TL;DR – This was a season of transition taking a moment to ground everyone for what is about to come
Letterkenny Review –
There are some days when you stumble upon something that is just pure gold, a show that knows exactly what it wants to be, and one that is ready to shout it to the rooftops. Growing up in Australia we got a lot of Canadian shows, also as a fan of Sci-fi I got to see Canada on the TV screen quite often even if it was just playing P3X-984. However, I had never seen a show that was genuinely Canadian, well until now.
So to set the scene, there are 5000 people in Letterkenny, and these are their problems. Letterkenny is a small town in rural Ontario, Canada, and like all small towns, it has its clicks and groups. Our main crew is brother and sister Wayne (Jared Keeso) and Katy (Michelle Mylett) along with their two friends Daryl (Nathan Dales) and Squirrelly Dan (K. Trevor Wilson). They make up the group known as the hicks, those folks that live off the farms and spend their days choring and nights drinking a Gus N’ Bru or maybe a couple of Puppers down at the bar MoDean’s run by Gail (Lisa Codrington). Then there are the hockey bros Reilly (Dylan Playfair) and Jonesy (Andrew Herr) who while not being the smartest tools in the shed know how to chirp and get gains. The final main group in town are the Skids, led by their leader Stewart (Tyler Johnston) they are reclusive and spend more time on chemical substances than off it and have a habit of causing all sorts of trouble. Also not far out of town on the Res are The Natives led by Tanis (Tiio Horn) who are such formidable hockey players that the opposition usually comes down with a case of ‘native flu’ rather than make the trip over. Everything is fine, well that is until something throws off the balance of the town, like stealing cigarettes or degens from up-country, or what happened last season when Dierks (Tyler Hynes) cheated on Katy, and the whole town went around to hand him a new one. Now we are going to be looking at the season as a whole, and this means there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
I was honestly wondering how they were going to segue from climax of last season to the start of this season and I liked they focused on some of the core linguistic quirks of the show. The season often starts with some calibrating banter, and this season it is Katy explaining why they quote ‘beat the shit out of Dierks’ in musical rhyme. We then jump to a dinner where we get some of the shows fantastic banter as words get thrown out and then spun around. It is such a joy to watch these big cast scenes because everyone gets their moment to shine. There are also nuggets of comedy throughout, even in the background that makes repeat viewings a blast. However, one of the interesting things about this opening scene is that this is the only major scrap we get this season.
There are many things a show can be, and in the case of Letterkenny, that thing is being aggressively Canadian. Which is a very odd combination to wrap your head around, and it just works. To be fair (to be fair … to be fair), most of my experience with Canadian culture comes from the joint kids shows from the ABC/CBC I watched growing up, so that might have left an unfair legacy. It is an entirely different language that you have to get used to. Thankfully you can pick most of it up from context even if you don’t understand what the hell ferda is. But it is this exploration of what it means to be Canadian that makes the show work as well as it does.
What sells this is the cast, which we get a fantastic selection of this season. I love all the little moments like Katy and Wayne having silent conversations in Kids With Problems. Or when Ron (James Daly) makes the best-shocked face in the show. Or even when Reilly and Jonsey stop to get a crash course of Judaism. It is these character moments that make the show sing and frankly a joy to watch.
In many ways, this is a season of transition, something we can see in the storylines, but more than that. Historically, Letterkenny season is set in the deep winter or the full summer, often alternating between the two. This year we progression of time signalled not only by the characters’ lives but by the snow melting and the grass peeking through towards the end. Given how last season was ended on such a hard break, you get the feeling that this is a season of reflection for many of the characters and not just Katy that is going full-scorched earth. The Hockey Boys are trying to find what is next for them, Wayne and Rosie (Clark Backo) are deepening their mostly jeans based relationship. Even Gail (Lisa Codrington) finds love in the form of unusually tall and fast-talking Jim Dickens (Alex McCooeye).
This is also a season that juggles the big and the small stories deftly, which is something you can only do if both your writers and actors know the characters intimately. In the season finale NDN NRG, we have almost every main and recurring character from the show’s run make an appearance as thing continue to escalate. Yet we also get episodes like Sleepover where it is just a handful of the cast having small yet deep conversations about love with their friends. Letterkenny is a show about extremes at times, and I like that we can jump between those without missing a beat. However, it is also a show that likes its cliffhangers (even though they said they were moving away from them) and I have a feeling that no good is going to come from that conversation between Wayne and Marie-Frédérique (Magalie Lépine-Blondeau)
In the end, do we recommend Letterkenny Season 9? Yes, yes we do. This is a season that builds upon everything that makes this series unique and a joy to watch. Every member of the cast is having a blast from start to end. Also, to be fair, I should say that as an Australian it is true that Melbourne is pronounced Melbourne.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Letterkenny
Directed by – Jacob Tierney
Written by – Jared Keeso, Jacob Tierney, Sonja Bennett, Mark Forward, Daniel Harroch, Trevor Risk,
Created by – Jared Keeso
Developed by – Jared Keeso & Jacob Tierney
Production/Distribution Companies – New Metric Media, Crave, Hulu & SBS
Starring – Jared Keeso, Clark Backo, Michelle Mylett, Nathan Dales, K. Trevor Wilson, Dylan Playfair, Andrew Herr, Tyler Johnston, Evan Stern, Dan Petronijevic, Melanie Scrofano, Lisa Codrington, Jacob Tierney, Kamilla Kowal, James Daly, Gregory Waters, Mark Forward & Tiio Horn with Jared Abrahamson, Kalinka Petrie, Vanessa Matsui, Tyler Hynes, Alex McCooeye, Joël Roger Gagné, Jay Bertin, Lily Gao, Patrick McNeil, Danny Vanzandwyk, Julia Bertin, Jared Keeso, Kim Cloutier, Magalie Lépine-Blondeau, Ellyn Jade, Sash Striga, Bradley Trudeau & Thomas-Dylan Cook and Gavin Fox, Alex Mallari Jr, Dayton Sinkia, Mishka Thebaud, Matias Lucas, Zach Smadu, Jereelyn Corcoran, Matt Vesnaver, Keegan Long, Ryan Weale, Emma Raynard, Daniel Harroch, Julia Burch, Lauren Burch & Max Bouffard.
Episodes Covered – American Buck and Doe, Scorched Earth, Kids with Problems, Mitsvah, Sleepover, Breastaurant & NDN NRG