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Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

The Beginner's Guide to the Canadian Mockumentary Series 'Trailer Park Boys'

Last month, Netflix announced that the Canadian comedy series Trailer Park Boys is returning for an eighth and ninth season on the streaming network after a seven-year hiatus. While the show became a big hit in Canada, it has yet to gain the same level of superfandom down in the States, but that might be about to change with the arrival of new seasons and, as of yesterday, the availability of seasons 1-7 on Netflix Instant. Whether you're unfamiliar with the series or a diehard TPB fan, here's a brief guide to Mike Clattenburg's misfit Canadian world of the ex-cons, weed-growers, and kitty lovers of Sunnyvale.

For the uninitiated, Trailer Park Boys is a mockumentary series written by and starring John Paul Tremblay, Robb Wells, and Mike Smith as a trio of friends named Julian, Ricky, and Bubbles living in Nova Scotia's fictional Sunnyvale Trailer Park. The television show evolved after series creator/director Mike Clattenburg cast the guys in a 1998 black-and-white short called One Last Shot followed by the Trailer Park Boys feature film the following year, which was screened at the Atlantic Film Festival and eventually led to the group landing a series order from Canada's Showcase network. While the original Trailer Park Boys film focused mainly on Julian and Ricky, for the series they added Mike Smith as Bubbles, a profane but likable lover of cats who starred in Clattenburg's 1995 short The Cart Boy.

The basic premise behind the mockumentary format is simple: After a fortune teller tells Julian that he's going to die soon, he decides to hire a documentary crew to film his everyday life to later serve as a warning for anyone considering a similar life of drinking, drugs, and crime. During the show's run on Canadian TV from 2001-2007, most of the boys' daily troubles revolved around getting away with petty crimes, drunk driving, and their evolving weed-growing and hash business without getting caught by alcoholic trailer park supervisor Jim Lahey (played by Canadian thespian John Dunsworth). They're supported by a rotating cast of equally sleazy Sunnyvale neighbors including Jonathan Torrens as white rapper J-Roc and a young Ellen Page as Lahey's daughter and Ricky's one-time friend Treena. It's brash, it's full of F-bombs, and it takes Canadian-style white trashiness to the extreme.

Here's a video breakdown of some of TPB's best characters:

Ricky

Julian

Bubbles

Lahey

Randy

J-Roc

Corey and Trevor

Cyrus

Treena

Conky

In addition to the television series, the TPB crew have also produced a handful of specials, feature films (including the upcoming Don't Legalize It), and live shows in both Canada and the US. Along with the release of the seven original seasons and upcoming new ones, Netflix is also releasing three standalone specials Community Service Special, Swearnet Special, and Trailer Park Boys Xmas after their theatrical releases this year. In the meantime, TPB fans can now enjoy the series all in one place while new fans can find it on the streaming network, and as Ricky would say, that's how you get two birds stoned at once.

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