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Mennonites are a familiar sight in Letterkenny, particularly members of the Dyck family (pronounced "DIK"):

  • Noah Dyck (patriarch) played by Jonathan Torrens
  • Anita Dyck (matriarch) played by Sarah Wayne Callies
  • Lovina Dyck (Noah's sister) played by Brooke Bruce
  • Charity Dyck (daughter) played by Cora Eckert
  • Chastity Dyck (daughter) played by Olivia Colilli
  • Unnamed son #1
  • Unnamed son #2

The Dyck family represents a popular characterization of the Old Order Mennonites, who have a sizeable presence in southwestern Ontario. They are a conservative branch of the larger Christian Anabaptist tradition which follows the teachings of pacifist reformer Menno Simons. There is considerable diversity among the various Mennonite groups, but in broad terms there is a belief in separation from the world, simplicity of lifestyle, and communal salvation. This is seen in the Dycks' traditional garb, plain speech, and forgoing of modern conveniences like the automobile or power tools. It is also evident in Noah and Anita's ignorance of slang and pop culture, leading to multiple unintentional double entendres that embarrass their conversation partners in the secular world.

Daryl, does my daughters' warm sticky pie not appeal to you…? Well then let us enjoy them on this day, as a community, with our mouths. — Noah

As an intentional community—members must affirmatively choose to join—some leeway is given to adolescents to experience the world outside the community before they commit. The Dyck children are afforded the same lenience when they reach adolescence, attending a bush party thrown at the farm (Bush Party Season), and Charity and Chastity therafter monopolizing the attentions of Reilly and Jonesy (Dyck's Slip Out).

Relationships[]

The Hicks[]

Wayne and Katy have been on good terms with the Mennonite community near Letterkenny, each treating them with honesty and respect, and Wayne frequently praising their speed (Dyck's Slip Out). They and Daryl do complain privately about their stinginess. Squirrely Dan, in contrast, harbors a strong prejudice against them, referring to them as in-bred "schmellies," owing to a traumatic experience in his youth where a Mennonite boy unfairly beat him in a race and denied him a chance to pursue Lovina Dyck romantically. Dan overcomes this later on when he delivers the Dyck daughters back to their parents (Dyck's Slip Out), and is given a second chance to pursue Lovina (Yew!).

Things do not work out between Lovina and Dan, who is sexually frustrated with her squareness (National Senior Hockey Championship). His other interest, Ellen, wears him out, however, and before long he is happy to go on walks with Lovina again (Yard Sale Saturday).

The Hicks are not free from prejudices about the "Menno-Nappers," as Daryl in particular is inclined to believe a rumour that men outside the community are invited to have sex with Mennonite women to expand their gene pool, and that this is done through a hole cut in a bedsheet. When Noah asks them for help with "banging" and "pounding" in a job "only men can do," they agree to assist, but with some trepidation. It is not until they are rewarded with warm pies that Daryl realizes his error (Holy Sheet).

The Hockey Players[]

Reilly, Jonesy, Ron, and Dax meet the teenage Dycks at Wayne's bush party, and pursue with gusto (Bush Party Season). Ron and Dax appear to have quick hookups with the boys, but Charity and Chastity prove more attached to Jonesy and Reilly, monopolizing their time and sexual energy for several days, forcing them to pause their "Takedown Tourney" (Dyck's Slip Out).

Noah and Anita are throughly scandalized when Katy tells them their daughters were last seen in the company of hockey players; Anita is infuriated when when reference is made to their activities together. Nevertheless, with the help of Dan's mediation, the young Dycks are welcomed back into the hands of the Mennonite community, and no vengeance is pursued against the hockey players.

The Skids[]

Stewart and Roald display contempt for the Mennonite's beliefs and way of life, even implying to Anita they have performed salacious acts with her daughters. Anita, utterly unintimidated by the Skids, returns their taunt with the promise of divine retribution at the end of days.

Behind the Scenes[]

Mennonites in Canada number about 200,000, and are a common sight in Listowel, the town upon which Letterkenny is loosely based.

Noah Dyck is bearded, but most Old Order Mennonites are clean-shaven. Beards are more characteristic of the Mennonites' theological cousins, the Amish.

The myth that members of sexually conservative religious minorities—Hutterites, Mormons, but most commonly Orthodox Jews—have sex through a sheet, as referenced in the episode Holy Sheet, is a not uncommon trope in pop culture. This is how intercourse is done in the dystopian Gilead of The Handmaid's Tale, for example, and is lampooned in a much lighter way in the fourth season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, in which Larry David is invited to bed by his Hasidic dry cleaner. It is the topic of the third episode of the Strange Religion podcast, "The Myth of the Hole in the Sheet."

Appearances[]

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