The creators of Trailer Park Boys took a bold leap into the animated world, and crushed it

Mike Cratty

The roadmap of the critically acclaimed Canadian comedy mockumentary, Trailer Park Boys, took a detour in the latest season of the series, but a good detour. After airing 12 seasons with human actors starting back in April of 2001, the series went animated for the first time in a full season, and it is fantastic.

Admittedly, even as a huge fan of the show, I was skeptical about the show going animated. The mannerisms of the show before it’s animated era, the haphazard nature of how the camera(s) was operated, and the raw carnage of countless instances throughout the show’s duration are a few reasons why the show is so great, and so widely loved. Leading me to question why they went animated. I have some ideas as to why.

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First off, I bet they just wanted to change up the pace of the show a bit. Not that people hated how the show was filmed before they went animated, but perhaps the directors saw this as a way to keep fans interested, in a different fashion. Sure, they may have lost and disappointed some fans with this decision, but the real fans stuck around and enjoyed the hell out of the first season of the animated series.

Another reason for this change of pace could be due to the fact that some of the show’s core actors have left the show over the years. The death of the great Jim Lahey, portrayed by the incredibly talented John Dunsworth in October of 2017, surely and unfortunately threw a wrench in things for the directors. Jim Lahey was an integral character in the show. He elevated the main characters and always made things interesting with his antics and fleeting desire for power and control of the Sunnyvale Trailer Park with his sidekick, Randy Bobandy.

Other characters to leave the show in recent years were Trevor (Michael Jackson), J-Roc (Jonathan Torrens), and Lucy (Lucy Decoutere), for various reasons, although we surely don’t know the full extent for their reasons for departure from the show. There could always be things that we don’t know, outside of what they have said publicly.

The departures of these important characters didn’t tank the show. The ability to keep the show going after losing important characters, in some ways more than others, is worthy of praise. I’ll say, in my opinion, Lucy’s character was very annoying and I did not miss her character, but losing J-Roc and Trevor sucked. J-Roc was always cracking jokes, insulting people, and spitting facts in hilarious fashion, and Trevor served his purpose to the crew as a simpleton who they could boss around, along with Cory, and that was hilarious as well.

Ricky, Julian, Bubbles, Jim Lahey, Randy Bobandy, Cory, and Trevor pick up on the fact that they are stuck in an animated world while high on mushrooms in a jail cell. They figure it has to wear off at some point, even though Ricky doesn’t want it to, but it never does.

The first animated season, consisting of ten episodes features plenty of classic excursions amongst the Sunnyvale crew, even NHL superstar Nathan MacKinnon was featured in an episode in which the boys played to retain the prestigious ‘Stanley Bong,’ modeled after the Stanley Cup. An underlying, awesome episode within the season was episode six, when Ricky, Julian, and Bubbles have a flashback to when they first met. It was a really wholesome and fulfilling episode for numerous and gave audience members a true glance at how the three of them became friends in such a cool way.

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The animation allows them to push boundaries they couldn’t when real human actors were involved, often in vulgar ways, but those types of instances are what helps make the show great and keep audience members entertained. The show did not lose it’s steam at all, in my opinion, proving change can be good sometimes.

John Dunsworth’s character, Jim Lahey was preserved as a spirit after a sh-t hawk swooped down and took him away shortly after the crew was bailed out of jail. Lahey can be channeled throughout the first half of the season through using bottles of liquor as a bottle a genie would reside in by Randy. It was a very cool way to preserve the iconic nature of such an important character. 

This new installment in the longstanding legacy of Trailer Park Boys was a pleasant surprise. My skepticism of it being animated from here on out was wiped away very quickly and I am stoked to see what else they have in store in the future for this epic mockumentary franchise.

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2 thoughts on “The creators of Trailer Park Boys took a bold leap into the animated world, and crushed it

  1. The author contested to being a viewer of the classic mockumentary “Trailer Park Boys”, it definitely seems that an animated version of the show would not be as good not only for the pace and filming of the show. But it takes away from the real feel that the viewers get from seeing “Sunnyvale trailer park” and watching the crew film the every real life move of the characters. That real feel that this show gave I would compare it to the feel as like a cops episode or any of those live filming shows, where the viewers are first hand. taking this epic show and Turning it into a cartoon to me ruins it. I understand the challenges shows face with loosing characters over the seasons, but it doesn’t mean the dynamic of the show has to flip upside down. Lastly the author did a great job representing the show as an entirety for both types the animation and classic seasons, and gaining insight on how the new form of the show can push the boundaries of some issues the old one had, makes it almost interesting to see what they have changed.

    Nicholas Fasoli

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  2. One of the main points I agree with in this blog posts is the comment on how shifting from a live action series to an animated series allows the writers, actors, etc. to push boundaries that previously couldn’t be done with real life actors. One scene that comes into mind is in the very first episode of the Animated Series with Ricky crashes a car and one of the main consequences from this is Corey, first breaking his arm, then having said arm fall completely off his body after he decides to spin it around like a pinwheel. This is one of the more outlandish things I’ve seen done in an animated comedy show, however, it’s also extremely funny due to how shockingly random and unexpected it is. An act of comedy could never be done with real life actors seeing that you never want to seriously hurt, or even maim someone for the sake of comedy, however, with the change to animation, these types of stunts can be pulled off without any sort of consequences. I feel like, even though there are people who will say the animated series isn’t as good as the real life one, having the animated series gives the writers, actors, etc. more room to try different things and experiment, which is always good for a tv show, especially one that’s been on as long as Trailer Park Boys has been.

    – Ryan Salvaggio

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