Shoresy does the one thing Letterkenny never could
The following contains spoilers for Letterkenny, now streaming on Hulu.
When considering the question of what Letterkenny the character most deserves a spin-off, there is no right answer. Letterkenny is a cult show from the heart of Northern Ontario. Despite being the most populous province in Canada, it’s not exactly a show that stands up to television titans like Westworld Where The Mandalorian. But in its own niche, Letterkenny works. He tells a story only he can, with quirky little characters in their quirky little town. As the opening crawl says, “There are 5,000 people in the town of Letterkenny. These are their problems.” So, to remove a character from this context? It’s a strange choice.
And among all these characters, there doesn’t seem to be any worse choice than Shoresy. The shrill terror is played by the show’s screenwriter and lead actor, Jared Keeso, but faces the camera with a deafening falsetto. He’s rude, rude, and one of the most obnoxious characters on the show. But the show shoresy works. All. The writing is sharper than ever, and the cinematography seems to take it up a notch, from carefree ease to laid-back Letterkenny to a high-energy fever. It works because shoresy has one thing Letterkenny never done: a story.
Letterkenny is small, shiny and weird. Its structure is meandering, and while it’s not mandatory for sitcoms to worry about overarching narratives, Letterkenny is particularly indifferent to the concept. The episodes go where they please in the small town, with no real theme beyond sticking to the misadventures of “hicks, skids, and hockey players.” A story may continue between episodes, and very rarely between seasons. It’s less of a continuing story than a vehicle for Keeso’s rhythmic, even poetic comedy.
It does not Letterkenny less brilliant, but that makes it hard to follow. There’s very little sense of where an episode might go, or what might happen. There is also less drama, less tension. Letterkenny doesn’t need any of those things. But their absence gives shoresy a reason to exist. shoresy takes that same brilliant writing, along with Jacob Tierney’s direction, and grafts it seamlessly onto a classic sports plot. The Sudbury Bulldogs are one loss away from folding, and team captain Shoresy has pledged to “never lose again.”
What comes next is quite simple. The show is about the remaining hockey season and Shoresy’s efforts to turn the team around. The players he brings in form the bulk of the series’ supporting cast, and the rise and fall of their fortunes are tied to the games. This makes each of the games an action-packed event, in more ways than one. There’s the suspense of winning or losing, of sinking or swimming, of teeth-chattering athleticism. But there is also the abundant violence that infuses Letterkennyat home and comfortable on the ice.
Letterkenny is a strange sight. But shoresy takes this strange show’s weirdest character and brings him back to reality, giving him just enough courage to be likable and just enough defiance to be a lost cause. This throws him into the dirt and onto the ice, stacks him with monumental odds. And instead of overshadowing the show’s comedy, all that drama just makes it more prominent. It’s one thing to hear characters gossip about anything and everything when nothing is at stake. It’s another when pride, dreams and glory are at stake. shoresy is peanut butter meets chocolate, ice cream meets fries. Let’s hope this continues and the boys never lose again.
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