What They Say:
The residents of Letterkenny belong to one of three groups: Hicks, Skids, and Hockey Players. The three groups are constantly feuding with each other over seemingly trivial matters; often ending with someone getting their ass kicked.
There’s only one audio track here: English Dolby Digital 5.1. English subtitles are also provided for the hearing-impaired or people like me who eat chips while watching and often can’t hear the sound over the crunching. The audio quality is fine. There are no bells and whistles here, but the show doesn’t really need them.
The episodes are presented in Anamorphic Widescreen 1.78:1 and the video quality is just fine. No issues here, either.
Seasons one and two come packaged in a typical DVD case with a center inset. Disc one comes housed in that inset and disc two rests inside the back cover.
The front cover features the show’s four main characters. Wayne and Darry stand on the left and right sides, respectively, framing Katy, who’s lounging in a lawn chair, and Squirrely Dan, who sits behind her, propping up a produce stand. The show’s logo, a German Shepherd, hovers against a blue sky background, and underneath it is the show’s title. The logo “Made in Canada” rests between Wayne and Darry in a gold oval.
The spine continues the motif of the front cover. Blue sky occupies the top half, a gravel road the other, and Wayne and Darry stand at the very bottom.
The back cover is standard fare: you’ve got the summary, pictures from the show, episode listing, and cast and crew credits (although those are so small, I need a magnifying glass to read them).
Overall, it’s a solid case that tells you exactly what you’re getting.
The background image is the exact same as the image on the front of the DVD case. Off to the left side is the episode lineup along with “Play All” and “Setup” options. A catchy rock riff plays in the background and it lasts for a good long time, which is so much nicer than menus where the song loops every fifteen seconds.
The only extra here is a bonus episode called “St. Perfect’s Day” and it’s hilarious. While I’d love to see some cast and crew interviews, I really can’t complain.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
People often ask me “Josh, how is it you have such good taste in TV, movies, and music?” (shut up, they do). My answer is always the same: “My taste is pretty awful, but luckily I have friends who do have good taste and they hook me up with recommendations all the time.”
My friends have been talking about Letterkenny for a good two months now, so when Fandom was contacted about reviewing the first two seasons, I jumped on that, figuring I was in for a real treat. Well, that’s a Texas-sized 10-4, and once again, my friends are batting a thousand with the recommendations (or whatever the hockey equivalent of that is).
Letterkenny is a town somewhere in Canada—presumably where most of the rednecks live. Its five thousand residents are grouped into “hicks, skids, and hockey players” and they tend to butt heads over the least little thing. Although it’s an ensemble cast, the main four characters are Wayne, his sister Katy, and their friends Darry and Squirrely Dan (these are the hicks). Orbiting those characters are the hockey guys Reilly and Jonesy, and the skids led by Stewart.
The plots for the episodes tend to be rather simple, and I mean that in a good way. Darry and Katy try to help Wayne get over a breakup, Wayne works to become the toughest man in Letterkenny again after swearing off fighting, the gang decides to make an online space for people to share their farts. You know, tried and true Shakespearean stuff. The comedy is rooted in the characters more than the plots, and the characters are wonderful.
Everyone in the show is just slightly off. There’s a cartoonish sensibility to the way they speak and even move that gives this a sense of heightened reality. It’s not too over-the-top, but it’s just enough to make even the simplest of gestures, such as Wayne standing up, hilarious.
Jared Keeso as Wayne (who is also co-creator of the show) is a perfect case in point. I’ve been trying since yesterday to explain how he moves, and I’ve yet to hit on something succinct. There’s something robot-like to it, a deliberateness to every movement that denotes power and purpose, but it’s not artificial. He also seems to reset after every move, as if he has one expression and posture he returns to when he’s at rest that he never deviates from. It’s brilliant physical acting on his part, and he’s not alone. Stewart tends to speak and act in broad, grand gestures, perhaps befitting of his meth habit, and Gail can’t stand still for a second. She’s all bent knees and elbows, constantly moving like a slinky on Jell-O.
The dialogue and its delivery are also spectacular. Much like Keeso’s movements, it’s both artificial and organic. It’s very reminiscent of the kind of rapid-fire witty dialogue you’d see in movies like The Front Page and His Girl Friday where the lines come fast and hard and practically everything a person says is incredibly witty and observant. It’s the kind dialogue I wish I could do in my own life.
And the expressions! I have no idea if these are Canadian expressions or ones created just for Letterkenny, but this is an incredibly quotable show with lines like “That’s a Texas-sized 10-4,” and “Pitter patter, let’s get at ‘er,” and my favorite “You’re just spare parts, aren’t you?” These expressions are not only funny, but they also add to the verisimilitude of the show, helping make Letterkenny feel like a real place.
My friend Amy probably put it best when she said that the combination of smart and absolutely stupid is really exceptional in this show. It is a very silly show, but it’s silly in a smart way. The writers never take the easy road when it comes to the humor. They never go for the tried-and-true sitcom staples, such as making fun of Squirrely Dan for being overweight, or Katy for being sexually active. I don’t know I would go so far as to say that this show is actively body- and sex-positive, but the characters are treated with a basic human dignity that I wish more sitcoms would do. The comedy comes from the exaggeration of the character’s personalities, and while they may be a little silly and a little dumb at times, they almost never act from a place of meanness or hate. It’s the exact opposite of The Office where everyone is soul-crushingly awful and annoying (with the exception of Jim and Pam, I suppose). These are good people that you almost instantly grow to care about. They aren’t objects of ridicule. They just sometimes do silly things.
Much of this is due to the excellent writing, but the cast deserves equal credit. Jared Keeso and Michelle Mylett form the anchor of the show, and they have an easy brother-sister chemistry that is essential for the show’s success. Thankfully for those actors, they don’t have to carry the show alone, as Letterkenny has a superb ensemble cast. The only other shows airing right now that I can think to compare in terms of the quality of cast are Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Good Place, and that’s excellent company to be in, in my opinion.
My only complaint with this set is that there are only two seasons, and I want more! I might finally have to break down and get a Hulu subscription so I can find out what happens next. Hopefully season three will come out soon and I can save myself from doing that for a little while longer. If I haven’t made it clear, Letterkenny is an absolute delight, and I highly recommend it. Dr. J gives this an…
Content Grade: A+
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A
Menu Grade: A
Extras Grade: B+
Released By: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Release Date: November 5th, 2019
Running Time: 339 minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
TCL 50S425 50 inch 4K Smart LED Roku TV, Sony Playstation 4 w/HDMI Connection