Theme by nostrich.
Photo with 137 notes
A Deeply Nerdy Love Letter To Wet Hot American Summer
In late 2001, I was a college freshman, and Wet Hot American Summer was released in select cities. It was not playing anywhere close to my school, which was in Hartford, CT. I knew that I had to see it as soon as humanly possible, because of my long obsession with The State, the sketch comedy group that spawned most of the cast members and crew. I didn’t know anything about it beyond that it was a send up of 80s summer camp movies. It sounded great, but that’s all I had to go on, because apparently 10 years ago was the stone age. I actually had to read a review in Entertainment Weekly to find out about it (note: they gave it an A).
I waited for it to finish it’s run, and I waited even longer for it to come out on DVD. The Tuesday it was released, I made my friend drive me to the nearest Best Buy, and I bought it sight unseen. As I sat down for my first viewing, I found that it struck a bizarre but amazing tone: it started out almost sweet, like it was paying reverence to the films it was parodying, and by the end it had mutated into one of the most surreal, non-sequitor driven, absurdist comedies I’d ever seen. No other comedy has “gone for it” quite like this, or at least this successfully. It was quite literally hilarious. If you’ve ever sat around with your hilarious friends, going off on all night tangents and laughing til you cry, thinking “we should make a thing, we’re funny,” that’s what this movie is. Except you and your friends are not a legendary 90s sketch troupe. I knew that I instantly loved it, and I wasted no time making that known to anyone who would listen.
All of my friends were curious as to what it was that I was geeking out so hard over, and why I was demanding precious common room TV space for it. A group of us, including my roommate, sat down to watch it, and within minutes we were all collectively laughing harder than I’ve laughed during any movie. This continued for several nights, as word would spread about “the crazy weird funny movie that Dave bought.” I felt like I was carrying a rare nerd virus, and they were all exposed. I must have screened that movie in the common room of our suite 8 times in 2 weeks, to groups of about 10 people each.
After my year in Hartford, I transferred to Emerson, where I learned quickly that my love for this movie was not entirely unique. The nerds who flocked to see Wet Hot were hiding at this small liberal arts college in Boston, and there were tons of them. I still remember seeing a guy in the halls dressed up like Michael Showalter’s character “Coop” on Halloween, and then going to a party that night and seeing a different guy wearing the exact same costume. I remember visiting a friend at NYU and going to a huge sold out screening of the film in Manhattan. I remember meeting David Wain on the escalator and freaking out considerably (we found a common ground in having the same first name, which I’m SURE was as memorable for him as it was for me). I absolutely wore out the DVD I bought over the years, and the steady viewings started to erode my ability to laugh at it. Anticipating every joke was not helping my enjoyment of it. So, like Andy’s old friends from Toy Story 3 (just tossing that in there for bored people who can’t relate to this), I put the DVD on the shelf and took a 3 year break.
And then Netflix Instant decided to add it to their library, and I saw it recommended for me. Immediately I decided that it was time, and myself and three friends got together and watched it a few nights ago. It was as if no time had passed since the day I first saw it. It is, quite possibly, the funniest movie I’ve ever seen, and I don’t think you need to be a comedy nerd to agree (although it definitely helps). The cast is amazing and the writing and performances blow any current comedy out of the water. The fact that it still hasn’t made it’s total budget back yet is baffling and sad to me, but I’m glad to know it’s there for us to watch, whenever we want to get weird for 90 minutes. I’d like to say that it was an inspiration, or an indicator of things to come in my life or career, but I think it’s merely a movie that I instantly knew I loved, and that’s all I need. I’m extremely thankful that it exists, if only because it’s so utterly satisfying to like something so wholeheartedly. Also, there’s a talking can of mixed vegetables who can suck his own dick, so, you know, that’s good too.