Letterkenny Problems


 

Nothing I love better than a classic Canadian small-town comedy, except perhaps for a classic Canadian coming-of-age film. Why is it these are the classic Canadian themes, and why is it they speak to me so deeply?

Having binged through Corner Gas and Schitt’s Creek, I am now on Letterkenny. All three share what is most characteristic about Canadian rural comedies: the rustics are the normal ones, and the city folk are the odd outsiders. I trace the trope back to Leacock’s Sunshine Sketches, with at least an assist from Anne of Green Gables.

The characters on Letterkenny are deliberately two-dimensional. This means nobody really gets to show much acting chops. Even so, I think Evan Stern as Roald is a standout. Nathan Dales is also very convincing as Daryl. Reilly seems almost real.

On the other side, I find K. Trevor Wilson’s portrayal of Squirrelly Dan annoying. He randomly adds an “s” sound to the end of words, supposedly in imitation of a rural Ontario accent. To a linguist, and to someone who grew up partly in rural Ontario, this is gratingly wrong. The “s” should only be added to “you” to express the plural, and to verbs in the simple present tense, not randomly. Stupid city guy. Wilson grew up in Toronto.

Other characters I find a bit too cartoonish to warm to are Gail with her weird stance, Stewart with his hostile glare, McMurray with his mumble, and Dickson with his auctioneer shtick. 

But the show is just so full of wordplay and inside jokes that it is irresistible.



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