Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp: Electro/City
August 6, 2015 11:56 AM - Season 1, Episode 6 - Subscribe

It's Showtime! For Ace Attorney Jim "Johnny Pisspot" Stansel, anyway. Also for the actual show that the drama kids have spent all day rehearsing. Also for the live band at the Camp Tiger Claw Formal, but we don't go into their arcs as much.


Lindsay is barreling through the woods away from Eric's Mysterious Mystery Cabin, a flurry of thoughts carefully composing themselves in her head. She finds J.J. and the nameless counselors, J.J. takes the boob-grab that some would argue he didn't actually earn, and everybody heads over to the musical. Lindsay stays behind, though, surreptitiously grabbing her typewriter to commit this once-in-a-lifetime experience to paper, but Eric has returned. "What the heck do you know about Proto-punk, anyway?" he asks. "I know that it's the past, present and future of music," she answers.

And sometimes, in this life, that's all you need to know.

June 24th, 1981 - 7:30 pm.

Backstage, thespians are getting ready. Logan has thrown himself entirely into the Warden role, apparently, and chorus members (including an old friend of mine from high school who I didn't know was in this) stretch and strut. Andy reminds Katie of the most romantic fart in the world, and she all fronts on just smiling a lot, like she's a robot with no feelings or something. Andy tries on a Bender impersonation (Breakfast Club or Futurama, take your pick) and it looks great on him.

But at CTC, lo ho ho! Blake and the Darien Dogs head off to the Formal believing Katie to be on her way there, not realizing that Katie is not on her way there!

Before curtain, Coop and Kevin both fight their way to seats next to their beloveds, dealing with competion from Yaron and Drew, respectively. Ben and McKinley have a bit of a moment while Susie yells and glares at them, and Kevin and Drew battle to give Amy a hoodie first (devotees will remember the significance of exchanging hoodies at Camp Firewood, of course.)

Curtain opens and WHATTT?!?!? Is it 1981 or 2081 in here?! At the end of a dazzling synth-shaker of an opening number, Andy enters down center in a farmboy outfit, stating that he thinks he's "gonna like it here." He might not be certain, but the crowd is. About liking Andy in the lead, I mean.

Beth and Greg meet with Jim Stansel again, after nothing sexual happened. Pisspot reminds them that their strategy is to force the case to go to trial and deny any deal Xenstar's lawyers float. This is easier said then done, once Bill Martinson (Bruce Greenwood) and his cadre of associates and dolly full of cartons show up. Martinson implies that Stansel isn't old enough to vote. Stansel replies that he's "old enough to take a big fat shiiiiiiiiit on your face." You know, lawyer stuff. There's actually a lot of complicated legal posturing and strategy in this scene, but the important part is that Beth, Greg and Stansel walk away from the deal and Stansel gets a sick burn in on Martinson about being young.

Back at the show, Andy is arrested! But, like, the character he's playing, not the for real Andy, so don't be too worried about it, just a little worried. He sings.

June 24th, 1981 - 8:00 pm.

A half hour later, the trial is underway. Martinson slaps down Stansel's first cross-examination question with a nasty objection and everyone is very, very disappointed in Stansel, especially us. Now an irrevocably shattered man, he abandons the case. Beth and Greg chase after him.

"Electro City" closes out its first act with the famous "Zoot Suit" number, which goes off perfectly, and as the curtain comes down Ben and McKinley kiss and everyone is impressed at how well the show managed to thread the needle with this arc. Gail and Jeff are having their first date as a married couple or ever when Gene, formerly Jonas, stops by, and everything's not nearly as awkward as it could have been. Still, Gail feels like she might have rushed into things a little, and the always-understanding Jeff agrees to a divorce. They run off to fuck first.

In the Cabin, Eric finally plays the lost recordings for Lindsay, and they are revelatory. Still, Eric has to explain to Lindsay that genius is a curse, which she should have known by now, being 24 and all. Still, she helps him get out of the prison of his own music and set it free, and if you pay careful attention to the score, you might even see where this is going.

As actors get to places, Susie and Ben admit their infidelities and break up amicably when Ben says he's in love with McKinley. Still, there's a bit of legit sadness on Susie's face. For reals, yo.

Stansel isn't up to the task, no matter the stakes, in this case the lives of every man, woman and child at that camp, but Steve to the rescue with evidence! On big 'ol floppy disks! Boomshakalaka! Katie and Andy perform their big romantic number while calling each other "jerk" and "bitch" between lines, but probably nobody noticed.

Blake has been stood up and he doesn't like it one bit, even if Courtney is just begging to be "a chewier piece of candy" on his arm. Back at the trial, Stansel runs the floppies into the courtroom, and the judge allows it. Taking a look at the disks (but not, like, on a computer) he declares Xenstar guilty on all charges and orders them to clean up the waste. Martinson graciously congratulates Stansel but then gets on some strange glowing metal device to call on "the Falcon" to take care of things.

On the Deck of Camp Tiger Claw, Blake's crew can't help but get wrapped up in the finale of "Electro City," where Andy and Katie put aside their squabbling, nail the lift, and start making out. Also Lindsay and Eric are making out. Also REO Speedwagon. Eric's got the song, and Lindsay ghosts out the door, her work done.

The crowd goes nutty for the show. Claude offers to take Susie to NY with him to assist him on "Dreamcoat," but she points out that she's 16 and this is fully inappropriate. Katie and Andy spend a long time staring at each other and not quite making out and talking about how it was all just acting, and then they head back out for another bow, Andy looking particularly dejected.

Jim "Johnny Pisspot" Stansel handles his post-victory press conference, talking about believing in yourself and letting Beth, Greg and Steve shrug off any credit, despite the fact that they did, like, all of it. AND THEN! Taking his final question, shots are fired, and Stansel and Greg both go down, dead. You better believe it's The Falcon at the trigger, and with his final words, Greg tells Beth "you saved the camp, now save the can..."


Basically the capstone episode of an amazing series. This was just so, so damn good.
posted by Navelgazer (14 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:50 PM on August 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

I don't know why, but I thought Greg getting shot in the head was hilarious. They have to get rid of all the characters not in the movie some way and the manner in which they do it gets sillier and sillier.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 3:05 AM on August 7, 2015

Especially since he got a death scene AFTER he was shot in the head. That was great.
posted by aabbbiee at 8:04 AM on August 7, 2015 [7 favorites]

The Zoot Suit number was just absolutely adorable, plus it made no sense in the plot of the musical at all, which added to my delight. I cannot believe they shot all of these Bradley Cooper scenes in one day!
posted by aabbbiee at 8:06 AM on August 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

[Andy ] Why do you have to be so high and mighty, huh? What's it like living up in the clouds, Katie? What do you have for dinner up in the clouds? Filet ming-ong? You know what we have at dinner in my house? Nothin'. Sometimes chicken.

Curtain opens and WHATTT?!?!? Is it 1981 or 2081 in here?!

♪ Retro, metro Oh my God, Reacto! ♪
♪ Heathrow, mondo ♪
♪ Robo-mumbo jumbo Society the rat race ♪
♪ Electro-City ♪
♪ Amen, omen Who can you believe, man? ♪
♪ He said, she said ♪
♪ Thermo-nuclear threat ♪
♪ White lines, black face ♪
♪ Calculator, phone trace Electro-City ♪
♪ Electro-City ♪
♪ In NYC ♪
♪ A.K.A. Electro-City ♪
♪ I think I'm gonna like it here! ♪
posted by filthy light thief at 9:11 AM on August 7, 2015 [3 favorites]

Chris Pine is one of those character actors trapped in a leading man body, and I just wish he could perform his Jim Morrison-inspired, plant-punching, Tab-drinking character for the rest of his life.

Electro-City is an amazing tour-de-force, and I want the Original Camp Firewood Cast Recording immediately. (It also makes me want to listen to Starlight Express.)
posted by a fiendish thingy at 10:05 AM on August 7, 2015 [7 favorites]

I really, really want Netflix to air a two-hour performance of Electro-City, which looks absolutely delightful. I loved the costumes especially: the men in metallic spandex bodysuits (a bold crossing of the shiny bodysuit gender divide!), the sparkling sequins on Andy's overalls and prison jumpsuit.

I loved how the headclamp part on the electric chair was clearly a salad bowl wrapped in tin foil.

Was Gene missing his Jesus tattoo? In the movie, he has a big one on his left arm.
posted by mochapickle at 10:28 AM on August 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

I think we can safely assume that Gene got his ink over the Summer in that post-Gail, pre-openness haze.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:29 AM on August 7, 2015

Maybe fake musicals existing in comedy TV shows is a slowly emerging micro-genre. Electro City could follow in the footsteps of The Nightman Cometh and someday get performed in its (hypothetical) entirety.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 10:57 AM on August 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

That's Christopher Meloni's actual ink, so you might have just missed it.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:56 PM on August 7, 2015

What was up with the iPhone? Was it just used as Generic Futuristic Device?

I was surprised by how Greg died; I figured that taking several spoons of toxic waste would be the culprit. Psych!
posted by Pronoiac at 9:45 PM on August 15, 2015

What was up with the iPhone? Was it just used as Generic Futuristic Device?

I read the joke on two levels. First, the regular Stella "this tv show is an entertainment product made by actors and screwing with continuity is hilarious" level. Like their love of incredibly obvious stunt doubles, and Coop saying "what an odd way to wrap a gift" and Donna responding with "yeah, it makes it easier for multiple takes."

Second, THAT'S HOW EVIL XENCORP AND REAGAN ARE! They had the iPhone 6 in 1981 with all their advanced science, and it was part of their corrupt collusion with the government that they kept it all to themselves for so long.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 6:29 PM on August 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm glad I'm not the only one who was wondering how the heck the Zoot Suit number fit into the continuity of electro/city, or wants to actually see the entire musical (which, like this episode, is waay darker than I would have expected)

Michael Cera was great in this, especially the bit of deliberately awful exposition: "Watergate...... which was like 7 years ago"

A lot of things worked really well in this episode, and somewhat bizarrely, the show is starting to pick up a halfway-compelling plot. For me, this episode sold me on the series, and makes me sad that there's only going to be eight episodes. This is the first new live-action TV comedy I've thoroughly enjoyed since Parks & Rec (and 30 Rock before that) went off the air.

The new episodes (and the original movie) work really well because the cast have amazing chemistry, and I was a little sad to see Jason Schwartzman leave, given just how great he was beside Janeane Garofalo. Like many others I'm amazed that Bradley Cooper shot all of his scenes in one day -- It's really not at all evident. Coincidentally, Michael Cera's presence in this episode reminded me of how Arrested Development's fourth season really suffered because most of the scenes were stitched together without all of the actors present.

Electro city is a tough place to live.
posted by schmod at 7:39 PM on August 16, 2015 [2 favorites]

Also, I can't tell if I should take the iPhone seriously, because it feels a step or two beyond the show's typical level of zaniness.
posted by schmod at 7:55 PM on August 16, 2015

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