Warning: Spoilers ahead for Season 9, Episode 1 of Letterkenny. If you haven't checked out the new season yet, then pitter patter.
Few cult shows in recent memory seem to have viewers as divided as Crave TV's Letterkenny. People seem to either love or hate the fast-talking, slang-driven, often obscene Canadian comedy, which has recently returned for its ninth season on Hulu. I was ecstatic to find out that even amidst a pandemic, Season 9 was shipped and would be ready for me to binge on Hulu on Christmas day. But after the first episode, I was a bit surprised to find that the season premiere had no footage of the biggest Season 8 cliffhanger. What happened in the fight with Dierks? Luckily, I received some explanation.
In my experience, when introducing someone to the show for the first time, they will decide whether or not they are ready to binge it all or stand up for a scrap before the end of the very first scene. The show is renowned for being vulgar yet witty, offensive while still progressive, and has a strange moral compass that makes it difficult to determine if the best episodes of the series are those which force you to rethink your own stance on modern-day issues or those with bits so ridiculous they cause you to choke on your bottle of Gus N' Bru.
I sat down with a few Letterkenny cast members for the Season 9 premiere to discuss why that particular fight wasn’t shown when the series picked back up for the latest season. Here’s what director, writer, and actor Jacob Tierney, who plays Glen, had to say about the decision to leave out the big brawl when the latest season hit Hulu:
I mean, we do a lot of fights, so sometimes by not showing a fight, you've shown a great fight. We want to surprise you. We can't just give you endless fights. And I think also in keeping with the spirit of the show, where there's not a lot of bullying and bullying isn't rewarded, I didn't really want to watch twelve people beat up one guy. I don't mind knowing it happened, but I'm not going to need to see it.
This seems to make sense, in hindsight. As much as I wanted to actually see Dierks get what was coming to him, watching the Letterkenny crew all gang up on one man wouldn't exactly display the "fair fight" aesthetic that fans have come to know and love. The show has never shied away from violence or taking endless shots at pop culture. But Letterkenny has also gone deep into some moral principles of the characters in the show (“when a man asks for help, you help him”). As the show has matured (is "matured" the right word?) it appears that the writers have drawn the line at showing a twelve-on-one beat down, as Michelle Mylett, who plays Katy, went on to discuss:
It's funny because a lot of people were like, ‘I'm so excited for the new season, because we finally get to see everybody kick the shit out of Dierks!’ And I totally understand wanting to see that, but I think filming a scene where it's a group of people beating up one person is maybe not on brand for LetterKenny, because it's one thing to imagine what that is. It's another to see that maybe it's a little bit too dark or like bully-ish or something. That was kind of what I was thinking, but I get people wanting to see it at the same time.
It appears that while leaving out what would no doubt be shocking footage of a well-deserved scrap, there’s more at play here than simply avoiding the violence. By not showing exactly what happened, we as viewers are left to draw our own conclusions. As Nathan Dales, who plays Daryl puts it, sometimes leaving things up to the viewers own imagination is the best way to get the point across:
Like Michelle said, I get that people want to see that and that they want to be shown what happened, exactly. But I think it's kind of better if it's left up to the imagination as to what we did as a group to him for being such a dirtbag...I think not showing it gives people their imagination and they can run wild. ‘What did they do? What did they not do? Did they just pull down his pants and give him a spanking? Or did they actually beat the shit out of him?’ You know, who knows? But the point is you get to draw your own conclusions. You know something happened and that's sort of where it was best left.
What do you think? Were you still satisfied with the latest season even with the omission of the great beat-down? Or were you left wanting to see what one "degen" clearly had coming to him? Were you happy with the amount of call back to popular side characters? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to check out Season 9 of Letterkenny on Hulu. If you're already caught up or looking for a new show, pitter patter on over to our guide on Hulu's New Releases for 2021.