Trailer Park Boys unleashed its 8th season on Netflix last Friday and many of us spent the weekend mainlining the 10 ravishing new episodes, our first chance to return to a full season in Sunnyvale since 2007.
For the uninitiated: Trailer Park Boys is a Canadian mockumentary that centers on a tight knit group of friends who've grown up together in an extremely trashy trailer park. Each season revolves around their attempts to maintain a laid back lifestyle by any means necessary (stealing and selling drugs) and thereby clashing with park supervisor/alcoholic hater Jim Lahey. Each season the boys move inexorably into solving their problems with one big, outlandishly complicated drug score, and then usually wind up in jail. Entwined throughout this ironclad structure are some of the most ludicrous visuals and profane dialogue you'll ever enjoy on the small screen.
Imagine the consistently taut plotting and surprising humor of the Simpsons set in Desperate Living's landscape of trash and indignantly crass characters and you've basically got Trailer Park Boys. Also it's filmed almost entirely outside, which is just straight-up visually refreshing.
When I first saw TPB I was in my early twenties, easily impressed, and I thought it had an alternative comedy sensibility right up there with The State and Reno 911 and The (British) Office (which it actually pre-dated). Now that I'm back at Sunnyvale as a wizened, hardened thirty-something, I'm still impressed: Trailer Park Boys still channels a joyful energy that makes what you're watching not so much a performance as a happening. The people onscreen are still having fun, and so are we.
There are precious few examples of characters who continue parallel lives offscreen, aging through the decades alongside their audiences. It's crazy to see Ricky seven years older in his same black-and-white houndstooth button-up shirt, still rolling around in the same horrifically burnt-out car, but it viscerally amplifies the reality of him as a character: fuck, Ricky's not just going to throw away a decent shirt just 'cause it's thirteen years old, boys!
It's mind-blowing to see Jeanna Harrison, who played Trinity as a little kid, all grown up and across from her onscreen dad. There's a weight to the characters that maybe only 13 years of existing can achieve.
Netflix's new season TPB does not stray from the formula that worked so well in the past, maybe because series creator Mike Clattenburg wasn't on board for the 8th season. Writers/ actors John Paul Tremblay, Robb Wells and Mike Smith (Julian, Ricky and Bubbles, respectively) bought him out in an amicable deal, and their decision to hit the beats he developed is probably a very savvy one.
As a critic part of me feels like I need to throw in the phrase "more of the same," but as a fan I need to amend that with, "fuck yeah, more of the same."