• Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

Shoresy: Canadian hockey comedy will “never lose again.” 

ByJames Kerr

Nov 3, 2023
Game of Ice Hockey, one man in goal other man skating."Nike Bauer Ice Hockey" by Tallok is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

In 2022, Jared Keeso – creator and star of the cult hit Letterkenny – announced that Canadian streaming service Crave would be launching a new Letterkenny spinoff called Shoresy. Reactions were mixed. Fears were widespread that Keeso was selling out, or that, by expanding the Letterkenny “cinematic universe,” Letterkenny itself would suffer. 

In the end, I think it would be best if we all just accepted that Jared Keeso can, more or less, do whatever he wants. This is the guy who took a handful of three-minute YouTube shorts and turned them into a successful eleven (soon to be twelve) season sitcom. If he wants to make a spinoff show about a talented, foul-mouthed amateur hockey player, seems like we ought to just take his word for it.

For those not in the now, Letterkenny is a sitcom produced by Crave, a Canadian streaming service. It follows the different social groups you might find in a stereotypical town in the Canadian Midwest – the Hicks, the Skids, the Hockey Players, etc. – through the problems posed by everyday life. Creator and showrunner Jared Keeso stars as Wayne, the “Toughest Guy in Letterkenny.” 

Jared Keeso also plays Shoresy, a player on the local amateur hockey team whose face we never actually see. Instead, Shoresy’s whole presence on the show consists of him berating the actual characters, Riley and Jonesy, with a litany of your-mom jokes so foul and complex you need subtitles and the Urban Dictionary to unravel them. Keeso took this faceless background character and, in 2022, announced that Crave would be streaming a six-episode series all about him.

If that sounds like kind of a wild idea, you wouldn’t be alone in thinking so. Criticism was easy and plentiful, and expectations were low. But then, everything changed: the show actually came out.  

To say that Keeso defied expectations would be accurate, but it wouldn’t really get the full picture. The show reinvents Letterkenny’s signature style of in-your-face, rapid-fire humor by blending it with something Letterkenny never had; a genuine, heartfelt narrative. You don’t have to care about hockey – I certainly don’t – but Shoresy will find a way to make you care. It brings a talented, diverse cast – the show has been praised for its prominent featuring of First Nations actors – to a story so filled with heart and gumption that by the end, you can’t help but cheer along.

More compelling than the pure Canadian humor or the against-all-odds hockey storyline is the shows handling of its core themes (hear that, LetterkennyShoresy has themes!) Shoresy himself is the backbone of the team, sure, but as a leadership figure and friend he is almost relentlessly abusive; his inspired diatribes are as hilarious as they are upsetting, when the show sets out to remind you that at the butt of every joke is an actual person. To lead his team to the championship, Shoresy must realize that not every problem can be solved with colorful language and targeted insults. Certain situations, he is loathe to discover, might actually call for compassion. 

But Shoresy doesn’t stop there: just as much as it calls for a healthy level of respected, it also sings the praises of what you might call ‘brotherly love’: just because Shoresy calls you a mean name doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about you. When the show takes a brief detour to fill us in on Shoresy’s own childhood, we start to see the circumstances that form such a deep-feeling bully as he’s turned out to be. In conversation with Sanguinet, the team’s feckless coach, Shoresy himself says it best: 

“It’s not fucking bullying, everybody is so soft. It’s tough love.”

“What’s the difference?”

“Alright, we’re teammates. We’re brothers. I’d go to the wall for you. Are you my brother? Would you go the wall for me?”

“Yeah.”

“Then you’re allowed to call me a fucking useless cunt on your way there.” 

Now, in the middle of its second season, Shoresy shows no signs of slowing down. Shoresy has hurdled the gap between seasons better than many in its genre, moving along the narrative into a new direction without losing the stupid charisma and underdog spirit that made the first season so much fun. And if that wasn’t good enough news, Crave announced recently that production for season three will begin in November.

I implore you – next time you think about rewatching Ted Lasso, or 1977’s Slapshot, or just need a new show to pick up, consider spending some time with your foul-mouthed friends in the Great White North.

Nike Bauer Ice Hockey” by Tallok is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.