<em>Letterkenny</em> is a 2016 CraveTV exclusive about the problems the residents of the fictional rural Ontario town Letterkenny. The main characters are Wayne and Daryl, two farmers who drink beer, sit around selling produce, and interact with other residents. </p>
You may have heard of Letterkenny via a YouTube video from 2013 that was pretty popular. I knew about that video, but I didn’t know it was turned into a show until very recently, when I watched a compilation of “Best of Letterkenny Season 1.” Talk about an understatement.
Letterkenny chronicles the day-to-day bullshit Wayne and his crew have to deal with. Episode one details how, due to a recent breakup with longtime girlfriend Angie, Wayne has to re-claim his former status as toughest guy in town. Episode two is the Farmers’ group (Wayne, Daryl, Wayne’s sister Katy, and friend of the group Squirrely Dan) celebrating Daryl’s birthday, only for it to get interrupted by guys wanting to fight Wayne, since he became the toughest guy in town one episode prior. So, while there is nothing driving the plot, it is a continuous narrative.
Letterkenny is very Canadian, but not a lot of city people are going to get it. I’m from a small town (approximately 10,000 people last I checked), but even I am not as rural as this show. I think I finally understand that old stereotype of Canadians’ speaking utter nonsense because some of the terminology used in the show is CRAZY. I did recognize some terms, like the classic “dart” or “wheeling,” as well as some hockey terms, but damn some of this other stuff is on another level.
There is a lot of good comedy in Letterkenny, and it comes at a quick pace. Most of the characters speak very fast, since that is the rural Ontario way of speaking, so the jokes are basically rapid-fire. There are a lot of pseudo-running gags, such as Squirrely Dan “appreciating” Katy, but it’s not quite the same as in other comedy shows. The are a lot of good jokes — too many to highlight — so here are two of my favourite jokes. First, “How about we 68? You blow me and I’ll owe ya one,” and second, “There are millions of starving kids in the world,” “Name ten.”
I don’t know the budget for Letterkenny, but the acting is superb. Shout out to Jared Keeso who plays Wayne. Wayne is done with everyone’s bullshit before it even starts, is always stone-faced except when angry, and is awkwardly stiff but simultaneously tough. I can’t imagine how much willpower Keeso has to not crack a smile at some of the writing.
I’d say Letterkenny is the most Canadian comedy series since Corner Gas; the only thing it’s missing is a cameo from Tim Horton’s. I think the show would do really well on television, but it should never go on television because the swearing is fantastic. The euphemisms for masturbating alone are gold (“one-man couch hockey”). Apparently the show is filming season two this spring, which is great, and I hope it stays to its roots. The charm of the show would be drastically neutered should it have to adhere to television regulations.
The thing I really like about this show is how Canadian it is, and therefore how new it is. Most of our television is imported from the States, so we are greatly underexposed to our own culture in media. The tropes are so on point in Letterkenny, my personal favourite being the hockey bros. The fact that they chew tobacco is what got me, or it really reminds me of home. I understand it’s hard to create a popular television series in Canada (Schitt’s Creek anyone?), so it’s important we support indie darlings when we can.
Final recommendation: A Canadian necessity.
The author of this article is a member of Imprint’s board of directors.