The Most Absurd Moments in 'Wet Hot American Summer'

Here are the most absurd moments in Wet Hot American Summer

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Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

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The long awaited Wet Hot American Summer series finally dropped on Netflix today. It makes perfect sense that the newly minted original series juggernaut would reboot the 2001 cult classic: most of the film's stars have gone on to bigger and better things; the film's director, David Wain, has had a consistent directorial track record; and the film has gone down as one of the most beloved comedies in recent memory. Given all of the comedy nerd love swirling around the original film, it is easy to forget that the film was incredibly weird.

Most cult comedies are strange. Not that Zoolander and The Big Lebowski are standard Hollywood fare, but Wet Hot American Summer is unique because it doesn't tell an odd story, it incorporates an absurdist sketch comedy sensibility into the fabric of a tired movie premise. The film starts off feeling like a parody, but quickly stretches summer camp clichés past their breaking point and into the realm of absurdity. Eventually, the film goes beyond parody entirely and becomes a send-up of the idea of film parody itself. 

As we prepare for our ridiculous, trippy return to Camp Firewood, let's look back at The Most Absurd Moments in Wet Hot American Summer.

Gail's Inappropriate Therapy Sessions

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After Gail's (Molly Shannon) emotional breakdown, the counselor looks to her young campers for support. The next time we see her, the children are offering her therapy sessions. This turns into empowering role play, and then the kids act as her support system when she stands up to her no-good ex (conveniently played by Frank from 30 Rock), and she eventually finds a new love...which is, um, problematic because he's 12?

Gail needs this, okay!

The Counselors Agree to Meet at 9:30 a.m. Ten Years From Now

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Just like in every summer camp movie, the counselors agree to meet ten years from now to see what they are like in their twenties. 

Unlike in every summer camp movie, they grapple with future scheduling conflicts. Maybe, they should all just make it their beeswax to be there in time. 

Beth and Henry Know Nothing About Dating

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The romance between Beth (Janeane Garofalo) and Henry (David Hyde Pierce) starts off sweetly naive, with Beth asking teenage counselors for advice on what to wear, and ends with the realization that maybe these two people have never been around other human beings before. To quote Henry, "Oh, fuck my cock."

The Most Lit Trip Into Town

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"It's always fun to get away from camp, even for an hour."

'Nuff said. 

The Camp DJ Isn't Even Broadcasting

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The Victor vs. Neil Chase

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Wet Hot American Summer introduces a number of completely unearned sequences out of the blue that that turn out to be absolutely hilarious. The first of the batch is this ridiculous chase in which Neil (Joe Lo Truglio) chases down Victor (Ken Marino) after he abandons campers in hopes of getting laid (which, fair). 

The Campers Back Out of the Big Game

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The Out-of-Nowhere Training Montage

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Another great movie cliché is unleashed out of nowhere when Gene and Coop team up for an unlikely training montage. While it seems unecessary, it totally gives Coop the courage to finally declare his love for Katie. 

JK, it doesn't really help him that much because Paul Rudd exists. 

Alan Shemper the Borscht Belt Comedian

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It's already ridiculous enough when we think that Coop is playing a Catskills comedian as he emcee's the talent show. Then we learn that Showalter is actually playing another character: Alan Schemper, Borsht Belt stand-up extraordinaire.

And the crowd loves him, to the point of delirium.


Steve Summons Wind and Saves the Camp

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The climax of Wet Hot American Summer is just as unexpected and ridiculous as you would expect.

How else could this movie end than with an oddball nerd summoning the power of wind to knock a satellite out of the sky and save the camp?

Every Weirdly Sexual Thing Gene Says

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Christopher Meloni delivers nothing short of a glorious comedic performance as Gene, the veteran turned cafeteria worker. His twist on the kooky Vietnam veteran is a hall of fame effort, starting at the edge of ridiculousness and diving head first into absurdity.

Whether he's inviting you to "fondle his sweaters..."

... making sweet love to a fridge...

...or talking to a can of mixed vegetables...

...he steals every scene with his brilliant kookiness.

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