I recently found a show that hit my Canadian funny bone like a two-tonne moose. It couldn’t be more Canadian than if the series followed a squad of apologetic Mounties at a hockey game dealing with a tragic Tim Horton’s shortage, eh? I am talking about the CraveTV original show, Letterkenny. The best way to describe it in one sentence would be if Corner Gas and Trailer Park Boys had a baby.
The protagonist, Wayne — played by show creator and co-runner Jared Keeso — is a local hick who lives in a small Ontario town, Letterkenny, along with Wayne’s sister Katy (Michelle Mylett), constant companion Darryl/Derry (Nathan Dale), and friend Squirrely Dan (K. Trevor Wilson). The hicks share the town with jocks, skids (punks/ metalheads), and Christians who all interact with each other at the local bar. The show focuses on the hicks and their adventures. There is an overarching plot featuring the skids but the show is really more of an anthology of adventures than a continuous narrative. The episodes do connect but you can hop into the serious at anytime.
The origin of Letterkenny is also rather touching and encouraging. The whole idea started when Jared Keeso decided to launch a Twitter account called Letterkenny Problems to share the wit and wisdom of a small-town, Canadian hick. Jared, an aspiring actor, decided he could adapt the tweets into a serious of shorts, which star himself and Nathan Dales. These videos also include two skits, one about hockey players and one about a skid stopping by the produce stand. The hockey skit would later be used as the cold open of the first episode, starring the same players, reprising their rolls and becoming series regulars, Jonsey (Andrew Herr) and Reilly (Dylan Playfair). The tweet-inspired shorts were later included as moments in the show, some expanding to entire episodes.
The series is an expertly written account of small-town life. I know one of the reasons I love it so much is because I personally know folks from my own home town who would match every archetype featured in Letterkenny. The entire show feels like a love letter to rural life and the bizarre mythology it can contain. For example, there is an ongoing joke that claims local hick, The Ginger, had sex with an ostrich… allegedly… while also acknowledging how it would take more than one person to commit such an act; therefore his best friend Boots must have been there to help. There is always at least one story about that guy you kinda know who may or may not have done this thing that everyone talks about. Another element that really represents the small-town sentiment is the character of Wayne. This almost-mythological, tough, sharp-witted hick who feels likes a hero. He is the constantly hopeful white hat. It feels like an ode to rural romanticism, but one that constantly delivers on the comedy.
Letterkenny is a fantastic show that you need to watch. Even if it’s just the shorts on YouTube, check them out. You will be hooked. This is 5 out of 5.