Review: WHAS First Day of Camp ‘Staff Party’

“These people are my friends. I’ve known them for twelve hours.” -Lindsay

It’s 10 p.m. at Camp Firewood, which means party time for the staff at the Round House. It’s also a chance for Ben, aka DJ Ski Mask (Bradley Cooper couldn’t make it to the party) and McKinley (Michael Ian Black) to have their first date and for Neil (Joe Lo Truglio) and Victor (Ken Marino) to make good on their Little Darlings Virgin date. 

Neil’s girlfriend Shari (Beth Dover) comes to visit and for a reason that’s not explained they are dressed like they’re going to prom. Neil is nervous about introducing Shari to his camp friends and vice versa but things seem to go pretty well. That is until JJ puts his finger on his nose and everyone, Neil included, follows suit leaving Shari the only person in the Round House without her finger on her nose. The joke on her is that everyone starts a chant calling her a pig, which prompts her to run away. 

Victor doesn’t fare much better when Rhonda (Michaela Watkins) agrees to meet him at his bunk. He goes to the Meadow General Store The Falcon (Jon Hamm) burned down in the fourth episode to get protection and ends up having a hilarious encounter that reminds me of the drug store scene in the 1987 movie Amazon Women on the Moon. He gets called a pervert by another customer for buying a keychain, one of many items he grabs from the counter to buy because he’s so nervous about buying condoms. The gag is especially funny because for all of his bravado, Victor is truly pathetic with the ladies, even with a girl like Rhonda who throws herself at him and agrees to tell everyone they did the deed because she likes to “appear unstable.”

Victor’s scenes aren’t the only ones that amplify the raunchy after hours nature of the episode. Coop (Michael Showalter), Donna (Lake Bell) and Yaron’s love triangle gets even stranger when Yaron (David Wain) claims that a threesome would represent the true meaning of a kibbutz. It’s all too much for Coop to handle and his eyes are finally opened to how stupid Donna is making him look and feel. Though I’ve cringed at this particular storyline from the beginning of the series, seeing Coop finally stand up for himself was quite a rewarding payoff.

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Kevin’s rejection during a game of 7 minutes in heaven back in the cabins was much harsher. After Abby (Marisa Ryan) gets her time with Kyle (Isaak Pressley), who surprisingly does not turn into a 40-year-old afterward, Kevin (David Bloom) thinks he has a chance to go into the closet with Amy (Hailey Sole) only to have Drew (Thomas Barbusca) step in yet again and steal his spot. Before Drew and Amy get their seven minutes alone, Kevin lets his feelings spill out and pours it on way too thick when he goes down on one knee to ask Amy out. The speech doesn’t move her. She likes him, but not like that. Cue heartbreak. 

JJ and a group of staff members who catch Lindsay trying to sneak out of camp aren’t moved by her speech either. It turns out, one of Nancy’s old friends from nursing school is now a typesetter at Rock & Roll World magazine and he faxes a copy of Lindsay’s article about Camp Firewood. JJ, Nancy and everyone else are immediately outraged, that she lied about who she really was and wrote a “gonzo” article about them. “Friends don’t pretend they’re not music journalists and then write stories in major national print magazines,” Jeremy, aka “you” (Dan Klein) says before the group, who are never shown actually hanging out with campers, leaves in a huff.

Overhearing the conversation, Eric (Chris Pine) runs over to express his anger with Lindsay too and then returns to his cabin to tear up all of the tapes of the song she inspired him to finally finish.

While Lindsay and Eric’s flame burns out, Andy (Paul Rudd) and Katie (Marguerite Moreau) rediscover theirs and end the night with their trademark licking each other’s faces make out sesh. Blake (Josh Charles), who is still watching from across the lake through his binoculars instead of participating in Tiger Form, loses it when he sees the kiss and fires up his fellow staffers with a speech about how Camp Firewood is “desecrating our values, stealing our women and putting into peril the code of honor that we at Tiger Claw have worked so hard to establish.”

Blake leads the group in a chant of Tiger Claw that changes to Traeger Clow right before the credits roll, setting up a dramatic finale that will likely involve an angry mob of preppy Tiger Claw counselors attacking the miscreants across the lake.

Notes:

-When the episode opens, campers are seen scurrying along to cabins of the opposite sex in a call forward to the last day of camp in the movie when all of the campers rush to return to their bunks in the morning.

-The actor who plays Arty (George Dalton) gets a chance to use his own voice when he asks McKinley to give him 10 more minutes. When he’s talking in the microphone his voice is Samm Levine’s.

-Victor makes a subtle reference to Louie, a character Marino played in The State, when he says he has “only so many balls to pass around.” Later, you can hear Marino yell Louie’s catch phrase “I wanna dip my balls in it” in the background while Neil is talking to his girlfriend.

-Lindsay’s article for Rock & Roll World Magazine is titled Camp Firewood: More Summer than you Bargained For.

-When Lindsay transposes the article over the phone, she references Weird Al Yankovic, who plays hypnotist Jackie Brazen in the “Auditions” episode.

-The song the counselors all sing together in the Round House is an original song written for the movie by Craig Wedren called “I Am A Wolf, You Are the Moon.” The song doesn’t sound at all like anything that would have been sung in 1981, but it’s catchy nonetheless.

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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