One of the more successful Canadian comedy TV shows to come around in some time, The Trailer Park Boys has become a bit of a sensation in its homeland and has developed a fairly strong cult following south of the border as well. With the show having proven quite successful, Screen Media Films released the two feature films that were spawned from the series onto DVD, and now Phase 4 dips their toes into the water and brings American audiences the complete first season of the show - all six episodes, uncut.
The series follows the misadventures of three friends who all live in the same Nova Scotia trailer park - a bumbling pompadour wearing small time pot farmer named Ricky (Robb Wells), his buff but rather dim pal Julian (John Paul Tremblay) with rum and coke always in hand, and the strange bespectacled and kitten obsessed Bubbles (Mike Smith). The park is watched over in Gestapo like fashion by an alcoholic former cop named Jim Lahey (John Dunsworth) and his perpetually shirtless, hamburger-eating right hand man, Randy (Patrick Roach).
The series doesn't deviate too much from episode to episode, usually focusing on Ricky and Julian's collective attempts to get their hands on some easy money and their tendency to overdo it with the booze, the drugs, and, well, everything else they can get their hands on. Here's a look at the six episodes that make up the complete first season which originally aired in the spring of 2001 on Canada's Showcase cable channel:
Take Your Little Gun And Get Out Of My Trailer Park: The first episode introduces us to Ricky, Julian, Bubbles, Lahey and Randy when Ricky and Julian are let out of jail on probation. They return to the park to find that a dope dealer named Cyrus (Bernard Robichaud) has been ruling in their place and living in Julian's trailer. Julian tries to deal with Cyrus while figuring out how to get rid of Ricky and clean up his act.
Fuck Community College, Let's Get Drunk And Eat Chicken Fingers: With Ricky living in the car in front of Julian's trailer growing pot in the back seat which squirrels are using as a toilet, Julian decides he's going to leave the park and go to community college. Lahey and Randy won't let him leave unless he takes Ricky with him, but all Ricky wants to do is get drunk and eat chicken fingers.
Mr. Lahey's Got My Porno Tape!: Local white trash would be rapper J-Roc (Jonathan Torrens) decides to get Ricky, Bubbles and Julian to star in a porno movie he's making and they can't say no to the lure of quick and easy money. Lahey and Randy walk in on the set while the movie is being filmed, take the tape, and use it to blackmail the boys, causing Julian to go and get the tape back which leads to an unwholesome discovery about Randy and Lahey's relationship.
Mrs. Peterson's Dog Gets Fucked Up: Julian's aged widowed neighbor, the kindly Mrs. Peterson, is convinced that Julian is her grandson and has no qualms about asking him to dog-sit Sparky for her while she goes for surgery. Julian begrudgingly agrees but makes the mistake of leaving him with Ricky. When Julian comes home, he finds that the dog has eaten all of the pot brownies and that they need to get him to the vet before it's too late.
I'm Not Gay, I Love Lucy... Wait A Minute, Maybe I Am Gay: Julian has grown tired of Lucy's incessant flirting with him and decides the best way to get rid of her would be to get her to marry Ricky. This, however, will require a ring which neither of them can afford, resulting in a scheme involving robbery and an unlikely marriage proposal.
Who The Hell Invited These Idiots To My Wedding?: With Ricky and Lucy's wedding just over the horizon, Julian has to ensure that nothing goes wrong. He and Bubbles decide to take care of the catering by robbing a grocery store but an inebriated Ricky stops them and blows the plan - only to get caught on camera and arrested the next day during the wedding, landing the boys back in the jail they started out in when the series began.
As predictable as the series is plot wise, the fact that so much of it is adlibbed means that at least the dialogue and jokes remain fairly fresh. Yes, much of the humor stems from profanity of it all but the series is in keeping with a certain demographic and so that language is entirely appropriate. The cast involved all play their roles completely straight and never break character even for a second, which adds to the whole 'reality TV' feel that the producers were obviously going for. It works quite well for the most part, though some long distance and crane shots sometimes appear and if you want to nitpick, expose the fact that this isn't all really happening (obviously).
If you sit down and try to get through all six episodes in one sitting, it'll prove to be a little much. The show's repetition can get to be a bit much even if the show is pretty consistent in its laugh delivery. In twenty two minute episodes, however, the show is quite a bit of crassly comedic fun. Here's hoping Phase 4 bring the other seasons to DVD sooner rather than later.
Trailer Park Boys - The Complete First Season is presented in its original 1.33.1 fullframe aspect ratio and looks about as good as it should. The series is made to look and feel like a low budget version of Cops so it's got a rough style to it - lots of shaky camera work and jarring edits help to keep that feel going. Color reproduction is fine so long as you know that it's all supposed to look like the consumer grade video that it's been shot on. There aren't any problems with dirt, debris or print damage and only some mild shimmering and compression artifacts are there to note. The series doesn't look great, mind you, but neither is it supposed to.
The English language Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track is fine. The levels are well balanced and there are no problems with hiss or distortion. A few scenes have some hefty background noise, but that's intentional, it adds to the whole 'reality TV' thing that the series has going on.
Aside from a few trailers that play before you get to the main menu, the disc includes only episode selection. Otherwise, there are no extras here to speak of.
Some extras really would have been nice here, and the barebones nature is a strike against this disc, but the content delivers and the quality of the release is fine. The Trailer Park Boys - The Complete First Season won't appeal to the easily offended or those who don't find the humor in the seedy side of life, but for those who do, the show delivers plenty of laughs and comes recommended.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.