living in: wet hot american summer


Even thought it’s not technically summer yet, a few days with temps in the upper 80s along with an annual viewing of Wet Hot American Summer have me convinced otherwise. My days at camp weren’t nearly half as raucous, bawdy or hilarious- facts not surprising since we didn’t have Janeane Garofalo, Molly Shannon, Amy Poehler or David Hyde Peirce for counselors. A lot of it rings true though, the nerdy kids, the cool kids, the nerdy counselors and cool counselors all running around under big cloud of bug spray.

1. Starlight globe, $63; 2. Risky Business glasses, $14; 3. God’s eye kit to make 25, $18; 4. Pocket knife, $12; 5. Pendleton towel, $49; 6. Celestron telescope, $210; 7. Bottle opener, $11; 8. Friendship bracelet patterns;  9. Cast iron fire bowl, $318; 10. Rainbow suspenders, $10.

An outdoorsy summer camp in 1981 doesn’t sound like such a bad place to be right now, especially if you skip the hot counselor look and go straight for the geek chic. Classic camping gear, handmade friendship bracelets, a roaring bonfire and a swig or two from a forbidden flask? Sounds like the perfect way to start off summer to me.

1. Sangean portable radio, $69; 2. Airmail envelopes, $7; 3. Clifton ringer tee shirt, $20; 4. Nickle whistle, $2; 5. Striped gym socks, $8; 6. Coleman lantern, $105; 7. Coleman steel cooler, $160; 8. French deck chair, $140; 9. Stanley flask, $20; 10. Balsam fir incense, $8.

  1. Rachael says:

    What, no gurnal recommendations?!

    Just kidding, this is great.

  2. Love love that movie. My summer camp days were actually nearly as wacky.

  3. MOXIELisa says:

    I am so missing out because I have never seen this movie…definitely gotta check it out.

  4. Katie says:


    I wish Molly Shannon taught my summer camp arts and crafts classes. <3

  5. Lizzy says:

    I’ve been trying to live in this movie for years! So wonderful – thank you!

  6. Sofia says:

    One of my all-time favorite comedies! Your picks made this indoor kid want to go to camp!

  7. Liz says:

    I LOVE this movie! Working at a summer camp for years meant we’d gather to watch it at the start of each season. It’s amazing how each character is totally represented in our real-life camp environment. Thanks for bringing out the style in this hysterical movie :)

  8. dani says:

    “You taste like a burger. I don’t like you anymore.”
    LOVE this movie!!

  9. yes! such a classic, hilarious movie.

  10. Marlena says:

    This made my day! This is one my all-time favorite movies. Fun!

  11. cath says:

    Can you believe I JUST saw this movie for the very first time last weekend?! I’m embarrassingly behind on movie watching. It was awesome, of course. Extra awesome now seeing this great “homage” post!

  12. Erica says:

    I’m dying because I just watched this last night! Its like you read my mind!

  13. Kimberly says:

    OMG, this is awesome! My friend Jill was a producer on this movie (she’s now a lawyer)! I will have to tell her the film was featured here.

  14. reeve says:

    love this movie! I might have to get that clifton tshirt;)

  15. cassie says:

    YES! considering i am a former camp counselor, i have a very specific love for everything in this movie. but shame on you for making me miss camp even more than i am (today is check in)! favorite part: when they go into town. i know how important those trips to town can be!

  16. Lindsey says:

    I need those rainbow suspenders and I need them now!

  17. Jessica says:

    um yeah, this just made my oh-so-drab workday:) Love this!!

  18. Sarah says:

    “Bring a lot of movement clothes aka jazz shoes, dance belts, lycras, et al. And seriously, fyi you guys, this is not an excuse to get out of your normal activities. This is an excuse to do some good musical theatre. So be prepared, be enthusiastic, and keep your bs attitude and baggage at the door because we don’t need it!”

    Favorite Quote from this movie! I LOVE it! Well picked for summer. DS

  19. Stephanie says:

    “Don’t tell me, oh don’t tell me, don’t even tell me you have crabs!”


  20. Perfect “Living In” to start off summer.

  21. Cez says:

    sounds to be a great movie!!! can’t wait to see it!!!! Summer is here…

  22. This post totally speaks to me. So funny! Am I the only person alive that actually likes God’s Eyes??

    I was always the big girl at camp (and gym class) that could never fit my tube socks over my calves.

    Things never change. *sigh*


  23. Jeff says:

    I just watched this yesterday as a roommate bonding activity. Perfect.

  24. tessa says:

    Just watched this movie last week for the first time! Love the pics :)

  25. Lizet Zuniga says:

    Just applied for a ceramic teaching job at a summer camp…this is what it will look like. hahaha! Now I have to watch this movie.

  26. Megan says:

    “Wait for me, Abby Bernstein! Wait for me my love!” This movie is so under-appreciated. Thanks for doing a “Living In…” segment on it. :)

    Love the redesign, by the by. This blog is a fabulous part of the interwebs.

  27. dina says:

    I’m gonna dress like Michael Ian Black all summer.

  28. LOVE those rainbow suspenders! Too cute!

  29. I have never seen Wet Hot American Summer, but I am going to run off and watch it right away on Netflix. =D The comments look splendid!

  30. zelina says:

    I have to check this movie out. great post!

  31. Joanna says:

    Good one, Beth

  32. jennifer w. says:

    Another must have – a Turk’s Head bracelet :)

  33. Margaret says:

    “There were two epidemics when I went to camp — head lice and the Plague, the Bubonic Plague!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    LOL Best. Movie. Ever.

    So glad you did this “Living In”!

  34. Katie says:

    I’ve not seen it but it’s definitely on the list.

    My summertime films include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and The Long, Hot Summer.

  35. Andy says:

    Hey JJ! Save me a waffle!

  36. Papreeka says:

    Oh No! What’s happened to Design Sponge? Too many ads detracting from the contents. :-( Not trying to offend, just lamenting the old layout.

    1. Grace Bonney says:

      papreeka (and everyone else)

      we only have 2 new ad units on the site. just wanted to clear that up. i think the new leaderboard ad at the top is making everyone think the number has drastically changed, but i want to reiterate that it has not. we have 2 new units and that’s it. and the right column is now no longer JUST ads, it now houses actual content, as opposed to just being ads before. so i’m hoping that as the new design sinks in you’ll notice that we’ve put a lot of work into making sure no section of the site is “just” ads, but instead holds interesting content and valuable editorial tools.


  37. Caroline says:

    “What? Its just barbecue sauce!”
    Best movie EVAH!
    “Hey Guys……”

  38. Jene' says:

    I love this movie! So cute, love what items you picked

  39. Katie says:

    This is definitely one of my favorite movies ever! So glad to see this post, and I enjoyed reading all the quotes in the comments section. This made my workday afternoon a bit brighter :)

  40. Jamie says:

    I was inspired by this post to watch this movie last night (never even heard of it and considering the cast I was surprised!) but I was sadly disappointed in it (again, considering the cast, I was surprised). It was more weird than funny, corny rather than cool. I was expecting something in the nostalgic, hilarious realm of Dazed and Confused and it just wasn’t… the hubs didn’t think so either. But according to the comments here we are the only ones with this opinion lol!

  41. Alice Baxley says:

    oh YESSSSSSS love this movie! such items that totally goes with it. Love this post!

  42. maddie says:

    YES! YES! YES!

  43. Kellye says:

    Aaah! Love love love this movie! It’s available to “watch instantly” on Netflix now!! Great post D*S!

  44. BEST “Living In” EVER!!!! Seriously, this is amazing. I love this movie and you’ve captured it’s quirky 70s awesomeness perfectly. Well Played Ladies! Well Played.

  45. Cattyinqueens says:

    I love this movie too. And so many people in it that are just awesome, Amy Poehler, Chris Meloni, Michael Ian Black (who MARRIES BRADLEY COOPER IN IT!!!), ELizabeth Banks, of burger-tasting-like fame, and Paul Rudd, who is just a gem in it. But also, Michael Ian Black and Bradley Cooper get married in it! Did I mention that?

  46. Bev Weidner says:

    One of my ALL time favorite movies!

    “We’ll be in our late 20s by then, so let’s make it our beeswax to be here. Besides, I have something at 11 and I’ve already changed it twice.”



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