Michael Showalter Reveals Details About Wet Hot American Summer Series

Michael Showalter

David Wain and Michael Showalter make a great team. Their respective approaches to comedy complement each other perfectly, creating projects that capture the hearts of the audience, and cling on – like stubborn limpets – until the end of time. One such project is Wet Hot American Summer. A box office disappointment on its release in 2001, it became something of a cult classic soon after, commanding strident loyalty among its fans. Those fans have longed to re-visit Camp Firewood, ever since they discovered the film, and their vociferous nagging was recently rewarded with the news that a prequel would be coming to Netflix.

Promoting his latest big screen collaboration with David Wain – They Came Together – Michael Showalter spoke to Crave Online, and addressed the status of a Wet Hot American Summer reunion:

“We’re talking about doing Wet Hot American Summer now as a Netflix series. So we have an outline, but we don’t have a script…it’s the first day of camp…the entire first season would be one day.

“We wouldn’t have wanted to do it if we couldn’t get everybody. So we did our due diligence before the fact and everyone wants to do it. At this point it’s just a scheduling thing. We’re not trying to do a really intricate story. It’s more just an opportunity to bring the cast back together and tell more stories about these camp kids.”

So, where the film depicts the events of the final day of camp in 1981 – with the ‘kids’ all desperately trying to tie up their social loose ends and prepare for a talent show – the prequel series would focus on the first day of camp, with potentially some flashbacks to the previous year. These details really have two implications – one of which is potentially awesome, and one is potentially not.

Firstly, by structuring the series as ten episodes all taking place in one day, Wain and Showalter can work around the “scheduling thing” effectively. By breaking it down into specific stories – presumably with each episode focusing on one or two characters at a time – it removes the requirement of having to have all of the stars together at the same time, for ten episodes of shooting. This seems much more realistic than the alternative structure – of having each episode as ‘real time’ and the series depicting a ten hour day – because the cast includes names like Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Janeane Garofalo, Bradley Cooper, Elizabeth Banks, Michael Ian Black, Molly Shannon and Christopher Meloni. Creating episodes that follow individual characters chimes much more closely with Showalter’s comment about simple stories – with the series really exploring each of the camp kids’ tales.

But, this more realistic structure leads to the second, potentially less awesome implication – that the show may well create the same sense of frustration among some fans that the most recent batch of Arrested Development episodes did – also on Netflix. Though the show itself was well-received, many were disappointed at the lack of scenes featuring the original cast all together.

Whether the Wet Hot American Summer Netflix series arrives structured like 2013’s Arrested Development, or more like 24, we clearly have some time to wait – since Showalter says there is no script yet. In the meantime, We Got This Covered will continue to keep its ear firmly to the ground.

About the author


Sarah Myles

Sarah Myles is a freelance writer. Originally from London, she now lives in North Yorkshire with her husband and two children.