Wet Hot American Summer Characters: Movie Versus TV Series

Aubry D'Arminio

Netflix

We met the characters of on their last day of camp in the 2001 movie; now, the Netflix prequel series reveals what happened on their first day.

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Beth (Janeane Garofalo)

Last Day of Camp (Movie): When we met Beth in the 2001 movie, the hippie camp director awkwardly sparked up a relationship with tightly wound academic Henry Newman (David Hyde Pierce) by researching astrophysics and asking Katie (Marguerite Moreau) for beauty tips.
First Day of Camp (TV Series): Turns out Beth didn't arrive as the camp's boss; in the Netflix prequel, we learn she started out the summer as the paramour of the original director, Mitch (H. Jon Benjamin). How’d she end up single and doing his job? It’s complicated, and has a lot to do with a talking can of mixed vegetables.

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Henry (David Hyde Pierce)

Last Day of Camp (Movie): The astrophysicist, who was vacationing in a cabin nearby, caught Beth’s eye. He led the camp nerds in science experiments to win her favor, and along the way devised a plan to prevent a falling piece of NASA’s Skylab from decimating Camp Firewood. So, win-win for her!
First Day of Camp (TV Series): Henry, a disgruntled associate professor at Thomas College. was forced to take a leave of absence after completely freaking out (rightfully so) on his boss. Hence, his vacation.

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The Talking Can of Mixed Vegetables (H. Jon Benjamin)

Last Day of Camp (Movie): The chatty canned good counseled Camp Firewood’s Vietnam-scarred cook, Gene (Christopher Meloni). Was it a PTSD hallucination?
First Day of Camp (TV Series): Nope, he started the summer as a human! And the camp director Mitch! Then, because of some nefarious goings on in the woods, Mitch transformed into a can.

Wet Hot American Summer Gene Jonas

Netflix

Gene (Christopher Meloni)

Last Day of Camp (Movie):The camp cook and slightly unhinged war vet had a difficult time keeping it together—or cooking anything edible.
First Day of Camp (TV Series): Dressed in soft pastels and going by Jonas, he started out as friendly and straight-laced -- and engaged to arts and crafts counselor Gail (Molly Shannon)! We learn what prompted his transformation (and why he won't let Victor (Ken Marino) have any potatoes.)

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Gail (Molly Shannon)

Last Day of Camp (Movie): Betrayed by her ex-husband Ron (Judah Friedlander), the arts and crafts teacher got love and life advice from her preteen campers between emotional meltdowns.
First Day of Camp (TV Series): Gail began the summer happy, glowing and engaged to camp chef Gene/Jonas. They even wore matching outfits!

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Coop (Michael Showalter)

Last Day of Camp (Movie): Nice guy Coop had the hots for pretty fellow counselor Katie (Marguerite Moreau), who was stringing him along despite her boyfriend, camp bad boy Andy (Paul Rudd).
First Day of Camp (TV Series): Coop had the hots for pretty fellow counselor Donna (new addition Lake Bell), who was stringing him along despite her interest in the camp's new Israeli soccer coach (David Wain).

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Katie (Marguerite Moreau)

Last Day of Camp (Movie): Beloved by Coop, counselor Katie was dating jerk lifeguard Andy (Paul Rudd), who committed innumerable relationship sins.
First Day of Camp (TV Series): Formerly a braces-wearing ugly duckling, Katie arrived that summer as a lip-glossed swan with a boyfriend, Blake (newbie Josh Charles), from Firewood’s posh rival, Camp Fire Claw. (They have jet skis and veal scallopini! )

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Andy (Paul Rudd)

Last Day of Camp (Movie):The handsome, if greasy, lifeguard was self-centered, rude and terrible at his job.
First Day of Camp (TV Series): The handsome, if greasy, lifeguard was self-centered, rude, and terrible at his job. But his crush on Katie prompted some surprising cracks in his too-cool-for-it-all facade.

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Lindsay (Elizabeth Banks)

Last Day of Camp (Movie): The sexy counselor was hot-to-trot for Andy and didn't seem to care when food was all over her face.
First Day of Camp (TV Series): Let’s just say that Lindsay was new to Camp Firewood and arrived with a secret that probably made most of the things she got up to later that summer punishable by law. And she still didn't care about using a napkin.

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Abby (Marisa Ryan)

Last Day of Camp (Movie):Oversexed counselor Abby made Lindsay look like a preteen virgin.
First Day of Camp (TV Series): She was a boy-hating preteen virgin.

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Victor Pulak (Ken Marino)

Last Day of Camp (Movie):The blowhard counselor who bragged about his conquests was zero percent as sexually experienced as he pretended to be and did whatever he could to get freaky with Abby.
First Day of Camp (TV Series): Victor and Neil (Joe Lo Truglio) bet on who would get laid first that summer and made some ill-advised prank calls.

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Neil (Joe Lo Truglio)

Last Day of Camp (Movie):While rafting with six male campers, Neil realized that Victor (who ditched them for Abby) was the superior navigator. So he went chasing after him—leaving the boys in the raft, floating down the river, all alone.
First Day of Camp (TV Series): Neil prepared for a visit from his high school girlfriend, to whom he hoped to lose his virginity.

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Susie (Amy Poehler)

Last Day of Camp (Movie): The high-strung theater geek struggled to direct and choreograph a rendition of Godspell's "Day by Day" for the camp talent show and played the flute at Ben's (Bradley Cooper) wedding to McKinley (Michael Ian Black).
First Day of Camp (TV Series): Susie couldn't understand boyfriend Ben's (Bradley Cooper) reluctance to get physical. The two brought in a fancy New York act-TOR (John Slattery) to help them put on an elaborate musical for the first day of camp; the former-understudy-in-the-theatrical-company-of-a-Broadway-play-you've-never-heard-of took a keen interest her.

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Ben (Bradley Cooper)

Last Day of Camp (Movie): Polo-shirted Ben wanted to produce the best version of Godspell's "Day by Day" ever for the end-of-camp talent show—when he wasn't busy hooking up with husband-to-be McKinley (Michael Ian Black) in the storage shed.
First Day of Camp (TV Series): Ben wanted to produce the best first-day-of-camp play ever with his girlfriend, Susie—when he wasn't busy dodging her attempted PDAs.

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McKinley (Michael Ian Black)

Last Day of Camp (Movie): Short-shorted counselor McKinley married Ben in a hippy-dippy lakeside ceremony and tried to convince unwashed campers to finally take a shower.
First Day of Camp (TV Series):In equally short shorts, McKinley flirted with closeted drama nerd Ben and discovered a secluded storage shed.

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By Aubry D'Arminio

Fourteen years ago, cult film Wet Hot American Summer introduced us to the denizens of Maine’s fictional Camp Firewood on their last day of camp in August 1981. Netflix’s new six-episode prequel series, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, shows us what they were like at the beginning of the summer two months earlier. You know, before they did all that making out in the woods. We did a little comparing in the slideshow above.