Letterkenny: The Canadian Cult Comedy Is A Cracker | The Transcontinental
Letterkenny. Classified M. SBS on demand. Four stars
As the lockdown continues and we’ve gotten past all those flashy big-budget headlines we’ve saved to our My Watchlists, it’s time to start getting adventurous in our viewing choices.
My biggest discovery on the small screen lately is the Canadian comedy series Letterkenny.
Much of Canada’s prolific television production, at least that which composes it, is deliberately indistinguishable from shows produced south of its border, or from American productions and performed produced in maple country at a quarter of production costs. of Los Angeles.
Letterkenny is uniquely and very deliberately Canadian. Letterkenny is the name of a fictional small town, with around 5,000 residents, and the show’s premise centers around the kinds of things that keep people in this small community busy.
For siblings in their twenties Wayne (Jared Keeso) and Katy (Michelle Mylett), what keeps them busy is doing chores on the farm they run together, donating money. love to their many dogs and relax at their produce stand on the farm drinking beers and pulling the breeze with neighboring buddies Dan (K. Trevor Wilson) and Daryl (Nathan Dales).
Passing through that farm gate through the show’s nine seasons is a set of characters familiar to most small towns around the world, including local jocks Jonesy (Andrew Herr) and Reilly (Dylan Playfair), the neighboring Mennonite family. Noah and Anita Dyck (Jonathan Torrens and Sarah Wayne Callies), local supersexual bar owner Gail (Lisa Codrington), local drug dealers Stuart (Tyler Johnston) and Roald (Evan Stern) and the Native Reservation mob, y including Wayne’s girlfriend Tanis (Keniehtiio Horn).
The kinds of preoccupations that characterize life in a small community are the fodder for these short, laugh-rich episodes – Wayne searches for a stallion to breed with his favorite German Shepherd, sports are discussed, town cliques (the Hicks , Skids, Tanis’ team and hockey players) fight with each other, then join forces when someone from out of town dares to get their hands on a Letterkenny’s son or daughter .
The show is created and written by lead actor Keeso and his friend Jacob Tierney, who also stars as the camp’s local preacher, Glen.
In 2013, Keeso achieved local success with his web series Letterkenny Problems, taken from his observations of his own upbringing in a small town of Listowel, Ontario.
The success of the web series was due to the fun pun and simple lines and so is the series it spawned.
One of the joys of this show is the riffing the actors do, with loads of words, puns, and literate gags that dot each storyline.
Season nine opens with a rap by Mylett about the beau who jumped on her and broke her heart at the end of season eight.
The many slogans in the series are eminently quotable.
I found myself trying to find reasons to insert phrases like “Pitter-patter, let’s go” and “It’s a Texas-sized 10-4” into my daily conversation.
The cast is a fascinating mix of Canadian talent, many of whom are familiar with all of the American film and television work that runs through their country.
Keeso was in Godzilla and Elysium and he’s got the physique and appears to be the protagonist of one of Marvel’s thousands of upcoming films.
Lucky for us, he’s more focused on writing his cult observational comedy.
Always explorers of Canadian culture and values, Keeso and Tierney have fun skewering Canadian pop culture.
Maybe my favorite gag pops up in the last season when one of Wayne’s old flames returns to Letterkenny pretentiously speaking with a British accent after a brief hike on the pond.
We all know of at least one.
The show is shot digitally by Jim Westenbrink with cutaways of idyllic rural Canada.
With two six-episode seasons released each year since 2016, Canada’s hot summers and freezing winters are themselves characters as the episodes progress.