Thank you Netflix for saving the Trailer Park Boys. It hasn’t been smooth sailing, but ever since the Boys returned to Sunnyvale with the excellent Season 8 (remember Orangie?), the show has continued unhindered by cast defections. Season 11 is the first without Lucy Decoutere (Lucy) and Jonathan Torrens (J-Roc). After already losing such favourites as Trevor (Mike Jackson) and Ray (Barrie Dunn), I can understand why some fans may have said enough’s enough. Every show has its peak. For some that would be the first three seasons of Trailer Park Boys. For others, we have rolled with the changes. Not all fans were unanimous in the acceptance of newer characters such as Col. Dancer, Don/Donna, and Candy. For this season, those characters have been dropped. The core park residents are now Ricky, Julian and Bubbles accompanied by Randy, Lahey, Sarah, Cory, Jacob and Trinity. Little baby Motel is around, as is Barb Lahey.
Continuing a storyline from Season 10, Julian has vanished. Bubbles is doing well now, having gone legit selling his own brand of organic pizza sauce. It’s a hit, and a restaurant owner is willing to pay wholesale. He has the whole park working together growing vegetables, contributing to the well-being of Sunnyvale and its residents. All is well, but Bubbles does miss Julian. Jim Lahey is sober and supervising, having truly changed this time. He and Randy are planning to get married, while Randy is vying to get on the police force. The absence of Lucy and J-Roc is explained satisfactorily.
When Ricky and Bubbles (now mobile with his own little truck) discover that Julian is now a lobster fisherman (or is he?) living in a shipping container, they go to confront him. Ultimately, Julian’s return brings what it always does: crime back into the park. Snoop Dogg calls and wants weed, and lots of it. Julian decides to hijack Bubbles’ pizza sauce business and convert it to a grow op. As usual, Bubbles is driven near to the breaking point as the stress builds.
In Season 10, there was a revelation that Lahey may in fact be Ricky’s real father. This is fully addressed in Season 11, via a lightsaber dual (hockey sticks and brooms subbing in for laser swords) and dialogue taken directly from The Empire Strikes Back. Director Bobby Farrelly (Bobby fucking Farrelly!) must be given credit for the perfect Star Wars homage in Episode 4, “Darth Lahey”, right down to the action beats. Brilliant stuff — a highpoint episode for this show.
There are cameos by celebrities and past characters. Look for Susan Kent from 22 Minutes, and NHLer Nathan MacKinnon, first overall draft pick and rookie of the year. A few old adversaries have returned as well, to cause problems for our three lovable idiots. Speaking of idiots, Ricky and Julian manage to bring the stupidly to new levels, but simultaneously, Ricky has a Yoda-like ability to trick cops. Meanwhile, they have also managed to keep up with modern technology. Cell phones, cameras and GPS now figure into the plots. There are references to the Walking Dead and changing times. This manages to keep the series feeling fresh.
After 11 seasons, it is understood that a show rarely hits the highs it once did. Season 11 is a worthy effort; not in the Top Five, but certainly good enough at this point.