TiVo Community Forum Archive 1 (http://archive.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/index.php)
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-- The Trailer Park Boys come South! (http://archive.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?threadid=154126)
As the first 2 seasons are avaiable in canada on dvd, I found this review that may shed some light on this show.
It's really not something that's easy to describe when you think of tv in us terms, but here ya go....
from amazon canada:
January 1, 2004
At a minimum, TPB offers polished character development and a unique mix of superbly performed personalities that guarantee absorbing every viewer. A typical comment during background holiday viewing was, "What the h*** are you watching?" -- with that individual converted to TPB in about an hour. No one left the room during our TPB DVD unveiling and short of seats, people sat the carpet.
As unique as the inhabitants are, TPB never beats the old "fish out of water" mule as there's nothing hackneyed about this series; the characters barely fit in amoungst themselves but are certainly their funniest interacting with the non-trailer park world.
Paraphrasing season 3:
Bubbles (in a scolding hush): "Ricky, you can't shout 'dope' in a bank!'"
Ricky (proudly, out of jail about 20 minutes and still in his numbered orange jumpsuit): "Sure I can Bubbles, I'm rich as f*** now. Dopity-dope-dope."
How many people do you know that've been tossed from a bank?
Or get arrested at their wedding before kissing the bride?
The scripts never force or focus on nonconformity, become self-conscious or betray their characters, like "Jackass", or most US shows that substitute overemphasis and preachiness for lack of talent or perspective. TPB never goes through the tedium of lecturing on societal ills, as there's too much of that out there and we all see it anyway. They're too busy exploiting it: crime, alcoholism and drug usage, in which almost every episode owes, never get lionized but remain weaknesses to leverage, deal with or circumvent.
Given their extreme dysfunction and nonconformity with the outer world, TPB remains in control, very unextreme, unforced, certainly owing to improv somewhat, with an easy acting and visual style -- it matches well with the hyper-sharp hand-held video and could be your own personal footage on the TV. Until you see someone smashing a bottle on your windshield.
Further supporting character development and audience empathy is the precision in which situational ethics are bent and reshaped -- keeping things hysterically fresh. Ricky's first-person exposition to the camera is priceless as he rationalizes all behavior, improvising on whatever bits of logic that flash through his mind. For example, if he sells dope to the local prison guards, then he's guaranteed there'll be good quality dope the next time he's arrested -- so, life works for Ricky whether he's in or out.
"Park" events never cross believability for the sake of a cheap laugh, but always feed a need or convenience: you never steal from someone in the "park", even if it's only Randy's barbeque and the serial numbers are sanded off for argument sake, but dragging an ATM machine at 60 kph to visit Bubble's welding torch, however distressing to Julian, is acceptable if it's for a forthright cause. Like trying to get arrested.
The show's still at cult status, except maybe in Canada where the actors are reportedly recognized everywhere, so there's no reason it won't pop internationally once aired -- honesty works hand-in-hand with universality and is its own reward.
After the dust settles on the series popularity, I hope the pilot film is released. It's a work of artistic black comedy that offers where TPB could have gone, but stands well on it's own, just like the series. The opening scene where Julian answers the camera crew at his door, and stands bewildered, hungover and disoriented for 30 seconds rivals the 50s ennui of Stanislovski- and Strassberg-trained actors like Brando, et., al. Yes, here's where the bar is.
In sum, talent on both sides of the camera, highest recommendation, unrivaled brilliance. There's not a character you won't like or at least, appreciate. Expect industry flattery soon -- my money says imitators are forthcoming and like Ricky says, "it's supply and command".
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