YMMV / Wet Hot American Summer

  • Crowning Music of Awesome: The whole soundtrack and score, packed with cheesy, late-'70s-to-very-early-'80s hits, easily qualifies, but the true Crowning Music has to be the tailor-made '80s-movie-training-montage original song "Higher and Higher".
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Gene. Andy is certainly one too. And J.J., and....
    • As one reviewer put it "You don't just have a "favourite character" with this film. You have at least four."
  • Heartwarming Moments: Coop proclaiming his love for Katie in a passionate if nonsensical speech, and her running out on the talent show to return those feelings. If only it had lasted.
    • McKinley and Ben have a fair number of these.
      • Their wedding (which made Beth cry) and J.J. and Gary's subsequent acceptance of their friend's sexuality.
      • Their sex scene is surprisingly tender, especially since it could have easily just been another punchline.
      • After the performance of "Day by Day" in the talent show, they're the only people not booing the kids.
      • It didn't end up in the final cut, but originally, the flashforward to 1991 had a shot showing that they were still together and had a son. It's still visible in the making-of documentary Hurricane of Fun.
    • Sure, they've known each other all of one day, but Beth and Henry expecting a baby at the end of the movie is heartwarming in its own weird way.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Certain revelations in First Day of Camp add to the fun in a rewatch, like Lindsey being an adult who's undercover for a magazine article, and the talking can actually being real rather than part of Gene's weirdness.
  • Mood Whiplash: Aw, this'll be funny. Look, they're going into town, I wonder what hijinks they'll get into? Heh, heh, the director caught them smoking and then joins in! Oh, this is so cute. Ha ha, the dudes are smoking weed now! What scamps! They'd better not get caught. And look, he... just stole a woman's purse. And...knocked her down. Uh...now they're at a crack house and...oh dear god... It actually sets up how this movie will switch back and forth between a charming teen comedy in the vein of American Pie straight into Black Comedy crossed with a Zucker-style farce.
  • Values Dissonance: Parodied. The film features a gay wedding, which nobody finds odd or remarkable. In 1981. The two counselors who you think are going to bully the new couple actually go out and buy them a wedding gift from Crate & Barrel.
    • While it's arguably deliberate, the movie's gratuitous use of homophobic slurs like "dyke" and "fag" is still pretty shocking to a modern audience. This aspect is quietly done away with in First Day of Camp, which avoids having characters use slurs as insults.
  • The Woobie: Coop. He's a classic case of "nice guys finish last", especially at the very end.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Bradley Cooper gets this to the point that in the sequel his involvement is drawing a lot of attention.
    • Really, almost the entire cast is this to some degree. The Other Wiki even makes a point of mentioning that the film is notable specifically because so many of its stars are now extremely famous and successful.