Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later

TV review by
Jenny Nixon, Common Sense Media
Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later TV Poster Image
Goofy, nostalgia-driven comedy is weirder and weaker.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The campers are friends, but silliness overpowers any actual messages here. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

These characters are strictly meant to inspire laughs -- nothing more.

Violence

There are several fight scenes, mostly very cartoonish and ridiculous (one man gets into a tussle with a talking can of vegetables). Punches are thrown, kicks land in groins, and necks are snapped, but it's all done in a slapstick way.

Sex

No nudity, but lots and lots of graphic sex talk, and some simulated sex happens -- a threesome, with all the participants wearing clothing and masks. 

Language

Tons of swearing, including "f--k" and "s--t," and some explicitly colorful euphemisms for sex acts and body parts are employed.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later is a continuation of the 2001 cult comedy movie Wet Hot American Summer. The first two installments of the franchise focused on parodying 1980s teen sex comedies like Meatballs and Little Darlings, whereas Ten Years Later is set in 1991 and references flicks like The Big Chill, The Hand that Rocks the Cradle, and Singles. Though there's no nudity, sexual situations and references are abundant, and the dialogue is generously peppered with F-bombs. There's slapstick violence as well. Teens who like absurd comedy may enjoy it, but sticking to the movie is really viewers' best bet here. 

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What's the story?

The cult fave comedy film Wet Hot American Summer (2001) chronicles the last day at summer camp for a group of randy junior counselors in 1981 Maine. WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER: TEN YEARS LATER picks up as the crew (now in their 20s) gathers for a long-awaited reunion at Camp Firewood. Once again the camp is in danger of closing, thanks to a secret government conspiracy involving nuclear warheads, Ronald Reagan, and maybe even those preppy jerks across the lake at Camp Tigerclaw. The reunited pals catch up on each other's lives -- bonding over their baby, relationship, and career troubles -- while trying to pull Camp Firewood back from the brink of ruin one last time.

Is it any good?

With a feature film and now 16 television episodes under it's proverbial belt, it's safe to say the well has run dry on this particular franchise. The original Wet Hot movie was a bomb back in 2001, yet became a cult classic -- not only because it was an absurdist parody of 1980s teen sex comedies, but in part because it gave us an early peek at an ensemble cast that nearly all went on to do big things in Hollywood. The cast then reunited 14 years later for the prequel series, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day at Camp. Reassembling stars like Amy Poehler, Elizabeth Banks, Bradley Cooper, and Paul Rudd (now in their 40s) and having them reprise their roles as teenagers had an inherent humor and curiosity factor that helped buoy the series' duller moments. But to now return to Camp Firewood for a third time, for a series with the same basic plot as the last one (the camp is in danger ... again) just feels repetitive and indulgent. As intentionally and charmingly dumb as the movie and previous series were, there were still some kinda-sweet relationships you rooted for that kept things just a tiny bit grounded, and of course the cast is talented -- but this time around, Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later buckles under the weight of far too many special guest stars and pointless subplots. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about movies and shows other than Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later that have spawned continuations and spin-offs. Do these spin-offs usually add to or detract from your enjoyment of the original?

  • This show references a bunch of movies from the 1990s. What do you think it's trying to say about the films it parodies? 

TV details

For kids who love silly comedy

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