greg go to thank Jackie Brazen, something seems off. Beth attempts a ruse, and Jackie takes his face off the reveal The Falcon! They run, the Falcon fires at them! Tune in next time!

Notes, Quotes and Random Thoughts:

"You fuck-dick of a shit-butt" is something every character on the West Wing wanted to call Toby at least once.

I think that Burger King's "Have It Your Way" campaign might be anachronistic for 1981.

ANDY: "Hey Katie, I was thinking about watching you ride a horse later, cool?"
KATIE: "Sorry, Andy, I'm auditioning to replace Becky in the musical and if I get the part I'll be rehearsing all day."
ANDY: "That sounds like a drag. I hope you don't get it. Trees look weird if you squint at 'em."

Damn but Kristen Wiig makes every second of screen time count here.

Um... if all the burned bodies were unidentifiable and one was missing then there's no way to know that Jonas Jurgenson was among the burnt ones and Gene Jenkinsen was the one who dissappeared. Try a little harder, guys. Like Avis.
posted by Navelgazer (30 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Did anyone else recognize the punks in the convenience store? You know: Cure Punk, Medieval Punk, Mork Punk..."Leader Punk" wasn't wearing his cape though.
posted by doctornecessiter at 10:29 AM on August 4, 2015 [5 favorites]

The Henry Newman breakdown is one of the most stunning cold open sequences I have ever seen.
posted by maxsparber at 10:33 AM on August 4, 2015 [10 favorites]

Also no Mallrat punk, sadly.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:55 AM on August 4, 2015

Also, maybe my favorite throw-away: (PHONE)NUMBER
posted by Navelgazer at 10:56 AM on August 4, 2015 [13 favorites]

I'm following Mork Punk on Twitter now because of this scene
posted by The Whelk at 10:56 AM on August 4, 2015

Josh Charles is channeling a young James Spader really well in this.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:07 AM on August 4, 2015 [4 favorites]

Having Cure Punk moan "ohhh my uterus!" after being knocked down by the Falcon made everything already perfect just a TOUCH more perfect.

Also, "please, call me by my middle name!" "What is your middle name?" "Also Jeff!" was a lovely call back to Henry telling Beth to call him Henry right after she called him Henry in the movie.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 12:40 PM on August 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

a fiendish thingy, thanks for linking that - I just cracked up at Also Jeff on its own, but it's more fun to know it also ties back (forward?) to the movie.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:52 PM on August 4, 2015

Spoilers: there may even be another variation on that joke in the next episode!
posted by Navelgazer at 1:44 PM on August 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

Is Heart Attack of Love a real song? Who is it by originally?
posted by Clustercuss at 7:43 PM on August 4, 2015

I love that the portrayal of how academia works in the TV series is somehow worse and more inaccurate than the one from the movie. When David Hyde Pierce ran to the bulletin board to see if his paper got accepted into the journal I about died.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 5:16 AM on August 5, 2015 [9 favorites]

Is Heart Attack of Love a real song? Who is it by originally?

I presume that it (and Electro/City) exist in the same pop cultural universe as the Wings song "Love Take Me Down (To The Streets)" from Role Models.
posted by doctornecessiter at 5:39 AM on August 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

Logan's not dragging - it's just that kind of tune.

Speaking of Logan's audition scene-- WHY ON EARTH WOULD COLESLAW EVER BE EGGY EW EW EW
posted by a fiendish thingy at 6:31 AM on August 5, 2015 [3 favorites]

Well, a fiendish thingy, Jonas' cooking smells like a skunk crawled up another skunk's ass and took a shit and then both skunks died, so maybe that has something to do with the coleslaw.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:37 AM on August 5, 2015 [3 favorites]

I loved the uterus line -- I am still having a giggling fit thinking about it! And I loved how Henry's entire academic meltdown arc all happened in a single day before 3:29 pm. And how all the chorus boys were sighing over Logan. And the chase scene with the heroic leap off the front step!

Question: The real estate agent showing Henry the cottage made a point to mention that a married couple had just left, which felt out of place to me because every single line in this series is either a callback or a joke. Was that some sort of callback that I didn't pick up on?
posted by mochapickle at 8:16 AM on August 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

The fact that the entire series happens in one day, and that the series is over twice as long as the movie which took place over a week, keeps getting funnier and funnier. How much progress have they made on Electro/City? The campers only showed up 6 hours ago.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 8:20 AM on August 5, 2015

The movie takes place in just a day, too!

But people get a lot done in a day -- I love that! I was re-watching the movie the other day to catch some of the callbacks and there's a great scene were Beth asks Nancy where she could find a book on astrophysics. Nancy's just starting a knitting project and is casting her needles with bright orange yarn. Beth is barely out of the frame when Henry zooms intro view to ask Nancy where he can find a book on camp directing, and now behind Nancy is this enormous orange afghan she's almost done making.
posted by mochapickle at 8:49 AM on August 5, 2015 [9 favorites]

Now I love the movie even more and hate myself a little more for missing that about the movie. There's timestamps and everything.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 8:56 AM on August 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

I don't know that we were supposed to imagine Henry's whole meltdown into renting the cabin and everything had all happened that morning, but that's hilarious and now I want to view it that way.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:13 AM on August 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'm sure of it! Henry and his colleagues are in the same clothes in every scene.

I also think Lindsay's pitch meeting in NYC is intended to be the very same day. It's lunchtime, she's eating barbecue (Lindsay loves barbecue!). When she calls NYC after hearing the story about Eric, Peele is wearing the same suit with the white silk shirt he was wearing in the first scene.
posted by mochapickle at 12:33 PM on August 5, 2015

Shoutout to Josh Charles' TRIPLE polo collar.

They are spending an awful lot of time on Jonas being Jonas. I keep waiting for him to actually lose some hair or get more ruffled up or something. Meloni is definitely earning every cent.
posted by St. Hubbins at 12:37 PM on August 5, 2015 [3 favorites]

I sometimes like to imagine that different characters played by the same actor are all actually the same person, and I can totally see Josh Charles' character growing up to be Will on The Good Wife.
posted by skycrashesdown at 2:42 PM on August 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

Meta-Jon Hamm joke:
In the other Netflix series Jon Hamm pops up in, he says the exact same line: "Stay in school, kids."
posted by mochapickle at 7:33 PM on August 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

It's lunchtime, she's eating barbecue (Lindsay loves barbecue!).

It's pretty foul.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:34 PM on August 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

Kristen Wiig was perfection in this episode. The look on her face after she delivered the line about her father ... I died.
posted by lunasol at 9:11 PM on August 5, 2015 [4 favorites]

I had to check IMDB to make sure James McAvoy wasn't in this because I wasn't familiar with Josh Charles before. The resemblance is uncanny (ok even I don't want to make that pun) very striking.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:11 PM on August 5, 2015

Shoutout to Josh Charles' TRIPLE polo collar.

For some reason, I missed the third polo the first time he showed up so when I noticed the third polo for the first time, I was hoping they were just going to keep adding polo shirts until Josh Charles was wearing like nine of them, but I guess not.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 2:09 PM on August 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

I loved the one-two punch of Judah Friedlander parodying Richard Schiff's role in The West Wing in the last episode, immediately followed by Richard Schiff appearing in this episode.
posted by schmod at 12:02 PM on August 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Also, Navelgazer is killing it with these episode descriptions.
posted by schmod at 12:23 PM on August 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

Shoutout to Josh Charles' TRIPLE polo collar.

I had a text conversation with a friend about exactly this:
Me: And Josh Charles has 3! Popped! Collars!
Her: That's how you know what level he is. Like a three star general.
Three collar douche.
But douche in a magnificent way.
posted by Pronoiac at 9:33 PM on August 15, 2015 [4 favorites]

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