The film Trailer Park Boys
The movie “Trailer Park Boys,” directed by Mike Clattenburg is about two men that get kicked out from jail days before the guard/inmate ball hockey final. Ricky, Julian and Bubbles return to Sunnyvale trailer park with a plan for “The Big Dirty”, the biggest heist of their long criminal history: a dimwitted scheme to steal vast quantities of change, when it occurs to Julian that coins are untraceable. Meanwhile, Ricky is pondering taking his relationship with longtime girlfriend Lucy to the next level when he discovers that Lucy has some newly enhanced anatomy and a job at the Gentleman's Club. Later, visiting the club, Julian meets and falls for the beautiful featured dancer Wanda and the Boys have their first encounter with Sonny, the dangerous owner of the club. As the day of the Big Dirty approaches, the boys train less-than-able assistants Cory and Trevor. But before their plan can succeed, they will have to outrun helicopters, survive shootouts and face down drunken Trailer Park Supervisor Mr. Lahey and his cheeseburger-loving assistant Randy in a deadly game of Sunnyvale Chicken. Clattenburg confesses: “Early on[…the reaction was not good. Most industry people couldn’t get past the antiproduction-value look and ribald humour.” TPB also sparked debate over the exploitative representation of stereotypical ‘white trash’ on television. In an interview with the Ottawa Citizen, University of Calgary communications and culture professor Bart Beaty lambasted the show as making fun of an underprivileged and marginalized segment of society. “That sort of thing used to be centred around racial issues. Now we get around this by making it about white populations rather than about native or black populations. But it’s still about laughing at the poor.” Mike Smith retorts by defending the show’s ultimate morality: “[Ricky] doesn’t make the best decisions, but he’s trying to do the right thin. There’s a lot of humanity in Trailer Park Boys. It’s not just a bunch of crazies running around swearing and firing guns at each other.” Wells adds: “People say we’re making fun of trailer parks, but it’s the exact opposite […] In many ways [Ricky and Julian] are better than most people in the real world. They’d do anything for their family, do anything for their friends.” In essence, Ricky acts as a microcosm of the show itself: Not always making the most intelligent choices, but remaining true to albeit an upturned, but nonetheless existent set of principles. The equation of TPB is similar to that typified by episodic television conventions: the characters possess and exhibit obvious, definable –often mono-dimensional– traits which viewers grow to identify and anticipate. A space (the park) is defined, within which these characters will interact; as elements are added into this space, the characters respond according to their previously defined characteristics. For example, when Mr. Lahey has Ricky’s father arrested for disability fraud, the question for an audience is not whether Ricky will be angry, but how angry, and indeed, and what various articles will be damaged –and expletives employed in consequence. But for this investigation, the veritable question remains: why are the characters –particularly Ricky and Julian– programmed with these specific characteristics in the first place? And why, though the pair is implanted with a handful of redeemable qualities, are they destined for perennial failure; each season ending with their return to prison? These questions can be answered by taking quick stock of the ‘Hoser’ archetype in English Canadian cinema, thus tracing how the historical tenets of the male protagonist have crept into this contemporary incarnation. This discourse of cinematic representations of the male Canuck may appear to be no more than a bitter cup of Tim Horton’s coffee, but if we roll up the rim, there may be a silver lining. This incarnation of characters can not easily be reduced to a...
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