Being the Publisher of this very website gives me access to all the most interesting granular data. For example, I know that only about 5% of the people (or bots, however you identify) who visit this website are located in Canada. I’m not talking to them. I’m talking to the way more than 50% of you who live in the United States of America. Down here, we’re only about to fully realize Letterkenny’s destiny as the great comedy show of its generation.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, let me give you the scoop on Letterkenny: it’s a situational comedy about a fictional town in rural Ontario, Canada. It revolves around the lives and problems of several social groups: The Hicks, led by leading man and show creator Jared Keeso as Good Ole’ Boy Wayne; The Skids, led by night-walking meth prodigy Stuart; The Hockey Players, an sneaky-great duo named Riley and Jonesy who endeavor to wheel, snipe, and celly, and occasionally they explain what some of those things mean; and a revolving carousel of small-town denizens, each of which is never what you might expect.
Letterkenny is a show about rural culture that is perhaps more forward-thinking than most shows from the city. It is not a shy show, full of vulgarity and brushes with darkness. But in the end, it’s a real good time.
Previous to this week in America, we were only legally allowed to access two seasons of Letterkenny on Hulu, while our friendly neighbors to the North have access to five (six, actually, as of Christmas Day). No, it isn’t fair. But that’s the way she goes…
Until a few weeks back, when Hulu announced that seasons three and four of Letterkenny will drop on December 27th. While not everything we’ve wanted, it was a nice gift.
Then this happened:
What a brilliant gift for the masses — a good-hearted, sensible, rambunctious comedy import that should be watched far and wide. It’s inspired me — as a ɗ𝔦ᥱ-hard fan and Unofficial Director of the Letterkenny for America political super PAC — to be generous, as well. My gift to you, dear reader, is a guide to each denizen of Letterkenny’s best episodes. Something to help you get to know your new best friends.
This character, brought to life by series creator, producer, etc. Jared Keeso, is the foundation of this show’s success. Pick any episode of Letterkenny. That’s a good Wayne episode. Having watched him in numerous interviews, I’m convinced that who Jared Keeso is, as a person, is essential to what makes Wayne a special character. It’s also essential to what makes a lot of this show works. What I’m saying is that Wayne is great because there’s a little bit of Wayne in every Letterkenny character. And he’d be a little grumbly about me saying that, as well.
Wayne’s best episodes:
- “Ain’t No Reason to Get Excited” (Season 1, Episode 1)
The first episode of the first season is our introduction to the town of Letterkenny and in a spiritual sense, it’s an introduction to Wayne’s Letterkenny. Whatever else is going on, we’re sure by the end of this episode that we’d like to hang out with this guy some more.
- “Relationships” (Season 2, Episode 3)
In a brilliant re-envisioning of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Wayne gets signed up for a dating service and painfully scrapes his way through all manner of romantic comedy trappings in a matter of maybe 12-minutes of screentime.
- “Super Soft Birthday” (Season 1, Episode 2)
It’s odd to say that the first two episodes of this show’s five (as of this writing) seasons are the best episodes for its main character. Especially when, as I’ve said, every episode is a great Wayne episode. But in the second episode, The Lore of Wayne is built in a miraculously short amount of time. He fights a bunch of guys, co-authors what almost was the softest birthday party on record, and has the time of his life with frosting. Not so bad for the newly crowned Toughest Guy in Letterkenny.
When we first meet Daryl, played by Nathan Dales, he’s a bit of a punchline for all the best Wayne and Katy jokes. The show itself appeared to have had it out for Dary, given all the rabies and whatnot. But as you dig deeper into Lettekenny, you realize that Daryl has a rich inner life. And most of all, he’s a real sucker for a good tradition, which makes him great around the holidays.
Daryl’s best episodes:
- “St. Perfect’s Day” (2017 St. Patrick’s Special)
Do you remember where you were when he became Legen-Dary? You will after you watch the St. Patrick’s Day special Letterkenny produced between seasons two and three. It revolves around the gang recounting to Dary his blackout-drunk bafoonery from the previous evening’s party. It’s special.
- “Super Hard Easter” (2018 Easter Special)
Is Dary the real patron saint of holiday traditions? Maybe. When Letterkenny stops and decides to build episodes around him, Nathan Dales is always up to the task. There’s an authentic enthusiasm he exudes when Dary gets the odd chance to lead the way.
- “Les Hiques” (Season 3, Episode 4)
On the gang’s trip to a frozen lake in Quebec for some fishing, Dary shines with his long-gestating jokes, his anger toward the French, and his ridiculous 180-degree turn in the name of love at the end. Classic Dary.
At some point in your Letterkenny journey, you’ll meet a man named Bradley. They say Bradley is a ƙ𝔦ℓℓer — and that may be true — but there’s no ƙ𝔦ℓℓer like Katy, played by the razor-sharp Michelle Mylett. When asked if he was a feminist, Wayne once famously said that he trusts his sister Katy with just about any job over a man. He believes it. We believe it. And most importantly, Katy believes it. In a lesser show’s hands, Katy is an easy character to peg as “the woman in the group who is written like a man,” but there’s so much more going on here. Wayne might be the one who welcomes us to his world, but Katy is the one who runs it.
Katy’s best episodes:
- “Puck Bunny” (Season 3, Episode 2)
Upon learning that the puck bunny (aka hockey groupie) that’s causing dysfunction in the local team’s locker room is Wayne’s cheating ex Angie, Katy goes undercover to rid the locker room of its meddlesome lady. And in doing so, she reveals to us a vibrant and violent new vision of heroism.
- “The Election” (Season 2, Episode 2)
If it weren’t for Katy lyrically undressing her adversary (Devon, a skid with bravado) in the Dollar Store parking lot, this episode is otherwise a little bit of a snooze (at least by Letterkenny standards). But she commits metaphorical atrocities that would make any Real Housewife shake in her boots.
- “Letterkenny Spelling Bee” (Season 5, Episode 4)
I’ll keep this one simple — unlike the word Triskaidekaphobia — this episode is like the movie Rocky IV, but Katy is Rocky.
The fabulous foursome at the heart of all Letterkenny adventures is the show’s sweetness, Squirrely Dan, played by comedian K. Trevor Wilson. He seems like a pretty good guy. For the most part. And while he may have rightfully earned his nickname and can get quite squirrely from time to time, Dan is also a devout social justice warrior and follower of Professor Trisha, who teaches his Women’s Studies class. Hopefully we’ll get to meet Professor Trisha someday, but for now, Squirrely Dan is plenty to love. We just want to hug him.
Dan’s best episodes:
- “St. Perfect’s Day” (2017 St. Patrick’s Special)
This episode is a best episode for a number of characters. And while Dary gets to be the center of attention, Dan gets to be a leprechaun. Which might actually be cooler.
- “Letterkenny Talent Show” (Season 4, Episode 4)
After a stand-up comedian comes to Letterkenny and bombs, Dan (and others) decide to try their hand. In a moment of sound self-awareness for the show, K. Trevor Wilson becomes the blandest, most delightfully wholesome stand-up as Dan lives out a fantasy.
- “Sled Shack” (Season 3, Episode 1)
If there’s one thing we love about Squirrely Dan, it’s his love of the Queen’s English. He’s the first to put a few extra ‘s’es on the end of his words. But when Wayne and Dary plan a menu of Sushis and Sashimis, Dan almost keels over. It’s one of the better freakouts this show has to offer.
Known as The Skids, this group of meth enthusiasts is often found to be an antagonizing force in Letterkenny. They game, they dance in parking lots, the commit petty vandalism, and they do it all while conjuring new synonyms for meth. Stuart (Tyler Johnson) is both thought leader and meth prodigy. Roald (Evan Stern) is his out-and-proud-and-loyal attaché. Connor and Darien exist mostly in the background. For a time, they are joined by Devon, who has a lot of weird energy. And Gae, who always cuts deep with her years of growing up the daughter of a psychologist. The Skids are trouble, but they’re always fun.
The Skids’ best episodes:
- “Rave” (Season 1, Episode 5)
Stuart cleans out the gang’s ɗrʋġ coffers to throw a massive rave at the Agricultural Hall. It creates an divide within The Skids that would ultimately be their undoing. For their first undoing. Of many.
- “Super Hard Easter” (2018 Easter Special)
With all the other skids visiting their families for the holiday, Roald aspires to drag Stuart out of a depressive episode by celebrating Zombie Jesus Day. Roald is the best.
- “A Fuss at the Ag Hall” (Season 2, Episode 1)
At one point in this episodes, the five skids come to blows — and by blows, I, of course, mean stabbing each other with EpiPens. It was one dance battle away from being an all-out war.
Reilly and Jonesy
They might be morons, but Reilly (Dylan Playfair) and Jonesy (Andrew Herr) are our morons. In fact, they’re secretly the best performances you’re bound to see in an episode of Letterkenny. Their dynamic flourishes of linguistic artistry would be really impressive if they could spell any of those words, but they can’t. Just remember that no matter what, these two hockey studs keep it simple: life is all about working out, playing video games, chasing girls, and donkin’, which is a real thing hockey players say. Trust me on this. I’ve been to Canada.
Reilly and Jonesy’s best episodes:
- “The Native Flu” (Season 2, Episode 4)
In this instructive episode, we learn that the natives are tougher than hell. This includes their hockey team. And guess what, that’s all true, because Reilly and Jonesy spend most of this episode being hilariously knocked around by BFIs.
- “The Letterkenny Leave” (Season 4, Episode 5)
While Wayne and Co. are being lured into a polyamorous trap by the McMurrays, Reilly and Jonesy accidentally take Ritalin instead of Steroids and yarn-wall an incredible workout plan. It’ll bust your gut.
- “We Don’t Fight at Weddings” (Season 5, Episode 1)
This isn’t a particularly Hockey Players-heavy episode, but it does have a wonderful moment in which Jonesy recalls a time when he “took down an older lady” and how it got weird. It’s my favorite single joke of the entire show.
Letterkenny (the show) has a clear love and respect for the native population living on a reservation adjacent to Letterkenny. You’re likely to also see Tiio Horn, who plays Tanis, breakout in movies soon enough, but for now, she’s busy stealing every scene of Letterkenny that she occupies. She’s the tough-as-nails ringleader of a badass gang, she’s a grillmaster, and she’s always poking Wayne where he doesn’t like to be poked. When Tanis shows up, it’s a party.
Tanis’ best episodes:
- “The Ol’ College Try” (Season 5, Episode 2)
After a few years of poking and prodding, Tanis finally lands herself a chance to take Letterkenny’s most eligible Wayne for a spin. In the spectacular failure of their relationship, we learn a lot about Tanis and in the end, it’s hard not to respect her independence here.
- “Hard Right Jay” (Season 5, Episode 2)
In the show’s most overtly political (and current event specific) episode, a gag about a Hard Right weiner coming to Letterkenny to stir up trouble could have gone so wrong. But Tanis brings it home with truth and violence. She didn’t come here to counter protest.
- “Way to a Man’s Heart” (Season 4, Episode 3)
In this episode, Tanis proves herself worthy of the title Alpha Female.
“Force of nature” is an often used and not-so-often properly applied term in the world of pop culture criticism. But Gail, as played by Lisa Codrington, is a real force of nature every time she saunters (or stumbles) into a scene. She’s the horny small town bar owner with a heart of gold and a penchant for breeding dogs. The vibe of any scene changes when she appears. And there’s no non-weird way to say this, because listen, I want you to understand that it comes from a place of deep appreciation — the way she moves her body is captivating in ways that are difficult to describe. You’ll know what I mean (and that I mean it in a non-creepy way) once you’ve seen the following three episodes…
Gail’s best episodes:
- “Uncle Eddie’s Trust” (Season 2, Episode 5)
With the whole town trying to woo Wayne and Katy to score Uncle Eddie’s philanthropic inheritance check, Gail pitches what basically amounts to The Bachelor, but with Wayne. In a moment that I believe to be one of the great takedowns of that variety of show, Gail sets up one of the great TV dunks I’ve ever seen. She deserves a lot of credit here.
- “The Haunting of Modean’s II” (2017 Halloween Special)
I love that Letterkenny is building a portfolio of holiday specials that celebrate all kinds of holidays. Even if this one is the most obvious type of holiday episode, it also has a storyline in which Gail used to bump uglies with Letterkenny’s longest running Mayor, Uncle Eddie. Very cool.
- “Finding Stormy a Stud” (Season 2, Episode 6)
Up to this point, Gail was just the foul-mouthed bar owner. In this episode, we learn that she’s got a real skill for breeding beautiful dogs and a few hot takes that bring her in confrontation with Squirrely Dan. Which, as you know, is a hard thing to do.
Here’s my theory about Glen, as played by the show’s co-writer, co-producer, and director Jacob Tierney. I don’t think Mr. Tierney is as concerned with delivering any sort of complexity with small-town preacher in the sheets, freak in the streets Glen. And that’s fine. He’s a very seriously good director and a driving force behind the fact that this show looks way better than it has any right looking. But when he’s on-screen, he’s just going to do the weirdest thing possible. When it comes to WTF and WWJD, Glen never disappoints.
Glen’s best episodes:
- “Relationships” (Season 2, Episode 3) – Glen’s pursuit of Wayne for some sort of nefarious ends is the anchor for most of his storylines. In this one, he is literally popping up in the middle of Wayne’s dates. It’s very on the nose and it’s very funny.
- “Way to a Man’s Heart” (Season 4, Episode 3) – While Wayne and the gang are helping Tanis win back her muscle from a local rival, Glen convinces The Skids to try preaching for a day while agreeing himself to try ɗrʋġs and dancing. There’s a montage. As the youths say, it fucks.
- “The Letterkenny Leave” (Season 4, Episode 5) – What happens in Fort McMurray stays in Fort McMurray, at least until Glen figures out that it’s about to be a ຣᥱ𝑥 party. In pairing Glen and Gail, the show finds gold where — well, if we’re being honest, that’s exactly where you’d expect to find gold.