Canadians are fucking crazy. I’ve recently taken under the better portions of Michael Dowse’s career, Goon and both Fubar flicks, and have been constantly urged to check out something called Trailer Park Boys. I of course was stubborn and did not oblige, because it looked kind of dumb. When I finally decided to check it out, I was proven right- it is dumb, but brilliant as such. If you aren’t familiar, allow me to explain. Julian (John Paul Tremblay) and Ricky (Robb Wells, the Canadian Danny McBride) just got out of prison for… something, they pulled their guns and began firing in broad daylight (which is something that pretty much everyone in this show is prone to doing.) Now that they’re out, they arrive back home at their Trailer Park, filled with their friends and family, including Bubbles (Mike Smith), an industrial kinda guy with a penchant for cats and shopping carts, Ricky’s perpetually drunk dad (Barrie Dunn), Ricky’s ex and her friend (Lucy Decoutere and Sarah Dunsworth), a whole ass-load of friendly losers, two kids who are constantly running around and breaking bottles on peoples’ cars while they’re still in them, and the Park’s manager Jim Lahey (John Dunsworth) and partner Randy (Patrick Roach), who never wears a shirt… ever. Daily life in the trailer park consists of Ricky getting in a fight, Julian trying to break it up, a 5 of rum and coke in hand, Jim the manager trying to arrest someone despite his lack of actual power, and someone getting shot at. And yet these idiots get theirselves stuck in even stranger situations, and watching such is probably one of the most entertaining things I’ve seen in quite some time.
Trailer Park Boys is a straight-up fun show. It’s got excellent writing complimented and even improved by a talented comedic cast that seems entirely capable, individually, and even better as a group. Our two leads are great as a duo, because of the “straight-man” and “lug-head” dynamic they share, but as part of a whole body and family of weirdos, it’s just a beautiful and hilarious thing to witness as they collide with each other, causing bullets and bottles to fly. I love the feeling of community set up, quite obviously, within this trailer park, allowing the characters to communicate and intertwine in some pretty damn hilarious ways. Of course, it’s that the writing and direction of situations, which is painted as “reverse Cops” with essentially the same tones and pacing of shows like The Office and Parks and Recreation (interviews abound), are in fact brilliant and constantly surprising. There’s a subtle amount of self-awareness to be found, especially in calling out specific running gags, but this world is just so damn alive and unique that you can’t help but get drawn in from the get-go. It’s so… damn stupid, and yet so enrapturing for such. Self-contained and filled to the brim with colorful idiots, it’s a show that pretty much allows you to shut your mind off and enjoy, and when you could actually be attentive, you’ll be subject to some brilliant quiet gags and jokes. But the aesthetic and characters are what really makes the show.
These characters are just so goddamned funny as their own entities that they could do absolutely NOTHING and still make for an entertaining program. This is especially thanks to the documentary visuals and editing, which are sheer comedic genius, and paint things as emotional occasionally (whether it is out of the dumbest places ever, using one of the best sentimental piano cues every damn time, or legitimate), while still maintaining a conscientiously observant eye, again, a la Cops. The camera is sentient and as much of a character as the ones it is capturing. Often, the video crew following these guys is actually acknowledged by the characters. This is something that I don’t think is utilized enough in these kinds of shows. In ways, it feels like a legitimate documentary, despite the absurdity in context. It also helps that the performers somehow have this ability to be natural and awkward in the presence of the camera, like a bad actor, or normal person would be during uncomfortable situations (with the added bonus of this being on camera.) These methods aren’t only impressive but make things even funnier.
Season 1 (and apparently 2, thanks to Netflix’s crappy episode structuring) is an absolutely delightful watch, especially because it just caught me off guard at pretty much every turn. I hope the other seasons live up to it, as well as the films, and I’m sure that they will… did… I’m kind of late to the party. If you are too, then don’t worry- this show is shaping up (to me) to be a great, reliable, and consistently entertaining comedy that’ll have you smiling ear to ear.
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