Trailer Park Boys is an absolute nightmare for every religious and politically-correct prude who tries to tell people what they can or can't watch on television: its characters curse like sailors, smoke marijuana constantly, drink alcohol in every scene, engage in petty theft and other crimes without remorse, are often promiscuous, thwart the law, smoke cigarettes one after the other, and otherwise live lives of debasement and barbarism. Of course, we love them for it.
Trailer Park Boys concerns the adventures of a small group of Canadian rednecks who live within the confines of Sunnyvale Trailer Park in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The premise of the series is that it is a documentary, following around the main character of Julian and his various friends and hangers-on as they go about their daily routine. Julian and best friends Ricky and Bubbles tend to move between one get-rich-quick scheme and another, usually involving fraud, petty theft, or marijuana, and frequently end up in jail at the end of every season, only to be released at the beginning of the next season. The boys think nothing of drinking while driving or pulling a handgun to resolve a dispute.
All of this may sound grim, but it actually makes TPB one of the funniest television shows in history. Not everyone would enjoy it, of course - the boys say "Fuck!" about every two minutes of screentime on average, and much of the humor really does revolve around the pathetic lives of these weak-willed losers. But beneath it all, they're basically lovable characters who are simply trying to make their way in the world. There's something within the guys that makes us want to root for them and see them succeed; if nothing else, they are underdogs in a world where society's norms - and, indeed, the rule of law - are things to be mocked and circumvented.
Julian is the basic alpha-male of the immediate group. Handsome and sporting a Satanic Van Dyke beard, he's never seen without a drink in his hand (even while climbing out of a car accident). Julian is actually more intelligent than his companions, but has little ambition, and will usually become sucked back into their zany schemes even when he tries to escape long enough to lead a normal life. Fiercely loyal to his friends, he exhibits a genuine love of Bubbles, and even allowed himself to be arrested just so that Ricky wouldn't have to go back to jail alone.
Ricky is the more obvious bad boy of the group, slightly younger than Julian and sporting long sideburns and a pompadour. Ricky isn't terribly bright - which he will be the first to admit - but he definitely possesses the sorts of skills needed to survive in his world. He can grow amazing marijuana plants, if left alone to cultivate them; and he has the uncanny knack of being able to talk his way out of confrontations with the police, even when caught red-handed (well, most of the time, anyway). He's loyal to Julian and Bubbles, as well as his father Ray and daughter Trinity, even though he's not above exploiting them now and then if the situation warrants it.
Bubbles has practically become the main protagonist of the show. He's a simple, lovable goofball with seriously messed-up eyes who asks for nothing more in life than to be allowed to live quietly in his shed with his kitties and occasionally some drink and smoke. Abandoned by his parents in childhood, Bubbles is probably the least socially adapted of the main trio, but on the other hand he doesn't seek to engage in petty crimes to keep up his lifestyle. Bubbles reclaims 'abandoned' shopping carts and resells them to the local supermarkets (failing to mention he's the one who'd thrown them into the ravine in the first place), primarily to buy food for the stray cats he adopts and cares for. Bubbles exhibits an almost childlike love for Julian and Ricky, and is often the moral voice that persuades them to abandon some of their more heinous schemes.
Jim Lahey is the on-again, off-again supervisor of Sunnyvale; an ex-cop, he was married to Barbara Lahey, who for four seasons owned the Trailer Park. He's currently an alcoholic. He is assisted by Randy, a cheeseburger-loving guy who is also his lover, a not-well-kept secret within the Park. Randy never, ever wears a shirt, which means his large gut is familiar to everyone. Lahey and Randy are the boys' nemeses, and constantly seek to undue their mayhem. Lahey is fond of using the word 'shit' in various expressions.
Trevor and Cory are two young men (late teens? early twenties?) who idolize the main trio. In return they are used as patsies and for grunt work in whatever scheme the guys currently have going. Trevor and Cory aren't very bright, but are always up to take part in whatever's going on; as a result they usually end up getting blamed for the others' misdeeds. At the end of Season 4, they got their revenge by turning the tables on their tormentors.
Lucy is Ricky's ex-girlfriend, mother of his daughter Trinity. She seems to be overly fond of Julian, however, though not everyone seems to be aware of it. Sara is Lucy's best friend, who became Ricky's girlfriend after Lucy got together with Randy briefly. Disgusted with the boys' constant scapegoating of Trevor and Cory, Sara has attempted to mentor the pair to keep them away from the boys' schemes; at one point she announced her intention to marry both of them.
J-Roc is a white guy who basically thinks he's black. A hopeful rapper, J-Roc speaks in a nearly-unintelligible stream of street slang and ebonics, to the point that even some of his hangers-on comment on his need to tone it down. J-Roc lives with his mother in the Park, but naturally portrays himself as 'hard' in order to be accepted as a real rapper; he even went so far as to get himself arrested, just for the publicity the bust would bring. (He only got community service, though, and had to hide out beneath his mom's trailer so that everyone would think he was still incarcerated.)
The show is a smash hit in its native Canada; not so much in the United States, as the show has only been seen briefly on BBC America (with the worst cursing bleeped out, no small feat) and is available only on imported DVD's. But it deserves a wider audience. No doubt it will explode in the United States at some point (a feat expected when TPB: The Movie was released, but which never quite came about), but right now it remains a widely-loved in-joke among its small group of American fans.
Maybe we should be thankful that the phenomenon hasn't reached a larger audience yet; that we are still part of a small but intensely loyal club, exchanging swear-ridden catch-phrases and wearing our Freedom 35 hockey jerseys like a secret society. After all, if the wider world - especially Hollywood - got hold of Trailer Park Boys, they'd only ruin it - force it to put out that joint, stop all that cursing, and accept punishment for breaking society's rules.
But the boys don't play by anybody's rules, not even their own.
So knock-knock, Hollywood.
Who's there? Go fuck yourself, that's who.