Over the course of the past month, I had the pleasure of introducing my boyfriend to the majesty that is Letterkenny. It also served as a reintroduction for myself, as I hadn’t seen any episodes since the first season! Pitter patter!
For those unfamiliar with Letterkenny, the show follows the antics of the residents in the small town of Letterkenny, Ontario. Originally a webseries, it was picked up as Crave’s first original series in 2016. The show primarily focuses on Wayne and Katy, a brother and sister who run a small farm and produce stand, with the help of their friends Daryl and “Squirrely” Dan. Also featured prominently are Riley and Jonesy, two hockey players who are in a polyamorous relationship with Katy.
The show is known for its cold opens, and episode one of season one delivers one of the best in the series’ short history and shows us right out of the gate what we’re in for.
The show’s episodes deal with life in small town Ontario (though the scenarios are applicable to small town life in most Canadian towns, I’m sure) with focus on the different groups that make up Letterkenny’s 5,000 residents. There are the farmers (the “hicks”), the out-of-towners who make up the local hockey team, the town’s minister, the local drug addicts (the “skids”), and members of the local First Nations community (the “natives”).
The seasons are short, usually clocking in around six episodes a piece. There are also a couple of holiday specials for St. Patrick’s Day (or St. Perfect’s Day), Halloween, Easter, and Christmas. This format makes it very bingeable, and as of this weekend I was all caught up and left without no further episodes of Letterkenny for the time being!
I’m intrigued … tell me more!
While Wayne might be the heart of the series, it’s the type of show that just when you think you have a favourite character, another one comes along and does or says something particularly side splitting. Squirrely Dan, serving as the hicks’ resident story teller, always gets a laugh, and the hockey players are so earnest that their stupidity is oddly adorable.
The only characters that I don’t have the biggest soft spot for are the skids. The only time that I find them particularly enjoyable is when they play off other characters outside of their group, or Pastor Glen. I didn’t care for season two, and a large part of this had to do with the skids’ storylines. That being said, the show seemed to find it’s footing again rather quickly after that. So if you’re finding it difficult to get through season two – just hang in there! It’s just a sophomore slump.
Even in the show’s less strong episodes, the word play and the dialogue are top notch. When you think of a show that focuses on small town residents you don’t necessarily think immediately think that they’ll be throwing zingers at each other in such rapid succession. Jared Keeso said on studio q that these people have a lot of time to sit around and think, to just be somewhere quiet, to spend time lovingly crafting their insults and their comebacks.
The series is also respectful in a way that you might not be expecting. Though they may not outright use the labels, the hicks are very clearly feminists (Squirrely Dan is enrolled in a Women’s Studies course), and frequently stand up for the disenfranchised any time that someone dares to say anything particularly uncool about them. If someone in the presence of Riley or Jonesy says something particularly offensive, they are often the first to say something akin to, “That’s not PC, bro.”
In season five, there’s an episode featuring Jay Baruchel as a character named Hard Right Jay, and well … it’s right there in his name. I can’t recall the last time that an episode of any show was so cathartic to watch. If you want to punch nazis, I recommend this episode if nothing else.
“I’d have a beer.”
Being created by Canadians and filmed in Canada, it’s somewhat obvious that Letterkenny itself is Canadian content. But the show has also been praised for featuring the music of Canadian indie, electronic, and alternative bands such as The Pack A.D., Matt Mays, The Deadly Snakes, and Keys N Krates. The music is always perfectly fitting, especially when the hicks are about to throw hands in a Donny Brook.
My favourite use of Canadian music so far came in the season five finale. When Wayne, lovelorn and probably more than a little inebriated drinking with his Quebec friends, spies a pretty girl who just entered his pal’s Bock et Biche, while Quebec progressive rock group Harmonium’s Un musicien parmi tant d’autres plays.
I won’t spoil the scene for you (because I’m assuming you’re going to start watching Letterkenny immediately after you finish reading this), but it’s one of the most well crafted scenes in the series thus far, and one of the best moments where the music really and truly helps set the tone for it.
Um, what are they even saying?
Even watching a cold open, or roughly two minutes of any given episode, you’re probably asking “what does this say?” There’s a lot of Canadian (and specifically Ontarian) colloquialisms thrown around. Some you may get from context, others might leave you bringing up Urban Dictionary on your phone in order to try and piece together what’s going on.
For your benefit, I’ve included some “translations” of the words and phrases that pop up frequently in the town of Letterkenny!
- Celly – Post goal celebration.
- Degen – Degenerate. Usually from up country.
- Donny Brook – A fight involving more than two people.
- Electric lettuce – Weed.
- Ferda – For the. In this case it’s often “for the boys.”
- Figure it out – Get out of here with that nonsense.
- Flow – A hockey term for hair.
- Great day for hay – Nice, sunny weather.
- Horn – Penis. It means penis.
- Mixed a batch – What one might do with their, um, horn.
- Pert Near – Pretty nearly, or darn close to.
- Pitter patter, let’s get at’er – Let’s go!
- Pump the breaks – Slow down!
- Sandos – Sandwiches.
- Silky mitts/Dirty dangles – Smooth, successful stick handling in hockey.
- Tarps off – Shirt’s off, usually in a fight.
- Texas sized 10-4 – I understand.
- Tilly time – Fight.
Well, pitter patter then!
“That’s the toughest guy in Letterkenny.”
Season six drops on Christmas Day on Crave, and seasons one and two are available on Hulu down in Americaland. Though there have been no formal announcements on when the rest of the series will come to Hulu, I suspect that it’s not far off given the show’s rising popularity (UPDATE: Hours after publishing this it was announced that seasons three and four will be hitting Hulu on December 27).
I honestly can’t recommend this show enough. It’s not going to be what you expect, and no amount of me telling you about it would adequately convey what you’re in for.