David Wain and Michael Showalter’s hysterical cult smash “Wet Hot American Summer” is bringing all the kids back to camp in an eight-episode limited series via Netflix. Deadline broke the news, stating reports that virtually the entire cast would be returning.
That means Elizabeth Banks, H. Jon Benjamin, Michael Ian Black, Bradley Cooper, Judah Friedlander, Janeane Garofalo, Nina Hellman, Ken Marino, Zak Orth, David Hyde Pierce, Joe LoTruglio, Christopher Meloni, A.D. Miles, Marguerite Moreau, Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd, Marisa Ryan, Molly Shannon, Michael Showalter and Kevin Sussman are all set for one more trip to Camp Firewood. Wain and Showalter have written the series and production is already underway with Wain again in the director’s chair.
But is this really what we want?
Everyone remembers what happened the last time Netflix revived an American comedy classic. After years of buildup, with rumors and secrets flying around faster Gob’s magic dove, “Arrested Development” returned for a fourth season… and it wasn’t the same. Whether you liked it or not (and it seems like most people skew toward the latter), “Arrested Development” Season 4 was a whole other beast compared to what came before.
Why? Because its now famous stars couldn’t get together and shoot the series at the same time. Their schedules were too packed to allow for every one of the in-demand cast members to be in the same room at the same time or available throughout a 90-day shoot, resulting in the off-putting or revolutionary season-structuring (depending on who you ask) where a new member of the ensemble was asked to take on lead role responsibilities every episode. (Even group scenes featuring the ensemble were often cobbled together using green screen.)
Is “Wet Hot American Summer” doomed to a similar fate? Netflix has not confirmed the series’ existence, let alone told us who will appear in how many episodes (we’ve reached out for comment), so it’s too early to hit the panic button. David Wain and Michael Showalter’s brilliant film was, after all, just that. A film. The notion of its characters existing in the world of television is still a new one, allowing for more experimentation than a series recreating itself — and hopefully better results.
Yet one has to wonder how much time Paul Rudd, Marvel’s newest superhero, will have to spend in Camp Firewood right now. And what about Amy Poehler, who just published a book, wrapped “Parks and Recreation,” and is, presumably, prepping as we speak for her final tour as co-host of the Golden Globes? Bradley Cooper is under a similar time crunch given his Oscar campaign for “American Sniper,” as well as his eagerness to return to voiceover work for yet another Marvel movie.
These three were merely a part of a larger pie for the first go ’round, but even some of the unknown faces from the film have ascended to C- or B-level stardom. Christopher Meloni and Ken Marino have their own shows now. Even if they have time to shoot all the scenes Wain and Showalter have dreamt up for them, will these supporting players be the same without support of their own?
Change may be on the horizon, but at least we can all rest of assured of one thing: For better or worse, it looks like we’ll at least get to see how this all plays out.