For fans of the original Wet Hot American Summer, one of the most satisfying parts of the new star-studded Netflix sequel is seeing that lowly line cook Gary (played by A.D. Miles) has blossomed into a hot shot Manhattan chef. His days of working under jittery, fridge-humping weirdo Gene are over, and now Gary is doing things like adding bits of parsley to finished plates of haute cuisine and telling waiters that “presentation is everything.” Most of the other Camp Firewood team members are either pretty much in the same places they were a decade ago, or headed down fresh, wrong paths. But Gary has really made a name for himself, and he seems comfortable and happy with his success.
In one very special moment of the Camp Firewood reunion, Gary gets to show his cronies that he knows his way around the kitchen. The chef can now chop egg shells, juggle onions, and spin around the kitchen on his heels all without missing a beat.
“We’re calling this culinary adventure ‘An Afternoon at Camp,’” Gary explains as he drops two plates of food on the mess hall table. One of them is a “play on the classic American mac and cheese,” and the other is a “deconstructed mac and cheese,” prepared with “house-made macaroni, and four varietals of artisanal cheeses.” Before his friends dig in, Gary also remarks: “I really enjoyed preparing these bright, bold flavors for you today. And my food is my heart; my heart is my food. So dig in — or as they say in parts of France, bon appetit.”
The meal is a hit and (spoiler alert) by the end of the week, Gary opens his own restaurant with his Camp Firewood friends called Firewood Grille:
The series wraps up with all the main characters eating at Gary’s new Tribeca boîte, where one of the specialties is “demi-glazed panna cotta.” In the middle of the meal, Gary’s old pal J.J. (Zach Orth) comes in the door with a paper and tells the crowd: “The New York Times food critic review is in. He says ‘very delicious.’ Write-ups like these are very rare — they are reserved for the best of the best.” Gary has finally arrived.
Like 2015’s First Day of Camp, Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Year Later is another unusual addition the Netflix comedy catalog, for certain. But if you’re a fan of oddball sketch comedy and sly winks at ’90s pop culture — like Gary’s tres gourmet Manhattan restaurant — it’s a trip worth taking.
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