“A couple hockey players come up to the produce stand the other day...”
About a year and a half ago, I was over at my parents’ house, and my dad(of all people) brought up YouTube on his phone, and told me I needed to watch a video he had discovered. In it, two hockey players drive up to the spillway in front of a produce stand, and get into a verbal altercation with its proprietors. The barbs were quick, dirty, and positively hysterical.
I learned shortly thereafter that there were three seasons of this show, and it was called Letterkenny. At the time, it was only available on the Crave network out of Canada, a subscription-based streaming service, so unlike previous times where my proximity to Canada has provided me with viewing opportunities non-border states don’t get, this time I was going to have to work a little harder. I found the Facebook page, as well as a fan-run page that I’ve found to be an amusing little community. Each season was dropping six episodes at a time; on Canada Day and Christmas.
Fortunately for my continued sanity, just in time for the show’s sixth season, Hulu picked up the rights to distribute it in the United States. This enables me to be able to share this amazingly funny, low-key Canadian gem with anyone who cares to read this post.
“How are ya now?”
“Good, ‘n you?”
“Not so bad.”
Letterkenny is conceived of and written by Jared Keeso and Jacob Tierney, and features the “problems” of the population of a small Canadian town in Ontario, which is introduced at the start of each episode as a home to hicks, skids, hockey players, and Christians. In more recent seasons, this got pared down to just saying “There are 5000 people in Letterkenny. These are their problems.”
The show follows the shenanigans of Wayne(Keeso), his sister Katy(Michelle Mylett), and friends Darryl aka Derry(Nathan Dales), and Squirrely Dan(K. Trevor Wilson). Wayne is the toughest guy in Letterkenny, and doesn’t suffer fools lightly, eliciting a firm “Hard no!” when someone suggests something he doesn’t care for.
The four principal stars expertly exchange banter on everything. Liquor bottle on the table? “Better to be lookin’ at it than lookin’ for it.” Tracking algorithms for a Letterkenny version of Facebook? “It’s too complicated. It’s like algebra. Why you gotta put letters and numbers together? Why can’t you just go fuck yourself?” Traditions? “You don’t mess with tradition.”
Adding to the mix are the Skids, a crew of goth-type meth dealers, the hockey players, who are always going on about their ability to smash snipes(sex with beautiful women), their hot tempered coach, the mumbling McMurray and his drunken wife, and the ultra-horny bar owner Gail. Tierney turns up periodically as Glen, who is unabashedly attracted to Wayne.
“Pitter patter, let’s get at ‘er.”
This is not a show that the AV Club would spend a lot of time dissecting the various arcs of. Its runtime is barely 22 minutes, and it is not designed to carry plotlines across episodes or seasons. It is meant to do a standard sitcom thing: present a situation, put the characters in it, and have them react according to their personalities. And each time, these scenarios are replete with the incredibly fast-paced dialogue like you see in the embedded clip.
Letterkenny is also one of the more woke shows I’ve ever watched. The men of LK support women’s rights without batting an eyelash, and the entire town turns out for a gay wedding in season 5. When Hard Right Jay(guest star Jay Baruchel) turns up in season 5, spoiling for a fight because the local soccer team is being renamed, he and his friends get turned aside by Wayne and the others.
“That’s what I’s appreciates abouts yous, Miss Katys.”
“Is that what you appreciate about me?”
It’s incredibly rare to see a sitcom-type show that doesn’t go out of its way to mock its characters like The Big Bang Theory does. They may not all get along, but sometimes they do. Wayne does not use his reputation as a method to push anyone around; he will help the Skids and the hockey players with their problems, regardless of whether he thinks highly of them or not, but if the Degens from Up-Country come around, they are going to receive a beating they won’t soon forget. But as a testament to the Wayne character, it will be administered in a fair fashion.
“Give your balls a tug!”
You heard the man, get on Hulu now and watch this show. And put the kids to bed.