Let's talk Christmas gifts. Pitter, patter, let's get at 'er.
Everybody's chirpin' about it right now. Half the TV schedule is treacly TV movies telling you that the only gift that matters is the holiday spirit of love. Or such like.
Still, there's too much talk about buying stuff for people. Why, there was a time when this great newspaper obliged yours truly to compile a list of TV-related gifts for the holidays that you could buy for your friends or give to yourself. It was one of the worst assignments in the history of assignments. Figuring out box sets of good TV shows, the price and the availability in Canada. Games, T-shirts connected to television. It was soul-destroying work, since there isn't that much to make a person shout, "I want that!"
The best gift of all is something good to watch. You're darn tootin' on that one. Letterkenny returns to Crave TV on Dec. 25. That's a gift for Canada. A truly meaningful one. And I mean that sincerely.
See, I can tell you this – the problem with watching Letterkenny to write and report on it is that I end up laughing so much I can't take notes. So I have to watch it again. It's "chorin'," as they say on the series, but somebody's got to do it. I will report, then, that the first episodes of the new season are riotously funny. The show is a miracle of sorts; a fiercely original, sophisticated form of verbal wit mixed in with deft satire and an occasional dollop of gross-out humour. The latter mean fart jokes and occasional dick jokes, but these have a sublimely crafted relevance because, mostly, Letterkenny is having sport with maleness.
Mainly, though, it's a concoction so anchored in the vernacular of rural and small-town Canada that it makes this country look like the most hysterically funny, sharp-witted place on the planet. Comic inventiveness lives here.
Taciturn guys talking fast and colourfully is still the gist. "Chirpin'," they calls it. As it was with the first season and the original Web series. They talk about hockey, food, farm stuff and drinking. While drinking and smoking, naturally. It remains almost immobile in style. That is, guys sit and stand and just talk. The verbal dexterity is awe-inspiring and it is where Letterkenny is truly a slick, searing comedy. Not that you'd want to repeat much of what is said on the show if you're in polite company. All that eff-this and eff-that, and insults flying about "nut tuggers" and "outjamming the juiceheads."
Anyway, when it opens, Wayne (Jared Keeso, who created this stunning series) is explaining how something went awry on a date. It's to do with him not washing the car. Then there are some fart jokes. Eventually the boys, Wayne, Dan (K. Trevor Wilson) and Daryl (Nathan Dales) are obliged to go to a meeting at the Agricultural Hall. There, what unfolds is a surreal but all-too-painfully authentic, one suspects, conversation about rubber mats and coat hangers. The deadpan weirdness of it all is splendidly original and mad. It is also break-your-sides-laughing hilarious.
Of course, Letterkenny wouldn't be what it is without high-grade mockery of hockey and all its associated macho idiocy. There are scenes in the opening episode that every hockey fan in Canada should see. Because what you'll see is very likely what goes on in locker rooms at rinks across he country. "Forecheck, backcheck, paycheck, bro!"
The second episode takes a fascinating twist. There are what you'd call ill feelings about what unfolded at the Ag Hall and an election for office must be held. The point of the election campaign run by Wayne's rival is designed to diss our guy. How is this achieved? Why, by creating an ad in which people look at Wayne's résumé and decide, "He's just not ready." This excursion into a satire of Canadian politics is priceless.
Everyone involved, from Wayne and his buds to all the other hicks, skids and hockey players, is having a joyous time making Letterkenny. You can just tell. And Michelle Mylett as Wayne's fancy-free younger sister Katy has what is probably the toughest role on Letterkenny, playing the short-shorts-wearing, sarcastic female in a very male-anchored comic universe. She remains brilliant at it.
When the first season aired, I called Letterkenny "intoxicating and refreshing," and it soars into a second season with the same comic zest. It has a purity and honesty in its comic spirit that is breathtaking. A joy to watch, a little masterpiece of Canadiana and the best Christmas gift anyone in the country could get. On Christmas Day it's pitter, patter, let's get at 'er. Enjoy.