If you’ve never heard of Letterkenny, you’re far from alone! The delightfully bizarre Canadian comedy seemed to quietly appear on Hulu last summer (it was not formerly available in the United States), and if you haven’t discovered it, stop hooverin’ the schneef and sort yourself out! In other words, now is a great time to start watching.
Letterkenny is a fictional small town in Canada populated by “hicks, skids, hockey players and Christians.” Created by and starring Jared Keeso as Wayne, one of the hicks, each show starts with the simple tagline: “There are 5,000 people in Letterkenny. These are their problems.” Their problems? Hilarious. But what sets this show apart from any other light ensemble comedy is its tight, snappy banter – delivered in so much slang that it might as well be a foreign language (keeping up definitely takes some getting used to) – and the unexpectedly tender heart behind every single character.
The show centers around Wayne, his sister Katy, and their friends Dary and Squirrely Dan. Wayne and Katy are farmers who run a roadside produce stand, but more of their time is spent drinking Puppers, smoking darts and philosophizing rather than selling produce. Here are 8 reasons to add Letterkenny to your summer binge-watching list:
1. Squirrelly Dan
Despite what the name suggests, Squirrely Dan isn’t all that squirrely. The big man has an even bigger heart, and he’s – despite being a “hick” – surprisingly worldly, progressive, and astute. He’s quick to tell his friends “whats he appreciates about ’em”, and on Valentine’s Day, made everyone in town a Valentine. Despite his penchant for long-winded stories and flatulence, Squirrely Dan is a loyal friend, a fan of politically correct language, and rocks a kilt on special occasions. What’s not to like?
2. The Feminism
In addition to Squirrely Dan, who is taking a women’s studies class and often refers to the wisdom of “Professor Tricia” when it comes to matters concerning the fairer sex, the rest of the boys also make an effort to be politically correct and anti-misogyny. It’s done fairly effortlessly, but it’s such a juxtaposition from what you expect from typical “redneck” characters that it makes the show a breath of fresh air. The women depicted are strong, smart, self-sufficient leaders who know what they want and aren’t afraid to get it/do it/say it. The women – although often scantily dressed – are never shamed for it, nor for any of their romantic choices. One story arc has the crew marveling over the suddenly overtly sexy Instagram feed of a girl that Dary is dating. But rather than slut-shame the girl or dissect her motives, it is simply suggested to Dary that if she’s suddenly not texting him back, she’s probably not as into him as he thinks. “Huh,” he concedes.
For Wayne’s part, he simply “doesn’t tell girls what to do,” even if they’re doing something that he personally doesn’t care for, which seems to be limited to burping or farting in front of him.
3. The Inclusion
The townsfolk of Letterkenny aren’t going to judge you, unless of course you’re a “de-gen from up country.” The microcosm of the show has the farmers, junkies, hockey players, and other groups who are occasionally at odds over this or that (such as whether or not Wayne is indeed the toughest guy in town), but nobody in this small town is getting judged for their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender (or gender preference), lifestyle choice, or much of anything else, for that matter. In Letterkenny, our differences are embraced, and even celebrated.
4. The Banter
Letterkenny’s cold opens never fail to be hilarious. The banter between the four leads is so quick and snappy that it takes a little practice following it, and then even more practice not missing half of what they say because you’re laughing so hard. But the entire show is delivered rapid-fire, and peppered with slang so colorful you’ll want to adopt a lot of it for your own. Below, the boys have an opinion on how steaks should be properly cooked:
5. The Fun Slang
Letterkenny is chock-full of slang that’s so fun and creative, you can’t help but start using it yourself. Some of that can be chalked up to it being rural Canadian and/or hockey slang, and some? Well…here’s a partial dictionary:
- 10-ply: An insult referring to toilet paper, meaning someone is extra soft
- Big Shoots/Big Shooter: Someone who is trying too hard (“You sure you know what you’re signing up for there, Big Shoots?”)
- Chorin’: Doing farm chores
- Darts: Cigarettes
- Donnybrook: A brawl
- De-Gens: Degenerates
- Give your balls a tug: Man up, get on with it
- Pitter patter: Short for “Pitter patter, let’s get at ‘er”, meaning get to the point, stop wasting time, stop talking and start doing
- Pump the brakes: Take it down a notch / slow down
- Sando: A sandwich (“But you love crushin’ sandos, bro!”)
- Schneef: Cocaine (“I hoovered up a bit of the schneef in my day.”)
- Sort yourself out/figger it out: When someone is fouled up and needs to figure out what they should be doing.
6. The Good Heart
One of the best parts about Letterkenny is its characters’ willingness to support one another. In one episode, for example, Katy enters an adult spelling bee, and the boys rally around her to help her study, keep her hydrated, etc. (Side note: I would TOTALLY enter an adult spelling bee. Why don’t they have those?) There are countless examples of the crew supporting each other – they go to one another’s hockey games, attend each others’ parties, entertain each others’ wild notions, etc. Wayne even throws a Christmas party where he has picked out a thoughtful present for everyone invited, and dismisses their surprise and delight with a brusque “Well, it’s tradition, so.”
7. The Extreme Quotability
Whether it’s Wayne’s deadpan “H’are ya now?” in greeting, or Squirrely Dan’s “That’s whats I appreciates about you,” a lot of the Letterkenny vernacular is sure to make it into your personal lexicon. I know it has at my house! One the gang adopted – and so did we – originated here, and now we can’t stop singing “To be faihhhhh!”
8. The Creative Insults
Letterkenny isn’t all sunshine and feel-goods. The gang trades insults like most people trade observations about the weather, and they’re often mean and vulgar, but always hilarious.
A few of my favorites:
- “Time to take about 20% off the meth intake, boys.”
- “You’re made of spare parts, aren’t ya bud?”
- “Tell your mum to stop adding me on LinkedIn. I already know what she’s good at.”
- “I see the muscle shirt came today. Muscles coming tomorrow?”
- Any exchange between Jonesy and Shoresy.
Bonus reason to watch: The soundtrack is awesome.
The first 5 seasons of Letterkenny are available on Hulu.