Before The Office and Parks and Recreation, there was Trailer Park Boys. The Canadian mockumentary series follows Ricky and Julian, a pair of hapless low-rent criminals living in a Nova Scotia trailer park, and their kind-hearted friend Bubbles. The series is filmed in low-budget vérité style, with the leads well aware they are being followed “kinda like Cops, but from a criminal’s point of view.” But unlike more recent series that practice a similar m.o., Trailer Park Boys doesn’t adopt a documentary distance that mocks the characters. They are painted lovingly, as people making the most of their limited intelligence and economic mobility. Even the “villains” of the show — park manager Mr. Lahey and his former hustler sidekick Randy — have full and colorful backstories to explain why they are constantly trying to ruin the lives of everyone around them.
Well before its recent resurgence — new episodes started streaming on Netflix in 2014 — Trailer Park Boys was a “You have to check this out!” entry even back when you had to wait two days for the red envelope to arrive in the mail. Though seven years passed between seasons seven and eight, the Boys were keeping busy with multiple movies and live tours. This year’s Dear Santa Tour brings Ricky, Julian, Bubbles, Mr. Lahey, and Randy out of the park and into Brooklyn’s Kings Theatre on Wednesday, December 9. They’re here in search of the real Santa Claus and, as always, a way to pull off some Christmas-related schemes.
In typical fashion, the main trio of Ricky, Julian, and Bubbles all have very different goals for the tour. But they are in it together in the hopes that they’ll all get what they want and won’t just end up in jail after hilarious hijinks.
Randy, the de facto leader of the group and trailer park, is just trying to find Santa. “I sucker-punched Santa once,” Randy boasts. “That’s one of the reasons I’m coming: to find the real Santa and apologize for punching him so hopefully he’ll leave me some gifts this year. I’ve met a lot of fake Santas along the way. I’ve even sucker-punched a few of those. One of ’em was trying to steal gifts from me instead of leaving ’em — that’s how I knew he was a fake.”
As usual, Julian only sees the prospect of easy money. “It’s easy to take advantage of drunk people at Christmas,” he says. “You get reckless when you’re drunk. I’m good at feeling out how drunk people are and how much money I can get from ’em. People get drunk all the time, but Christmas is the best time because it’s all about spending money and going into debt.”
If every television show has a message in each episode, Trailer Park Boys’ would be: “Julian, your harebrained scheme is going to blow up in your face.” But, of course, that’s a lesson Julian never learns. After all, what’s funny about that? Julian’s scams are usually outright illegal: bootlegging, drug dealing, running a makeshift gas station. But he has tried a few that are a little more retail in nature, including an episode where the Boys start up a “Convenients” store. Or there was the time they had a “store” where they sold Christmas gifts. “Throughout the year I’ll ‘acquire’ things,” Julian explains. “Then Christmastime I’ll put ’em in my living room, throw some lights up, put an elf suit on Randy, and I’m in business!”
Then there’s Bubbles, the third member of the hapless trio. A bit of an idiot savant, and always the kindest in the group because of it, “Bubbles [just] wants to tell everyone the true meaning of Christmas,” which Randy interprets as “twelve days of partying. Every day it’s something special food-wise or drink-wise. I think people can really come away having learned something: how to deal with Christmas. It’s not about spending money and getting gifts — it’s all about drinkin’ and partyin’ and havin’ good food with your friends and family. That’s what it comes down to.”
Ultimately, Julian is excited to be back in Brooklyn this holiday season, perhaps because he’s already planning to fleece showgoers with a 60-40 raffle (“Somebody’s gonna leave the theater with a lot of money…Julian!”).
“We’ve been there a few times and the people are awesome,” Julian raves. “We have a lot of fun. As long as you come with a buzz on, ready to have a good time, we’re good with just about anybody showing up.”
The Trailer Park Boys will perform at Kings Theatre on Wednesday, December 9, at 8 p.m.