Review by Jonathan Berk
Fans of Letterkenny probably knew all about the elusive Shoresy before season 1 of the Canadian comedy's spin-off. Creator and star Jared Keeso crafted a foul-mouthed hockey player who tormented Reily and Jonesy, but whose face audiences never saw. That humor unsurprisingly carried over into the spinoff series — but what probably surprised everyone was the sheer heart the show and character brought. Season 2 continues in this fashion, giving Shoresy (Keeso) and his teammates the opportunity to explore various elements of their characters. Add in a compelling hockey storyline, and the notably funny moments we’ve come to expect from Keeso created content continue to make this spin-off a standout.
The season starts with a quick update of what’s happened since the previous season, and it appears that Shoresy has lived up to his promise of never losing again. The Bulldogs have found success, and we join them during a potentially record-breaking winning season. We’re reminded that when Shoresy first joined the team, it was likely to fold, and he fought to keep it alive. Now, the team is thriving, and the tension is built around how the guys keep focused with their newfound popularity.
Shoresy is hands-down the greatest shit-talker out there. The show gives us great montages of Shoresy just cracking jokes at the expense of other characters. A great one in episode 2 features Shoresy “encouraging” his teammates while they’re in the gym. He is either dissing their form or offering other, more challenging exercises they could be doing. They seem unphased by the relentless onslaught of words spewing out of their captain's mouth while he just sits and watches them break a sweat. These are a highlight of the character, and there is no shortage of this humor.
When you step back and look at the structure of this series, it becomes all the more impressive. There are only six episodes per season — running around 20 minutes an episode. Nonetheless, almost every character gets something to do, a storyline to develop, and some degree of an arc. They aren’t all complex, but we get a real sense of who these guys are — at least in an archetypal way — and the show plays into that.
The characters we started to get to know and love in season 1 — Nat (Tasya Teles), Sanguinet (Harlan Blayne Kytwayhat), Hitchcock (Terry Ryan), Michaels (Ryan McDonell), Ziigwan (Blair Lamora), Miigwan (Keilani Elizabeth Rose), Dolo (Jonathan-Ismaël Diaby), Michaels (Ryan McDonell), Fish (Jacob Smith), Goody (Andrew Antsanen), Frankie (Max Bouffard), and the Jims — are all, somehow, developed. That’s next to our main character and his interactions with them all, mind you. It’s kind of a miracle that such a compact show can deliver so much while also playing around with its style.
The presentation for most of the series is understandably straightforward camera work. However, there will also be some innovative stylistic flourishes. While fights break out during one hockey game, the camera cuts to a point-of-view perspective from the Bulldogs' bench, putting the audience in the skates of the team. There are music-led “hero” sequences that break the flow of the show to give us an almost Spike Lee style, staring-down-the-barrel-of-the-camera interlude, just to remind the audience how cool these guys are… or at least how cool they think they are. These elements are sprinkled in to break tradition in a way that fits the vibe of the show. Substance takes priority, but the team behind the production know how to make the show “feel” cool.
Shoresy is undoubtedly one of the better spin-off series out there. Keeso took a character who was nothing more than a faceless punchline dispenser and turned him into a lovable screw-up. He has passion pouring out of his foul-mouthed hockey player, which is equal parts inspirational and endearing. At the time of this writing, I’ve seen five of the six episodes for season 2, and frankly, I can’t wait for the finale. Fans of the series will be pleased with the continued standard of quality, and the direction the story seems to be taking us.
The entire season 2 of Shoresy will be streaming on Hulu on October 27. Five out of six episodes reviewed.