Why ‘Letterkenny’ shows what it’s really like to be LGBTQ+ today
Letterkenny is a gem of a Canadian comedy that refuses to slow down one bit. Perhaps a little more lowbrow than Schitt’s Creek (there’s no shortage of good fart jokes on the series), no one would ever really consider Letterkenny as having one hell of a great track record of LGBTQ+ representation.
Yet Letterkenny does. Not just a token LGBTQ+ character to look PC but a range of characters across the spectrum of sexuality. Letterkenny is a very queer series and in the best way possible.
It’s never a “thing”
No one comes out on Letterkenny. There are no big dramatic reveals. Their sexuality doesn’t utterly define them. Instead, Letterkenny just keeps it casual. Yes, Katy (Michelle Mylett) is bisexual and has been in poly relationships.
The McMurrays (Dan Petronijevic, Melanie Scrofano) have an open marriage, with Mrs. McMurray showing clear interest in other women. Bar owner Gail (Lisa Codrington) is hypersexual, but in a way that’s over the top and ridiculous. She exists, as Squirrely Dan (K. Trevor Wilson) puts it, in a state of “upbeat and horny”. And yeah, that’s just Gail.
First Nations woman Tanis (Kaniehtiio Horn) just casually mentions she swings both ways and we move on. We have husbands Dax (Gregory Waters) and Ron (James Daly) who get married for the tax breaks, get in a competition for who can sleep around the most with their straight friends. The pair also enjoys hitting on guys at the gym together. Skid Roald (Evan Stern) clearly had some issues with his parents upon coming out but has found a family that accepts him for who he is.
Then there’s preacher Glenn (Jacob Tierney) who is some form of in the closet or not fully out, but he hits on Wayne (Jared Keeso) and others. It’s a weird sort of dichotomy, but no one’s ever mean to or about the character.
No one’s sexuality is never really focused on as a “big deal” sort of thing. It just is. It’s really refreshing for a show to be so casual about it.
When people are made uncomfortable in Letterkenny, it’s because of the situation. When the McMurrays look for people to sleep with it, they do in the most aggressive and uncomfortable way possible, like laying a trap at a party. But no one judges them for it, no one makes a thing of it, they just don’t want to sleep with the couple.
Letterkenny thrives in awkward situations with how the characters react to them. Wayne doesn’t like Katy’s new boyfriends, not that she has two new boyfriends. When Squirrely Dan, Katy, and Daryl (Nathan Dales) try to win Bonnie McMurray’s (Kamilla Kowal) heart, each has a valid chance of doing so.
When Dax and Ron become friends with hockey bros Reilly and Jonsey (Dylan Playfair, Andrew Herr), there’s a solid 90 second bit over the various different names that LGBTQ+ have been called over the years. It is hilarious, especially as the whole thing is couched in hockey terms.
Letterkenny allows for there to be an open space by just allowing the characters that populate it to be themselves.
Letterkenny thrives on its authenticity. People who grew up in rural Canada are like “yes it is like that”. More to the point, it’s a universal sort of experience. By allowing LGBTQ+ characters to be themselves in the series, it takes down barriers even more. The best parts of Letterkenny are easily dialogue and characters.
By seeing the characters be their authentic selves, it makes the audience also want to give such living a try.
Letterkenny seasons one through eight are available on Hulu in the US.
So true. It’s really annoying when a show or a movie has literally one gay person and that persons only characteristic is that they’re gay. Also, Katy is actually the first bisexual female I’ve ever seen in a showMay 7, 2020
vasilios C. Birlidis
While I do enjoy the show, as a gay man I find it frustrating that the only gay couple in a relationship is so outrageously slutty that it paints a stereotype that we have been fighting for years. Not all gay men stick their dick in everything they find. I get it that all of the characters are stereotypes, for the most part, but for all of the praise we heap on the show’s creators for their sexual awareness, blurring the lines of sexuality on the female characters, kind of falls flat when you see no depth nor any gay character development at all. It’s a stereotype that is best left on the dusty shelf the writers took it off from. Still love the show, but….March 2, 2021
Good point, while they have 3 clearly gay men on the show (We’ll leave Glenn out of this for now) 2 are hypersexual and 1 is in a state of perpetual pining for a friend he can’t have.
And while there are 3 bisexual women on the show, once again, bisexual men are completely overlooked.
So they have hit the trope of overly sexual gay men, and the drug addicted gay man, and at the same time the gay man who just wants to bone his best friend.
And we have homosexual women and bisexual men absent from the cast of characters, as well as lacking any transgender characters.
I will give them props for not making the two aggressive female hockey players lesbians.
Lettkenny sits in an interesting place where there are a good number of characters that fall under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella while also showing how far we still need to go.
At least we are generally heading in the right direction.February 6, 2022
Take it down 20% there V. Maybe you haven’t noticed but everyone on the show is a slut. Riley and Jonesy are literally the hetero version of the queer married men. The show is hilarious but totally unrealistic. There are virtually no older adults or young children in the town. The whole town is queer friendly and there is zero misogyny. The only baddies are this vague group of generic degens which only exist to be beaten up.April 2, 2022
It’s interesting that this article doesn’t touch the very first episode and how Wayne is caught looking at Grindr and the rumors start to spread about how he has changed sides.
Or the fact that the majority of the males in the church youth group are scrolling through Grindr.
And while 3 bisexual females can be found. The show, like many others, seems to forget that male bisexuals exist.February 6, 2022