TV: Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later

There aren’t many projects I would watch merely for the cast; evidently, this is one of them. Continuing a clumsy comedy franchise is Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later, an eight-episode sequel that is random, weird, and often painfully stupid. There are enough awkward laughs and what-the-fuck moments to make it worth a background watch, but only my allegiance to its roster of veterans from Parks and Recreation and The State kept me soldiering through it.

The gang gets back together at Camp Firewood ten years after their final camp outing for a reunion in 1991. Now in their mid-twenties, everyone’s advanced to new stations in life (and in one case, metamorphosed from Bradley Cooper into Adam Scott). It’s all fun and games until Ronald Reagan (Michael Showalter) and George H.W. Bush (Michael Ian Black) attempt to destroy the camp with a nuclear missile. Right?

Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later is clearly a labor-of-love project amongst actors who really enjoy hanging out together, being silly. But that’s one of the few positive things I can say about this unlikely project, which—like its predecessor, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp—lampoons its historical era while its slowly aging actors become more and more unlikely young people. There are a few comic “highlights” here and there, like Neil (Joe Lo Truglio) tutoring chronic virgin Victor (Ken Marino) how to have sex, and a running evil nanny subplot involving a perfectly cast Alyssa Milano. Michael Ian Black stands out this season, elevating his lines throughout. But overall this season misses more than it hits. This has always been, and still is, an extremely silly and uneven project that must have struck a chord within its niche, because I can’t for the life of me figure out the appeal. Even as I, uh, continue to watch it.

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