Wednesday, March 11, 2009
An Unabashed Plug: Trailer Park Boys
"Trailer Park Boys," a long-running Canadian comedy about petty criminals in Nova Scotia, has finally made it to U.S. televisions. The show started running on DirecTV's T101 Network early in February, and if you can handle a low-rent version of "The Sopranos" played for laughs and minus the body count, you owe it to yourself to check it out.
The show, which ran for seven seasons plus a couple of specials and a theatrical movie from 2001-2008, is centered around the misadventures of three guys with "big plans and small brains," as the show's tagline notes. Dim-bulb Ricky, sharper operator Julian, and oddball with a big heart Bubbles are the core cast, surrounded by a Sunnyvale Trailer Park full of friends, enemies, relations and flunkies, all brought to you via a fictional documentary camera crew following the guys around through one scheme after another. In the words of series creator Mike Clattenburg, it's "'COPS' from the point of view of the criminals."
"TPB" is a genuine phenomenon north of the border. The show has been largely off the air for the better part of the last two years, but the three leads still draw sellout crowds across Canada for in-character appearances. As I found out during a visit to Vancouver a couple of years back, the quickest way to strike up a friendly conversation with a Canuck under forty is to ask them about "Trailer Park Boys."
My wife bought me a season's worth of "Trailer Park" DVDs as a gift, after I'd heard that Rush's Alex Lifeson appeared in an episode and idly put a set on my Amazon wish list. Lifeson turned out to not be in that particular season (he plays himself in one episode of season 3, and a cop in a TPB theatrical movie that came out in 2007), but the show was so funny we got hooked anyway and started accumulating more and more of them on disc (if you get hooked yourself and don't want to wait, check out the dirt-cheap pricing at CDPlus.com, which kicks Amazon's tail for Canadian content).
Now, fair warning--"Trailer Park Boys" is a low-rent "Sopranos" in more ways than one. Odds are you're not going to want to watch it with your kids in the room. The gloriously-unbleeped language would easily land the show an "R" rating, and the Boys' attitudes towards drug distribution and use make the guys at Reason look like Bill Bennett (petty or not, this is a show about criminals).
But oh, my, it's funny. "Trailer Park Boys" is easily the funniest television comedy I've ever seen. It's funnier than "Seinfeld," funnier than "M*A*S*H," funnier than "The Simpsons"--and it was made for pennies on the dollar (Canadian pennies, at that) compared to all of the above.
So if you've got a DirecTV dish, and if you can handle a whole lot of f-bombs, check it out. The Boys have got some major-league laughs for you, in between their stints in jail.