l.-r.: Julian, Bubbles, Ricky
I know that originally I was going to write about the mixed martial arts series, Kingdom, but it had too much of a Ray Donovan vibe, so I decided to write about Trailer Park Boys, a beloved series that I haven’t watched all episodes of but have watched dozens of them. The series started out with a movie pilot first in 1999, where the boys are introduced. Between 2001 and 2018, twelve seasons were made. Set mostly in Nova Scotia, Canada with also some in New Brunswick; but to be honest it doesn’t matter what geographical location it is set at because what matters is that it is set a trailer park. There is a wealth of very cool trivia on the show at imdb. This is one piece about “the” trailer park :
The first 4 seasons were filmed in different trailer parks in Nova Scotia, Canada. The pilot was filmed in Spryfield, Nova Scotia. The first season was filmed in Sackville, the second in Dartmouth, the third in Lakeside, the fourth in Dartmouth again (in a different park than the second). For the Christmas special and season 5 and onward, they have used a park they purchased in Dartmouth.
OK, where do I begin to talk about the varied residents of the fictional Sunnyvale Trailer Park?It’s probably best to introduce the three main characters, Ricky, Julian, and Bubbles, best friends from way back, all of them pretty shiftless petty criminals who love to smoke weed and scheme their harebrained schemes. Around them revolves an endlessly entertaining cast of characters. You wouldn’t think life in Sunnyvale could sustain a pilot movie and twelve seasons, but the comedic genius of creator, Mike Clatterburg, and through the comedic skills of the cast, its shine has not only been sustained but rebooted for new audiences to love and laugh with when Netflix added it to the roster.
John Paul Tremblay plays Julian. Dark hair, handsome, and always carrying a glass of rum and coke with clinking ice. He often comes up with ideas that sound like they might work if he had a crew that wasn’t so bat-sh*t crazy in their various ways. Inevitably, the plan goes awry, and if he and the crew are lucky all they get out of it is caught. Several times though, Julian is sent back to prison. He knows his boys will wait for him to get things going again once he’s out. Julian is fairly unlucky in love. He’s tried a few relationships but they aren’t sustained.
Rob Wells plays Ricky. Ricky is hands-down the most outrageous and shifty one of the three guys. Ricky has a potty mouth, and I’ll admit it took me a bit to get used to his profanity. Another bit of trivia from imdb about that:
Throughout Season 1 to Season 7, including the Christmas Special, but not the movies, the word “fuck” is said a total of 1,284 times (averaging 46 times an episode). The word “shit” is said a total of 967 times (averaging 31 an episode). From all uses of the words, 74.3% of the time, it is said from Ricky.
l.-r.: Lucy, Sarah (in the back,) Mrs. Leahy, and Trinity
Ricky is the only one of the three that has a family. His on again, off again girlfriend, Lucy, played by Lucy Decoutere, lives most of time with her friend, Sarah, played by Sarah Dunsworth, who is always trying to talk Lucy out of having anything to do with Ricky; yet the chemistry is strong between Ricky and Lucy and they always keep getting back with each other, if only for a night. Ricky and Lucy have a daughter, Trinity, played by Jeanna Harrison. Ricky adores Trinity and makes it his mission – when he’s not scheming with his buddies or in prison – to teach Trinity the ropes about life in the trailer park. The things he teaches her are wildly inappropriate for a child or anyone who hopes to lead a law-abiding lifestyle. Ricky’s dad, Ray, played by Barrie Dunn, also lives in the park. Ray is in a wheelchair and collects disability checks from the government, but at some point you begin to wonder just how disabled Ray is. Another aspect of Ricky is his educational aspiration. Ricky has only made it to Grade 6, and his dream is to go on and get his Grade 7. Finally, Ricky is a smooth talker extraordinaire. You will be amazed at the things Ricky is able to talk his way out of!
Mike Smith plays Bubbles. I think part of the reason Bubbles has the nickname he does is his thick coke bottle bottom glasses which look like big bubbles over his eyes; the glasses give the effect of blowing his eyes way out of proportion to his face through magnification. He has a particularly humorous and endearing way of talking. Bubbles lives in a garden shed in somebody’s yard and has two great passions: shopping carts and kitties. He nabs the beat up carts that have rolled into the gully from the edge of the mall parking lot. I know he fixes them up and I think he sells them back to the mall. Bubbles is a soft touch for kittens and has turned his shed into both a sanctuary and a shrine to them. Bubbles has a strict moral sense about things and often speaks the voice of reason when it comes to some of Ricky and Julian’s schemes. Even so, he can be convinced to bend a little, and when he’s in, he’s in all the way. His love for his buddies is consistent and unshakable. In a later season, we meet Bubbles’ alter ego in the form of wise-cracking and cruel ventriloquist puppet named Conky.
Now that the three “boys” and a few others are introduced, it is time to meet some of the other residents of the park.
Randy and Mr. Jim Leahy
John Dunsworth (Sarah’s real-life dad) plays Mr. Jim Leahy. Jim is married to the owner of Sunnyvale, Mrs. Barb Leahy, played by Shelley Thompson. Jim is a “whole hog” functional alcoholic that is seldom, if-ever, sober. Jim is the manager of the trailer park, who is ever-vigilant about trying to bust the boys while they are carrying out their schemes, but is also extremely unsuccessful in doing so. They are just too wily for him. Jim is also gay. Jim’s somewhat younger lover is Randy, played by Patrick Roach. Randy has been a gigolo in the past, regardless of gender. He’s an opportunist. Randy’s trademark is white pants that ride under his big beer gut, which is always in view as Randy seldom (never?) wears a shirt. I can’t remember if Randy drinks, and it seems he’s trying to get Jim to slow down. Randy gets very sexually adventurous with Mr. Leahy. He also acts as Mr. Leahy’s joined-at-the-hip (in more ways than one!) sidekick in trying to bust the boys. When Mrs. Leahy catches on about Jim and Randy, they break up and she starts a relationship with Sam, played by Sam Tarasco. Sam is a veterinarian that can be handy to patch the boys up when they get into scrapes. Sam likes to grill out and have picnics.
Cory and Trevor
Just when you think Ricky, Julian, and Bubbles have reached the bottom (or is it the top?) of the trailer park food chain, there is Cory, played by Cory Bowles, and Trevor, played by Michael Jackson. Cory and Trevor idolize Ricky and Julian and are on stand-by to assist in carrying out scams with them. Most of the time they don’t question their roles; yet even when something tells them it’s not a good idea, it doesn’t take much convincing to get their help.
Tyrone and J-Roc
Aspiring rappers J-Roc, played by Jonathan Torrens and Tyrone, played by Tyrone Parsons, have their own entrepreneurial side schemes going on which are usually separate from the boys’ but sometimes they intersect.
Last but not least are law enforcement, who keep getting called by Mr. Leahy, who used to be a police officer and so has somewhat of an “in” with them, to investigate the crimes the boys are involved with, but again, the boys are too slick for the law. Officer George Green, played by George Green is one; Detective Ted Johnson, played by Jim Swansburg, is another.
The format of the show is that a camera crew follows the boys around to document what living in a trailer park is like. Without going into the nitty gritty of the plots, now that you’ve met the characters you can imagine what kinds of hilarious plots they get engaged in. Although the show clearly is making fun of people who live in trailer parks, and with the folks in this show, they are definitely worthy of being made fun of, you also get to love each and every one of them.
I don’t think you can find these DVDs at your local library. They are being streamed on Netflix. You can probably find some out on YouTube. They are well-worth hunting down.
Etc.: Warning: extreme profanity; drug (weed) and crime-oriented themes; LGBTQIA+ friendly; some crazy gun play
Awards: 4 wins and 22 nominations
Warning: lots of profanity in the video
This post was originally published on Max’ Power Pop Blog.