“Trailer Park Boys” is one of the dumbest comedy shows you will ever see, but it has a tremendous amount of heart and creativity when it places Ricky, Julian, and Bubbles in the most greasy situations possible. Created in 1995 by Mike Clattenburg, “Trailer Park Boys” follows the misadventures of three “recidivist assholes” from Sunnyvale Trailer Park in Nova Scotia—despite legitimate attempts to stay out of jail, their love of weed, booze, guns, and money always involves increasingly more ridiculous cons.
After a series of black and white shorts and two feature-length films, “Trailer Park Boys” was picked up by the Canadian network Showcase Television in 2001; “Trailer Park Boys” was the second mockumentary-style television show to ever air, just three years after ABC Australia’s “The Games.” Its unique filming style, highly explicit language, and absurd premise quickly launched “Trailer Park Boys” to cult status and, eventually, a worldwide phenomenon.
With the Season 7 finale on Showcase Television, “Trailer Park Boys” was given a proper sendoff, but the series was unexpectedly revived by Netflix in 2014—Season 10 was released in March 2016. In addition, Netflix has developed multiple “Trailer Park Boys” specials, miniseries, and films in addition to Season 11, which is finished filming and expected to air in 2017. The popularity of “Trailer Park Boys” is apparent despite its lack of depth—even Snoop Dog, Alex Lifeson of Rush, Tom Arnold, and Doug Benson have done cameos. The strength of “Trailer Park Boys” comes from its surprisingly powerful comedy elements and growing cast of familiar characters.
Back to Con College
In terms of plot, there is not much depth in “Trailer Park Boys;” in fact, nothing in “Trailer Park Boys” has any depth, but it works to the show’s benefit. Season 1 begins with Ricky and Julian, played by Robb Wells and John Paul Tremblay respectively, getting out of jail after a failed bank robbery.
Ricky is the idiot of the group who loves to smoke weed, clash with authority, shoot his gun, eat chicken fingers, and spend quality time with his wife and daughter—most people will say that Ricky is the highlight of the series and his hilarious, volatile nature makes him the most consistently ridiculous character.
Meanwhile, Julian is arguably the leader of the group and is more levelheaded, but ultimately not very smart either. With a rum and coke constantly in hand (even when driving or going to the doctor), Julian tries to embody a badass persona and dresses like Patrick Swayze.
The third member of the trio, Bubbles played by Mike Smith, is the smart one, but is bullied by Ricky and Julian into joining their idiotic cons. If Ricky is the funniest character in the series, Bubbles is the most iconic—his coke bottle glasses, odd speech impediment, love of kittens, and occasionally psychotic breaks make him the most endearing character in a series about mostly-despicable people.
The rest of the main cast is similarly memorable and one-note; for example, John Dunsworth plays Mr. Lahey, the trailer park supervisor who becomes unhinged with the slightest drop of liquor. Similarly, Mr. Lahey’s assistant and gay lover, Randy played by Patrick Roach, never wears a shirt to cover his cheeseburger-filled gut. While the characters on “Trailer Park Boys” are essentially caricatures, their instantly recognizable qualities work effectively as jokes in and of themselves.
In later seasons, more funny characters emerge, but the conflict between the trailer park boys and Mr. Lahey is always a central plot element. The boys want to make enough money to live comfortably in the trailer park and do so by smuggling, stealing, and conning, but Mr. Lahey wants to send them back to jail before they inevitably destroy order in the park. All of the 10 Seasons end with either the boys or Mr. Lahey being sent to jail and the crimes are more ridiculous each time.
Boys to Men
After 10 seasons, “Trailer Park Boys” continues to retain the same level of quality from its early seasons and that is a feat in and of itself. Mr. Lahey and Randy evolve from season to season as their attempts to catch the trailer park boys become more dire, but Ricky, Julian, and Bubbles are essentially the same characters from the series premiere. This concrete identity makes it easy to care for the trio even as the situation around them becomes more unrealistic.
In addition, the actors are now 16 years older than when the first episode aired and the fact that these middle-aged men are still up to the same shenanigans also leads to more laughs. The trailer park boys have learned nothing on their “journey” and this makes the show much more comical from a meta perspective.
Frig Off Until Next Season
While there is not much plot to dissect, “Trailer Park Boys” is infinitely watchable and strong comedy escapism. If you are at all interested in the series, I highly recommend that you watch and don’t take it too seriously—think “The Office” set in a trailer park with a lot more swearing and crime. I might be late to Sunnyvale trailer park, but I look forward to reviewing Season 11 of “Trailer Park Boys” when it airs later this year; the boys can’t return soon enough.