Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later – “Softball” Recap


There was a lot to like in the first episode of Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later, but the follow-up leaves something to be desired.

“Softball,” marks the return of Andy and the introduction to the overarching government conspiracy that revolves around Camp Firewood again.  While this episode isn’t nearly as fun as the premiere, there was still plenty to like despite spending a lot of time setting up the season-long crisis.

Paul Rudd is back sporting long hair and a goatee as camp hot-shot, Andy! It felt weird not seeing him in the premiere but makes sense that the series would want to dedicate more time to Andy’s arrival considering how beloved his character is. In a particularly amusing gag, it seems like Andy is doing donuts on a quad but is actually just double-fisting two baked goods while talking dirty to them.

“Softball,” also introduces Rudd’s main storyline which is his character’s rivalry with the current camp favorite, Jeremy “Deegs” Deegenstein (Skyler Gisondo). The two clash heads over a softball game which eventually leads to Deegs stealing home to score with Andy muttering a promise of vengeance against the young junior counselor.

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Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later also establishes another character as a bit more villainous than initially when Mark reveals he’s been cheating on Claire. Considering they were only introduced an episode ago, it’s hard to really care about what happens to their relationship. For now, this information seems to impact JJ the hardest, who’s struggling over which friend he should remain loyal to — Mark or Claire. Another romance is in trouble in “Softball,”: Garth’s and Susie’s with the two trying to keep themselves professional. Susie mainly because of the heartbreak she’s suffered throughout the series and Garth because he’s crazy about her but keeps getting rebuffed.

While everyone is dealing with their love lives, McKinley seems to be up against a psychotic nanny. Alyssa Milano is killing it as Renata, perfectly toying the line between friendly nanny and could-be murderer. After Claire takes McKinley walking through all the cliché nanny-horror tropes, it gets him thinking he might have one his hands. He makes a call to her agency where he finds that no one under her name is under employment there, but luckily she’s able to explain away this mistake by claiming she recently reverted back to her maiden name. The excuse is enough for Ben and McKinley apologizes by the end of “Softball,” but the Renata storyline is definitely not over yet.

The biggest letdown of “Softball,” is the life-or-death situation the camp is in once again. At this point, the large government conspiracy is a staple of the Wet Hot American franchise, but it’s a bit overdone at this point. Michael Showalter’s Ronald Reagan impersonation has lost its charm and Michael Ian Black’s take on George H.W. Bush can only be taken so far.

The idea that Reagan wants to nuke Camp Firewood and plans to purchase it from Beth to make it legal is a little too convoluted for the series and truthfully, this portion of the franchise has lost its novelty.

While the plot of “Softball,” leaves a lot to be desired, this installment of Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later, showcases why so many people fell in love with the series: the cast. Back in 2001 when the first movie debuted, it was full of extremely talented (and now famous) actors before most of them were well-known.

Next: Wet Hot American Summer: 10 Years Later: “Reunion” Recap

It’s great to see them all reunite for a ludicrous project such as this one, where it looks like they’re all having the time of their lives. Even now the franchise has managed to nab quite a few impressive up and comers such as Skyler Gisondo as Deegs, as well as Hailey Sole (Criminal Minds) and Thomas Barbusca (The Mick) from Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. Hopefully, if the franchise continues after this installment, it will be able to mix some more of the new with the original players.