Review: WHAS First Day of Camp ‘Electro/City’

“Katie, remember when I farted on you and you fell in love with me?” -Andy

As night falls on Camp Firewood, it’s finally time for the opening night staff musical performance of Electro City and as the camp all filters into the theater for the performance many of the storylines converge. The love triangles of Andy, Katie and Blake; Coop, Yaron and Donna; McKinley, Ben and Susie and Kevin, Drew and Amy all play out as the staff members wow the crowd with the smash Broadway hit.

Like all things Wet Hot, the show and its premise – about a country guy who moves the city to be a star and gets sent to the electric chair for a crime he didn’t commit – are ridiculous but the performance is actually quite incredible. McKinley and Ben’s performance sharing the zoot suit leads to their first kiss and Ben and Susie coming and clean about how they’ve each cheated on their relationship. Their conversation is pretty great – they say what happened at the same time and Ben says he thought Claude was gay and Susie that he thought McKinley was straight. They break up amicably in the end and agree to still be friends. “I had no idea until I put on the zoot suit,” Ben (Bradley Cooper) tells Susie (Amy Poehler) backstage about falling in love with McKinley (Michael Ian Black).

Katie (Marguerite Moreau) and Andy (Paul Rudd) fight onstage before making a connection they both deny for the big kiss scene in the finale while Blake drinks himself stupid at the Camp Tigerclaw formal or Tiger Form as they like to call it there. Coop’s issues with Donna mirror that of his young camper as they both fight off the advances of the other guy trying to move in on their territory. While the Coop (Michael Showalter) and Donna (Lake Bell) love story has been one of the more annoying storylines in the show, I can’t help but relate to the feeling both Coop and Kevin have as quote unquote nice guys at camp. As silly as this show is, that seems to ring true with the real experiences I had with girls during my camp years.

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The other love triangle explored at the performance is the one between Gail, Jonas/Gene (Christopher Meloni) and Jeff (Randall Park). Gail (Molly Shannon) and Jeff show up for their first date as a married couple and as a couple at all and Gene seems more comfortable in his own skin with his new look – he’s probably the most excited of everyone in the audience. But Gail and Jeff’s relationship doesn’t even make it past intermission. “I just feel like I’m not really ready for this,” Gail tells Jeff.

Love is also in the air in the broken down cabin as Lindsay pays Eric (Chris Pine) another visit and sparks fly. Heeding the warning from her editor about not getting too close to the story Lindsay leaves just as Eric seems to have figured out the song he’s been working on all these years. Meanwhile, in Waterville, Jim Stansel (Michael Cera) goes head to head with the Xenstar lawyers and wins the case when McKinley’s robotic brother Steve (Kevin Sussman) shows up with a huge floppy disk full of evidence against Xenstar. But disaster strikes when Greg and Jim, who is basking in the glory of his victory and taking questions from reporters, are assassinated by The Falcon. “You saved the camp, now save the can,” Greg (Jason Schwartzman) tells Beth (Janeane Garofolo) with his final words.

I’ve heard other reviewers call this sixth episode of the series the best of the bunch and it’s not hard to see why. Electro City might just be the best fictional Broadway show since my personal favorite Zoo Animals on Wheels from Get A Life and the way the characters, the music (both of the original and classic variety) and storylines converge is comically brilliant. If the Wet Hot American Summer prequel had been nothing but a performance of Electro City it would have been worth the price of admission (I’ll have to check my credit card statement to see how much I paying these days for Netflix). I liked the series before the sixth episode, but now I’m absolutely hooked.

-Lindsay (Elizabeth Banks) calls proto-punk the “past, present and future of music”

-Xenstar’s lawyer uses an iPhone to contact the president and re-mobilize The Falcon. When Greg notices him on the phone, he asks what that metal thing is in his hand. “Oh nothing, nevermind” the lawyer says, putting it back in his coat pocket.

-Kristen Wiig makes another cameo in the episode as looking for love Courtney. Watching the performance with the other Tigerclaw campers through binoculars, she’s exasperated at the end. “Oh my god, Electro City is such a cruel place to live.”

-Jeff, the city records clerk and Gail’s now ex-husband, isn’t the only person in a TV show whose middle name and first name are the same. Sue Heck’s middle name on The Middle is Sue.

Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I'm the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at Tangzine.com and MatthewRalph.com. I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.

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