For those that have spent the last 10 seasons quoting Letterkenny ad nauseum, chances are most of those quotes came from the foul-mouthed, faceless hockey goon known as Shorsey’s mouth. The foil to hockey players Riley and Jonesy who used every adjective in the book to sh*t on those two and state in no uncertain terms how he’s had his way with their mothers sexually.
From the beginning the character was a fan favorite, getting just enough screen time to terrorize everyone, get the trademark “F*ck You Shoresy” from the cast, then fade into the background until the next time. So when it was announced the character was getting his own spinoff series, collective cheers were heard across Canada and followed up with only one question, “are we going to see Shoresy’s face? How is that going to work?” okay that’s two questions. Creator and star Jared Keeso answered that inquiry very quickly before the show even premiered by revealing his plans in the first teaser clip. Everyone’s favorite foul mouthed hockey player was going to be a fully formed person.
It’s obvious Keeso drew inspiration from some of the best sports flicks of all time when writing the show. If you’ve ever wondered what a classic sports movie like Major League or Slap Shot would look like when pulled through a Letterkenny lens, then you are in luck.
We last saw our titular character leaving the borders of the town of Letterkenny for the rural town of Sudbury. Without giving away heavy spoilers to the show, things pick up with Shoresy on a Senior AAA league hockey team. The team is in last place and he, the only player on the team that seems to care, is quickly charged with turning the franchise around or it will cease to exist.
As the de-facto captain of the team Shoresy recruits four hockey veterans to help him win – former pro lacrosse player Goodleaf, a 3rd round NHL pick turned rapper Dolo, Newfoundland’s Hitchcock, and a former rival turned ally JJ Frankie JJ who is not only the pride of his hometown, he also has a skill with the ladies celebrity and non-celebrity alike. While this sets up for this group to be a goon squad, they end up just being damn good hockey players that prefer talking martinis, popcorn chicken, and Drumstick ice cream cones. They set out to recruit “The Jims,” a trio of tough natives to act as the team’s enforcers – Letterkenny’s version of The Hanson Brothers – and the Slap Shot influence comes further into focus.
In addition to telling an underdog story, the show also bears the responsibility of fleshing out a character who, until this point, was one note and served the singular purpose as being the foul-mouthed foil to two young hockey players in a small Canadian town. In Shoresy Keeso fleshes out and makes a well-rounded anti-hero that you want to root for. While he’s still world class when it comes to chirping, Shoresy doesn’t just speak in insults – a trope that would grow old fast – rather we get a more humanized version of the character with relationships beyond Riley and Jonesy’s moms. Shoresy problem solves, cares (in his own way) about others, is sweet on a lady, has complicated relationships, and plays mentor to the younger teammates. This character evolution needed to happen in order to carry a show longer than a few minutes let alone an entire 6 episode season.
But if you’re worried that we’ll get none of that world class chirping Shoresy is known for, don’t worry, he still flexes that muscle while reffing Friday night high school hockey games. We’re also treated to world class fighting, normally in slow motion set to a great soundtrack – this is still the world of Letterkenny after all. But it never gets repetitive. In fact Shoresy takes the trope of hockey fighting and turns it on its head. The show’s biggest fight moment is hilariously skewed through the eyes of a locked wide video shot as two announcers deliver the play-by-play in French.
Tonally, Shoresy doesn’t deviate far from the Letterkenny outline which should serve as a warm delight to fans. Tossing in references and callbacks to the show with not only phrases you’d recognize (Pitter Patter Paninis) and plenty of the expected Canadianisms. Also like the flagship show, Shoresy has heart, compassion, and is surprisingly progressive than initial judgements would suggest. With a supremely talented supporting cast that gets moments just as much as the show’s lead. Sanguinet a young player who grows into a competent team coach. The love interest journalist Laura Mohr who is on the receiving end of flirts from Shoresy rather than the probably-expected conquest talk we’d assume from talking about Riley and Jonesy’s mothers. Even the aforementioned hockey player recruits come with the assumption of a goon squad that is quickly put to rest. However, don’t mistake their kindess for weakness, they will still toss gloves for a donnybrook.
The show also dives into Shoresy’s personal life, we see where he lives, meet his foul mouthed bird, the shoe even dedicates a chunk of an early episode to introducing his adoptive family and father (Kids In The Hall’s Scott Thompson) giving him a backstory and family roots that can provide future stories. The success of the show is that the world of Sudbury is built fast and you want to visit it as often as possible.
The success of Shoresy is because it subverts expectations. What’s left is a great ensemble sports comedy that’s more wholesome than expected. Led by a raunchy character we initially fell in love with him for being the most foul person in the room, but now we love him for the character he’s become and world he lives in without sacrificing any of the wit or hilarity established in over the course of 10 Letterkenny seasons.
Season one of Shoresy is streaming now on Hulu.