Letterkenny is a bit of an anomaly in these times. At first blush, it is a series about a small group of rural Canadians who stick to traditional values. Men fight. Women cook. And all they seem to get up to is farming and drinking. But to see only those themes is to miss the massive heart and the fundamental respect of humanity that is the true center of Letterkenny.
At its elemental level, Letterkenny believes that people are good and deserve love. That message of dignity and affection threads throughout the episodes alongside some awfully hilarious recurring discussions and callbacks. The series feels inclusive because the audience gets to see the inside jokes develop at a cellular level, only to be repeated season after season. Lest all of this kindness give the wrong impression, Letterkenny also thrives in the crude. There is plenty of farting, spitting, hoovering drugs, and discussion of sex acts to complement the show’s squishy middle. Much of that impeccable balance is owed to co-creators Jared Keeso and Jacob Tierney. Tierney has directed the entire series to date, and the two have written nearly all of the episodes together.
The best episodes of Letterkenny have all of these elements blissfully blended together: kinship, warmth, neighborliness, and a healthy swig of inappropriate humor to round it all out. We've rounded up the 10 episodes that do all of that — and then some — and ranked them below.
10. “Yard Sale Saturday”
Season 8, Episode 5
Number of times they say “dicker”: 15
Season 8 of Letterkenny comes with its own emotional lows and heartbreak, but “Yard Sale Saturday” is not about that. It is all about the skill of bartering — or “dickering’ as they say repeatedly —- and the thrill of the hunt for those hidden gems somewhere on the various yard sale spreads across town. For all of Dierks’ (Tyler Hynes) later shortcomings, here he is in his prime as the handsome, confident, vocally ticking American that Katie falls for quick and hard. Seeing Wayne’s (Kesso) usually tight lip curl at the very mention of Dierks is a special treat unto itself, especially considering he can’t even say the Yankee’s name without making it sound like merely saying the name turns his mouth sour.
9. “Letterkenny Spelling Bee”
Season 5, Episode 4
Number of words spelled: 19
Making something very serious out of something that could be very silly is a Letterkenny tradition 10 seasons deep, and the spelling bee might be the greatest example of that. The whole town comes together to cheer on a selected group of spellers while they duke it out using their chosen weapons of consonants and vowels. Illegal betting, big-city slams, and an inspired outburst by Squirrely Dan (K. Trevor Wilson) all fill the auditorium to make the perfect setting for the competition. However, the true triumph of the episode all takes place on stage. Under the bright lights, in front of a microphone, the hockey players’s wits feel a bit dimmer, and McMurray (Dan Petronijevic) mumbles a touch more incoherently.
8. “Different Strokes For Different Folks”
Season 6, Episode 5
Animal impressions in the opening: 12
Shots of beer in 100 minutes: 700
Century Club is a Letterkenny tradition, which like so many Letterkenny traditions, was started by Katy (Michelle Mylett) and Wayne’s late uncle Eddie. This much-celebrated event is fairly basic. Each participant must take a shot of beer every minute, for 100 consecutive minutes. Watching some of our favorite Letterkennians get hammered while bonding together and upholding tradition is a paradigm of this charming town, even if it does scream of alcoholism — which Glenn (Tierney) brings up more than once. The whole drinking session is giddily framed by Joel Plaskett’s “Fashionable People,” which is one of the more inspired needle drops throughout the series.
Season 9, Episode 5
Number of people to whisper their confession of having a crush on Bonnie McMurray: 4
There's not a lot to praise in season 9 of Letterkenny. The clunky “Kids With Problems” is an episode to endure instead of enjoy, and “NDN ENG” feels like a brainstorming session and not a fully-conceived season ender. But amid that uncharacteristic mediocrity is the divine “Sleepover.” Cuddled up in small groups of skids, hicks, hockey players, and select ladies of Letterkenny, these groups each spend the night playing board games, watching movies, and whispering like middle schoolers about their crushes. The affection they have for each other and the clear affection the show itself has for its multidimensional characters is palatable, which makes this episode just a big, cozy visit with the finest people in town.
6. “Bock et Biche”
Season 5, Episode 6
Number of times “TD Bank” or “titty bank” is said in 65 seconds: 28
Whether you call it a Jack and Jill, a buck and doe, or a bock et biche, if a friend asks you to help raise money for their friend’s wedding, you help them. In “Bock et Biche,” the Quebecoise hicks — or hiques — who the Letterkenny gang befriended while ice fishing invite the group to their side of the language border to help. It seems their version of “degens" are rumored to stop by Anik’s (Kim Cloutier) pre-wedding party. There is hilarity in both language struggles and in seeing the gang mirrored in their Quebec counterparts, but the romantic sparks flying all around at the bar are the real stars here.
5. “Super Soft Birthday”
Season 1, Episode 2
Number of birthday hats: 4
Number of birthday tiaras: 3
There is no better specimen of the polarity that exists within the central characters in Letterkenny than “Super Soft Birthday.” Diving into their world, the episode picks up right where the first episode of the series left off. Wayne has shed his pacifism and is on a quest to reestablish himself as the toughest guy in Letterkenny. One by one, his challengers appear at the farm, but don’t come up the property, to fight Wayne. And fight they do. All of this is consistent with the hicks’ MO, but it is not the impetus for the episode. No, Dary’s (Nathan Dales) birthday is coming up, and Wayne and Katie are in the midst of planning his super-soft birthday party. Cupcake stations, technicolor cocktails, and a bouncy castle aren’t just fun, they are tradition. And you don’t f*ck with tradition.
4. “St. Perfect's Day”
Season 2, Episode 7
Number of times they call Dary “Legen-Dary”: 12
After a helluva St. Patty’s Day bender, the gang takes the morning before choring to tell Dary how he earned his stripes through the course of the night and one wild party. You see, the second he gets out of the truck he realizes that he can’t remember anything of the night before. And according to the hicks, he was the hero of the night. He was legendary — Legend-Dary. When the inevitable fights broke out at the Agricultural Hall with the degens, Dary was filled with green beer and ready to defend his friends. In a brilliant move, Squirrely Dan gets to take his turn as a leprechaun, and he has never been happier.
3. “We Don't Fight at Weddings”
Season 5, Episode 1
Number of times they say “We don’t fight at weddings”: 8
As much as the Letterkenny crew loves a good scrap, they also make it a point to not fight at weddings. When gym regulars Dax and Ron (Gregory Waters and James Daly) tie the knot, their reception is the place to be in Letterkenny. The skids are on DJ duty, and the hockey players are trying to pick up city girls, and all seems right with the world. Tanis (Kaniehtiio Horn) is even behaving herself for the night. When the hicks are pushed to their limits by jerks from the city, Peaches’ “F*ck the Pain Away” carries the moment into Letterkenny’s hall of fame.
2. “Day Beers Day”
Season 8, Episode 7
Number of times they say “day beers”: 13
Number of times Stewart says “nose beers”: 2
Dierks rubs everyone the wrong way, except for his sweetie Katy. As Wayne says, she is a big girl and can handle herself. But when her worst fears come true, the entire town has her back. Leading up to this painful discovery, however, is a spell of drinking out in the MoDean’s parking lot and enjoying good company. The McMurrays tell their crude travel stories and unwittingly expose the tenderness at the core of their marriage, just as Rosie (Clark Backo) and Wayne recommit to their relationship. The romantic thrust of the episode, despite Dierks, goes to show how much Letterkenny believes in love.
1. “Letterkenny Talent Show”
Season 4, Episode 4
Talent Show acts: 7
Much like “Letterkenny Spelling Bee,” “Letterkenny Talent Show” proves again that there is something special about people in this town getting up on stage. After a truly annoying standup comic comes through town, they decide to put on a talent show and make better use of the MoDean’s stage. Wayne and Katie serve as judges for this parade of Letterkenny talent. Each act is a delightful exaggeration of the character, and they have never been more resplendent. The pinnacle of all these performances is Dary’s nervous line dancing, with an assist from all of his friends in attendance. Camaraderie and embracing tradition is what Letterkenny is all about.
Pitter patter, let's get to the Letterkenny discussion in our forums.
Deirdre Crimmins has been a critic for over a decade and is always hopeful the next thing she watches will be her new favorite. You can find her on Twitter at @dedecrim.