Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Pilot Review: Wet Hot American Summer

Wet Hot American Summer (Netflix)
Premiered July 31

I saw the film “Wet Hot American Summer” in 2007, and my short review, posted within the first month that this site existed, talks about how a funny, promising start didn’t really lead anywhere for me personally. When I mentioned to friends that I could barely remember the film, they all urged me to watch it again, but I felt like I’d be better off revisiting the universe from the vantage point of having it as a distant memory and seeing how the new show holds up. This first episode is an introduction more than anything else, but it’s one that shows just how talented a comedy cast this show has assembled. I figure that I can probably identify which members of the cast weren’t in the film – namely Josh Charles and John Slattery – but what’s most astounding is the talent that has returned to revisit summer camp and all the hilarity it has to offer. I’m not a huge fan of this show’s humor and the way it goes about it, but I still do find it fun, and I love recognizing so many actors in roles that seem perfect for them. This is definitely a show that I’m eager to continue watching and to let grow on me, if only to see the likes of Marguerite Moreau, Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd, Ken Marino, Bradley Cooper, and so many others make fools of themselves on television in a parody of camp that feels all too familiar, wild, and absurd.

How will it work as a series? It’s designed as a prequel to the movie, which means that it has a lot of gaps to fill in and has to stick, in large part, to how events in the movie play out. That said, I’m treating it as a standalone production, and I found this first installment to be perfectly expository and informative, to the point that I think it will do very well and have no problem milking fresh comedy over the course of thirteen episodes.
How long will it last? Netflix is almost impossible to measure, but I think there’s enough buzz and nostalgic goodwill around this show that it will likely return for another season, even if this was only meant to be a one-shot reunion. My suspicion is that one season is all it should really be back for, but positive vibes and energy will encourage its network to pick it up for more.

Pilot grade: B

No comments: