To say that Wet Hot American Summer: 10 Years Later took an interesting road to be created is a colossal understatement. Probably the epitome of the Netflix revival narrative, this season is a sequel series to a 16 year old independent movie which last year had a mirroring prequel series. Not to even mention the star studded cast that all (except Bradley Cooper) returned two times to reprise these goofy roles. Incredibly, it all works.
Where 10 Years Later picks up is just that, 10 years after the campers vowed to meet on the same stoop at Camp Firewood exactly a decade after the events of the movie. In a series filled with meta-humor, setting the series in the 90’s adds yet another level on top of it all. In the movie, these actors were 20 year olds playing elementary school kids. In the prequel series the same actors are still playing elementary school kids, in fact they are slightly younger. In 10 Years Later these actors are in the 40’s playing characters around the same age as when they were producing the movie originally.
Why this stuff works hits at the core of what makes this series so special. I feel like it taps into a kind of goofball comedy that just doesn’t work anymore. There are talking tin cans, characters reference the fact they are in a television show, people die and come back instantaneously. But it is all done with just enough of a wink and a nod that you understand they writers know exactly how ridiculous everything is. They are able to walk that fine line perfectly culminating in a fantastic season (maybe even series) finale