15 Trivia Tidbits About ‘Trailer Park Boys’
It’s the Canadian show that debuted in 2001 and employed the mockumentary sitcom style long before the American version of The Office happened. It’s the comedy that gave us the best ventriloquist bit in television history, as well as the most insane glasses worn by any TV character ever. Created by Mike Clattenburg, Trailer Park Boys made watching trailer-park residents’ lo-fi lives and petty crimes a delight. It spawned three movies, an animated spin-off and a couple of comic books.
Here, then, is a list of interesting trivia about the show that gave us Julian, Randy and Bubbles getting high, swearing like sailors and trying but failing miserably to stay out of prison...
Those Glasses Actually Belong to Mike Smith
Smith, the actor who plays the beloved Bubbles, used those glasses as a comedy bit to entertain his friends prior to Trailer Park Boys. Smith later revealed to SHARP that his girlfriend bought them at an estate sale in Texas as a joke.
The Three Leads Had Never Acted Before
Clattenburg knew Robb Wells (Ricky) and John Paul Tremblay (Julian) from the pizza joint the two friends co-owned in Prince Edward Island. Clattenburg thought they were “natural actors” and got them to do a couple of shorts with him. They roped in John Dunsworth (Jim Lahey) to do a movie called One Last Shot, then roped in Smith to record some audio in his studio after his band, Sandbox, split up.
They’ve Collaborated With Our Lady Peace
Not only have they toured with the Canadian band Our Lady Peace, but their song, “Life,” is featured in both Trailer Park Boys: The Movie and in the episode “Say Goodnight to the Bad Guys.”
The Show Had Specific Rules of Conduct for the Characters
Actor Jonathan Torrens had a common-sense explanation of why his character, J-Roc, and others always stayed clear of slurs. “The J-Rocs of the world use the N-word all the time, and although that’s accurate, it’s not funny,” Torrens said in an oral history about the show. “Trailer Park Boys has really strived to maintain a sense of decorum. Nobody smokes dope in scenes where there are children, nobody calls Bubbles the R-word, or Randy and Lahey the F-word. There is a sense of community.”
The Merchandise at Their Live Shows Is Weird
The guys have apparently made it a habit of inviting their stoned fans on stage at their live shows, only to make them buy cheeseburgers for $10 a pop. Another time, they sold “Julian Chips,” which were just Walkers with a “J” written on them.
Elliot Page Found A Lot of Himself While Playing Treena
Page played Treena Lahey, Lahey’s daughter, who spends more time with Ricky than with the grumpy park supervisor. Page said that playing the “boyish Treena” back then felt like a relief to him. “Trailer Park Boys actually gave me this opportunity to be comfortable,” he told The New Yorker.
The Three Main Actors Used to Walk Around in Public As Their Characters
Smith told the Big Issue that, during the show’s first couple of seasons, they’d walk the streets as their characters. That, however, soon came to an end because “now, it turns into a bit of a circus,” Smith admitted. “When we’re walking around the street, the guys who play Ricky and Julian look just like Ricky and Julian in real life, so they get spotted 100 yards away. I don’t really look like Bubbles, but if I’m with them, people put two and two together.”
’Trailer Park Boys’ Was Inspired by ‘Cops’
Clattenburg told Sharp Magazine that he was watching documentaries, including Salesmen, but that it was the popular American show that really caught his attention. “It was true cinéma vérité,” Clattenburg explained, referring to the filming technique that’s focused on immersion and observation. “I loved how it was shot.”
The Origin of J-Roc’s Name
As Torrens tells it, he was out one night with his lifelong friend Clattenburg when John Paul Tremblay happened to be in town and joined them for some drinks. They had ordered some French fries, “and John Paul said, ‘Pass the ketchup, J-Roc,’” Torrens remembered. “And that’s how the nickname was born.”
Bubbles Wasn’t in the Original Pitch
When Smith was doing the sound for the 1999 pilot movie, Trailer Park Boys, Clattenburg saw him don those hilarious glasses and speak in a tiny, sweet voice. He decided to create the character Bubbles for Smith to play, but the TV channel Showcase wasn’t getting it. Clattenburg then wrote and shot The Cart Boy starring Bubbles to get them on board.
Mike Smith Played More Than One Character
Even hardcore fans might not know that Smith sometimes did the voice of the always-screaming, never-fully-seen Donny.
The Comic Books Expand on the TPB Universe with Standalone Stories
While one issue is all about that sly dummy Conky, the other comic books are filled with new short, standalone tales involving the folks of Sunnyvale Trailer Park. I actually wrote one of these stories in the Bagged & Boarded issue, which sees the boys trip on shrooms — hard — only to freak out over a bunch of garden gnomes they stole from people’s lawns to make some extra cash.
The Late John Dunsworth’s Voice Was Used for the Animated Series
In 2019, the show’s animated spin-off dropped on Netflix. Unfortunately, Dunsworth passed away in 2017, and the producers had such a hard time finding someone to replace his voice that they ended up using Dunsworth’s dialogue from stock footage of the live-action series.
Ricky Wears the Same Shirt for an Entire Season
It’s a running gag on the show, with no explanation given for why Ricky only wears one shirt per season.
The Shitmobile Belonged to Mike Clattenburg
Ricky’s beloved broken car originally belonged to the creator of the show. Clattenburg ended up donating the car to the show after his wife couldn’t stand seeing it sitting in their driveway anymore.