DVD REVIEW: Trailer Park Boys – Big Plans, Little Brains: The Complete 1st and 2nd Seasons

Part one of my new series:  the Trailer Park Boys complete television series.  In anticipation of the forthcoming seasons 8 & 9, we’re going to be taking a look at the original series that started it all.

For those who don’t know Trailer Park Boys, there are some serious rock n’ roll connections throughout the series.  Stick around and we’ll be talking about Sebastian Bach, Helix, Rush of course, and plenty more.

TPB1-2TRAILER PARK BOYS – Big Plans, Little Brains: The Complete 1st and 2nd Seasons (2002 Alliance Atlantis)

Julian is an ex-con who calls Sunnyvale Trailer Park in Nova Scotia, Canada home. He has just been released from jail, and he’s vowed to clean up his life.  Go straight.  Ditch his bad influences.  The premise of Trailer Park Boys is that a camera crew has offered to make a documentary about Julian’s life, and will be following Julian around the trailer park.  Julian is determined to stay straight and not go back behind bars. His best friend Ricky, however, doesn’t have that same commitment to the straight life.

Trailer Park Boys took a season to find its feet, like many other series.  By the end of the first season (only six episodes), it had definitely done so.  Hang on folks, because the first and second seasons are just the beginning of what will turn out to be a pretty crazy series of mockumentary episodes.

In the beginning, the character of Bubbles (easily the funniest and most lovable of the boys) isn’t in the spotlight. Obviously, Mike Clattenberg and company realized Bubbles’ potential partway through the first season and began writing him larger parts. Also introduced in this season are Mr. Lahey and Randy, the trailer park supervisor and his assistant, who are not quite as drunk and stoned as they would get later on. Love interests Lucy and Sarah are here, not yet the adversaries to Ricky and Julian that they would become. Cory and Trevor are sidekicks (aka “jail cover”), and J-Roc and his “Roc-Pile” make their debut. Characters introduced that are later forgotten include Levi and Mrs. Peterson (who is like a grandmother to Julian). The dangerous Cyrus also makes his debut in the first episode, as a recurring antagonist.

The story arc:  Ricky and Julian return from jail to find the park has changed — Cyrus has taken over. All the criminal activities that Julian used to run in the park have now been assumed by Cyrus.  He’s even occupying Julian’s trailer.  The boys must somehow get rid of Cyrus without going back to jail. In the meantime, Julian decides to head to community college, and that means Ricky is persona-non-grata around him. J-Roc makes some cash on the side making “greasy” porno tapes, which Ricky thinks might be a good thing for him to star in (it’s not).  It’s all a build up to Ricky proposing to Lucy to finally be a good father and family man. It all comes crashing down at Ricky’s wedding which closes season 1.

While season 1 takes a while to build up speed, season 2 is full-on TPB. The verbal trainwrecks known as “Rickisms” abound.   Bubbles has become integrated as one of the main three. The get-rich quick schemes are now fully formed (or at least as fully-formed as they ever get on this show) and Lahey is a total fucking drunk. Season 2 sure hit the ground running with full confidence and skill.

TPB12_0002Yes, I used the word skill — to execute dialogue off-the-cuff like this and create such lovable characters out of criminals takes skill. The execution of this show is such that they make it look easy. I once heard it said that you have to be really smart to pull off a really dumb character.

Once again, Ricky and Julian have returned from jail.  Once again, the park has changed for the worse.  Lahey’s drunk and in neglect of his duties as trailer park supervisor.  As a consequence, the park has turned to shit.  Sam Losco (who lives in a camper, not even a full trailer) is seeking to be elected the new supervisor.  This would be very bad for Ricky and Julian.  With drunk Lahey around, it’s easy for Ricky to grow dope.  Sam Losco won’t make it that simple for them. New character Barb Lahey (Mr. Lahey’s ex-wife and owner of the park) and Treena Lahey, played by newcomer (!) Ellen Page add a new element to the show.

Since Lahey’s drunk out of his tree, it’s the perfect time for Ricky to start growing dope again (“Freedom 35, boys!”). All is almost derailed by some greasy Bible pimps, some dope-eating insects, new antagonist Sam Losco, and once again, Cyrus.  Other schemes this season involve J-Roc’s illegal night club in the trailer park, which does not go according to plan.

Lots of DVD bonus features are included, and the best one is the Tragically Hip video for “The Darkest One” starring the boys and Don Cherry! Great song. Lots of alternate and extended takes are included, and as an easter egg, the very first Bubbles short called “Cart Boy”.

The only negative thing I have to say is regarding the packaging. My case broke the day I brought it home, and so did those of some friends of mine.

5/5 stars

Winner – Best use of a crane shot in a music video – 2003 LeBrain Music Video Awards

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12 comments

  1. I’ve just watched this lot for the first time and I totally loved it. I’m amazed how consistently good it was for the duration, I hope they can keep it up with the next two series. I did miss Corey and Trevor when they left though, are they coming back for the next run?

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    1. I’m going to get into them during my review of Season 7. Corey is back — Trevor is not. I’ll be posting links as to why that is.

      In the upcoming season, Corey is teamed up with Jacob as his new buddy.

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        1. Absolutely. But I also didn’t mind season 7 — when the new “jail cover” was Jacob and the two “alien Trevors”. I thought they were used very hilariously in season 7. But we’re getting ahead!

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        2. No, I still thought it was good too. But after watching all those series with them you couldn’t help but miss them!

          I liked the recurring theme of Julian’s constant answer machine messages in the first series. You really felt for him being constantly harassed.

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        3. Good point. I didn’t of that. Of course after the first season, he’s back to being a criminal again, doesn’t matter if anybody’s harassing him or not. But Lucy sure was on his case in this season.

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    1. When I saw “The Boys” live at The Centre in The Square, Sam was out front selling autographed pictures. Everyone walking by, including us, were yelling at him “Fucking Caveman” and he was yelling back. All in good fun. Made a good start to the night. It was an awesome show if you ever get to see them live. It was great being able to yell out swear words at such a stuck up place as The Centre that is usually full of suit wearing old farts watching the symphony.

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        1. When I saw them in Hamilton, Brian Vollmer went on the stage for a bit with them. I saw him in the crowd before the show, and didn’t go up and talk to him. I should have, but never did. I must have been the only guy that recognised him, unless they were all like me and didn’t want to bother him.
          The show was awesome. We were front row. The guy they pulled up on stage was even more stoned and stupid than Ricky. Bubbles made fun of him endlessly. I still have the Drunk, High and Unemployed tour shirt. It would be awesome for Sausagefest.

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        2. Vollmer is so down to earth. The time I saw Helix at Molly Bloom’s, he was personally saying hello to everybody at the door. He shook my hand and said, “Thanks for coming. I have a lot of people to talk to tonight, but have a good time.”

          I thought that was pure class.

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