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Letterkenny poster

Letterkenny

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What it’s about:

In this quirky Canadian comedy series multiple cliques inhabit the fictional Canadian town of Letterkenny, Ontario. They include Hicks, Skids, Hockey Players, and the Natives from the nearby reservation. They are all frequently at odds, with most of the action revolving around brother and sister—Wayne and Katy—who run a farm and produce stand with the assistance of friends Daryl and Squirrelly Dan (“allegedly”).

Names you might know:

Canadian viewers may know creator and star Jared Keeso (Wayne) from Bravo Canada police procedural 19-2. Fans of Wynonna Earp may recognize Melanie Scrofano (Mrs. McMurray) as the title role on the fantasy/western series. Several Letterkenny actors, including Keeso, Nathan Dales (Daryl), Tyler Johnstone (Stewart), and Kaniehtiio Horn (Tanis), appeared in guest spots for the long-running fantasy series Supernatural.

Why it’s worth your time:
Hulu

Letterkenny is unlike any other show on television right now, and possibly unlike any other television show ever. Right from the first episode, it feels as though the characters speak another language. Not because of any type of regional accent or dialect (though both are present), but the speed and nonchalance of the witticisms delivered primarily by the stars of the show. Fortunately, the show is an ensemble piece with distinct characters who all get their time to shine.

A significant thread of the series revolves around Wayne’s quest for love, though so much is going on that this observation hits as an afterthought. Most of the emotion is underplayed, with the effective exception of the Skids, including Stewart and Roald (Evan Stern). The Hicks’ cutting barbs wouldn’t have nearly the same comedic impact delivered with overdone expressions or raised voices. The show feels as though it allows its actors to play, yet such precise dialogue likely requires effort to nail the expert timing.

The show, shot in and around Sudbury, Ontario using a mix of interior sets and expansive landscapes, carries an intimate feel throughout. If you’re from a small town yourself, every location feels like someplace you’ve been and know extremely well, and that familiarity extends to the characters themselves. They speak to one another like they’ve been acquainted for years, as though we viewers have been dropped into the middle of their lives for a peek inside.

Proud of its Canadian setting, the show uses numerous jokes inspired by famous citizens like Don Cherry and Terry Fox, as well as more subtle references, like how the guys from Quebec are always dressed in blue (the main color on Quebec’s provincial flag). Music is an integral part of the show, with episodes often featuring a slow-motion montage set to a pounding beat. Keeso takes extra effort to include music by independent Canadian artists whenever possible.

Even with the decidedly Canadian feel, the themes of the show are universal enough to appeal to any audience. I grew up in semi-rural Saskatchewan, so each episode feels like a quick trip home. It’s an excellent escape show with endlessly quotable one liners that fans toss back and forth.

The takeaway:

Contrary to typical portrayals of small-town folks, the residents of Letterkenny are quick-witted and fully aware of broader social issues (just ask Squirrelly Dan about his Women’s Studies class). Though they trade unrelenting insults, the warring factions come together more than once to defend one of their own. For a show that doesn’t shy away from potty humor, it’s got heart. Pitter-patter, let’s get at ‘er!

Watch it with:

Your friends who love comedy that ranges the spectrum, from fart jokes to clever wordplay. The quick and funny episodes also make it a great choice for a date night-in, maybe with that cute Canadian coworker you’ve had your eye on since Boxing Day.

Worth noting:

Fans who can’t get enough won’t have long to wait to get more Letterkenny. The cast is set to launch a US tour in April (twice delayed due to COVID). Seasons 10 and 11 were shot simultaneously, meaning season 11 could drop at any time. Spinoff series Shoresy, about the foul-mouthed hockey player of the same name whose face has never been seen, is scheduled to premiere this spring.

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