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Reviving the 'Trailer Park'

BY ADAM GROMOTKA | SEPTEMBER 11, 2014 5:00 AM

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Some viewers might despise loveable, poorly educated antiheroes who display uncanny ingenuity. They might loathe sleeper comedies with genius writing that makes romance awkward and throws drama to the ground. They might hate laughing and feeling happy. For the rest of us, there’s “Trailer Park Boys.”

On Sept. 5, Netflix released a 10-episode season, reviving the series after it ended late in 2008. Veteran fans of the show will be pleased to know — if, for some inexplicable reason, they haven’t binged through the new episodes by now — that the new season does a satisfying job of preserving almost everything that made the first seven so great.

After watching the new season of “Arrested Development” trip over its shoes and helplessly flounder around on the ground, begging for a swift death, I was wary of how Netflix would handle itself. Cue the happy music.

The central theme and plot of the show have remained consistent with past seasons. We find ourselves again in SunnyVale Trailer Park, located in Nova Scotia, seeing the world through the eyes of a mockumentary camera crew as they follow main characters Ricky (Robb Wells), Julian (John Paul Tremblay), and Bubbles (Mike Smith). Trouble once again finds itself in the park, and it’s up to the boys to stop antagonists Sam Lusco (a “Caveman” played by Sam Tarasco) and Cyrus (a hair-slicking, revolver-touting, self-proclaimed badass played by Bernard Robichaud) from becoming majority shareholders and selling the neighborhood to developers.

It’s a classic underdog story. Good against evil, except that one of the heroes is trying to retire by selling weed hidden in the drywall of his trailer, another is running a questionably legitimate bar and gym (yes, gym), and the last is busy attempting to get his kitty-friendly “Shed and Breakfast” off the ground. Ex-park supervisor Jim Lahey (John Dunsworth) continues to battle with alcoholism and the reality of his aging body, a struggle both he and his kind-of boyfriend Randy (Patrick Roach) have to face together. The plot moves along with the familiar one-step-forward, three-steps-back pace of previous seasons.

Almost all of the original characters (save for one who was effectively killed off after season six) are back, as are their mannerisms, quirks, and how they interact. Some have aged, but the costuming and acting haven’t changed a bit. Ricky’s “Rickyisms” are as enjoyable as ever (“Where’s the whole lifetime supply of cigarettes and booze, huh? … Think that’ll just be water under the f***ing fridge?” he yells at the camera crew during the opening scene of the first episode), and Donny even makes a reappearance, yelling obscenities off-screen like the good, unseen neighbor that he is.

The series picks up right where it left off, and the transition couldn’t be smoother.

My only problem with the new season is the introduction of a new assistant park supervisor. It seems mildly unnatural, as is usually the case with the introduction of new characters late in the series, but he does provide necessary moments of plot progression, as well as a well-done recurring joke that viewers will have to look out for (it’s easy to spot).

Because I’m a fairly experienced fan, my point of view is perhaps a little biased. If you find yourself easily frustrated by a plot that goes nowhere fast, though I assure you that the comedy will persuade you not to care, “Trailer Park Boys” probably isn’t a show you’ll enjoy. The same goes for potential viewers who feel overly sensitive about the hilarity of booze, hard drugs, and swearing.

I’d also caution newer viewers to not binge-watch the entire season in one sitting, as I did for this assignment, because a brain unconditioned for this brand of comedy is prone to pulverization with overexposure. Viewers new to the show could first watch the new season and then work backwards in a Star Wars-like progression. The next season (they announced two) can’t come soon enough.


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