Summer is almost over, but camp is just getting started on Netflix.
In 2001, David Wain’s satirical cult classic Wet Hot American Summer introduced us to the lewd, lovable oddballs of Camp Firewood, which in 2015 was spun off into eight-episode Netflix prequel First Day of Camp. Now, most of the original cast is back for a new sequel, Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later (streaming Friday), which picks up in 1991 as the former counselors reunite for a weekend.
So where’d the “twentysomethings” land now that they’ve joined the workforce? Wain catches us up with Wet Hot‘s major players.
Susie (Amy Poehler)
Camp Firewood’s snooty theater nerd is now a bossy Hollywood producer, who feuds with her former student-turned-drama teacher (John Early) and struggles with her feelings for an up-and-coming indie actor (Jai Courtney). “She’s sleeping with, but trying not to be in love with (him),” Wain says. “That time in the ’90s was when independent film was in its first wave of popularity. We thought it was a natural extension of where Susie would go.”
Victor (Ken Marino)
Returning to camp after a long night of bartending at a nightclub, the curly-haired Victor is propositioned by Donna (Lake Bell) and Yaron (Wain) to be their baby’s surrogate father, which intimidates him because he’s still a virgin. “As a guy who was a virgin but always spent so much time overcompensating by bragging about his sexual prowess, it seemed like a natural, funny thing that he’d become one of these bartenders (who) takes his shirt off and drives women wild on the Upper East Side,” Wain says.
Andy (Paul Rudd)
“The idea for Andy was that he peaked at summer camp when he was 16,” Wain says. “He’s the kind of guy who was the coolest, hottest guy as a teenager, and it’s so often that it’s those guys that have the most trouble as they go along in life. We liked that theme of his desperate need to cling to his past victories, which plays into Andy’s story line of trying to reclaim his crown as the king of camp.”
Coop (Michael Showalter)
“Coop is our central everyman character, and he’s turned out to be a writer, so he’s trying to finish a memoir,” Wain says. “In the movie cliché way, he’s looking for that ending of the story, and his experience at camp ultimately is a journey to help him find (it). Coop is the guy who’s always looking for love as well, so will he reunite with Katie (Marguerite Moreau), the girl he fell in love with in 1981? Or stay with his current girlfriend (Maya Erskine)? We’ll find out the surprising answer at the end.”
Lindsay (Elizabeth Banks)
The undercover journalist graduates to TV newswoman, playing a bigger role as the season goes on when she investigates a government-hatched plan to purchase and destroy Camp Firewood. “It ups the ante of where we left her as a rock-n-roll reporter,” Wain says. “We have a lot of fun going down a rabbit hole in an All the President’s Men-type conspiracy to uncover exactly what’s going on with this plot to buy the camp.”
McKinley (Michael Ian Black)
The once-closeted McKinley married fellow counselor Ben (Bradley Cooper) in the film. But Cooper was unable to return to the series (he was shooting A Star is Born), and was replaced by Parks and Recreation‘s Adam Scott. The show addresses recasting Ben with Scott by saying the character got a nose job. “We made it an obvious, fun switch-out,” Wain says. Ben and McKinley are new dads when the series picks up, “but they get involved in this mystery with the nanny (Alyssa Milano) they bring with them, who seems at first to be very sweet and nice, but clearly has other intentions,” in a nod to ’90s thrillers The Hand That Rocks the Cradle and Single White Female.
Abby (Marisa Ryan)
The boy-crazy, fast-maturing camper is now a successful sex columnist. “We tried to think of things that felt specific to the time period, because Michael Showalter and I were in New York in the ’90s in our 20s, so we have very specific feelings about what that is,” Wain says. “The alternative weekly papers with the sex columns felt like a very ’90s thing, and very right for Abby.”
Beth (Janeane Garofalo)
The longtime camp director “was sort of the adult among the counselors at camp 10 years ago, so now she’s still there but ready to move on,” Wain says. “She feels like the spirit of Camp Firewood has been lacking” and makes the tough decision to sell the place “that has been her whole life.”