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A real who’s who of TV hoserdom has enlisted in The Trades, Crave’s new blue-collar Canadian comedy set at a refinery that’s dropping two episodes each Friday.

Naturally, this being a series from the producers of Trailer Park Boys (partnering with Kontent House), it features many familiar faces from that cult show and its various movies and spinoffs set in the fictional Sunnyvale Trailer Park.

Chief among them is a pipefitter named Todd Stool played by Robb Wells, best known, and pretty much only known, for his two-decade-plus run in the trailer-park universe as pompadoured pothead Ricky.

In The Trades, Wells is playing against type as the leading man who, rather than following a series of get-rich schemes of various levels of illegality, has followed in the footsteps of his father to work in the trades and put his nose to the grindstone at Conch Industries.

He’s first glimpsed welding while Rush’s Working Man plays, before we follow him by drone shot driving his truck back to his humble abode as Blackberry Smoke’s country-rock tune One Horse Town continues the theme of blue-collar pride: “In the tiny town where I come from / You grew up doing what your daddy done.”

Beyond the trailer-park alumni in the cast, The Trades has pulled off the rare Canadian comic feat of uniting veterans of both The Red Green Show and The Tom Green Show.

Todd’s father, Rod, is played by Patrick McKenna, one of Canada’s best comic actors and well-remembered as nerdy nephew Harold Green, while Todd’s superior, Randy – site manager for the first episode anyway – is played by the polarizing Tom Green himself.

(A further nugget to file away for your Cancon trivia night: McKenna now has both Traders and The Trades on his IMDB page.)

Meanwhile, playing Todd’s best pal, Backwoods, Dan Petronijevic is here to represent the Letterkenny crew. Petronijevic was the mumbling, swinging farmer McMurray on the Crave show that just called it a day (save spinoffs such as Shoresy) – and that perhaps The Trades was commissioned to replace as man-cave must-see.

With practically all hosers assembled except Bob and Doug themselves, the ingredients are certainly here for crude Canuck chuckles of the highest – that is to say the lowest – degree. But, of course, the question is how creator Ryan J. Lindsay will mix them all together, and in the first two episodes of The Trades, you definitely see a show trying out different flavours.

After stressed-out site manager Randy ends up in a coma after popping a few too many pills and chugging coffee straight from the pot, Todd thinks it’s finally his time to be promoted to that position.

But those at the head office in Alberta have a different idea, and dispatch Chelsea Nakamura (Jennifer Spence) from the big city to wherever we are (the show was shot in Dartmouth, N.S., and Hamilton) to help modernize operations.

One minute she’s snooty about the workers and the town, then seems more savvy the next, but the audience’s sympathies lie with Todd – until he starts mouthing off about putting in decades at the refinery and then being “leapfrogged by a corporate MBA in a skirt and heels.”

Open this photo in gallery:

Robb Wells, as Todd, and Anastasia Phillips, as his sister Audrey, in The Trades.Ian Watson/Crave

Meanwhile Todd’s sister Audrey, the co-lead on the show and played by an amiable Anastasia Phillips, is starting to get interested in doing what her daddy done. She’s initially glimpsed taking hits off a bong in a back-porch hot tub after a liaison with a sexual partner – who seems beneath her or any human – and in the middle of a full conversation with a raccoon named Snacks lounging in a chair.

Audrey’s been through a rotating door of retail jobs and eschewed the refinery her whole life. But that changes after witnessing Steph, a Conch Industries safety officer played by Susan Kent of This Hour has 22 Minutes, tell off a rude customer she can’t. Says Steph, encouraging Audrey’s pivot to the trades: “The work force is 3.9 per cent chicks now. You wanna push us over four?”

These plot lines contribute to a feeling of The Trades as a warm-hearted throwback to the family/workplace hybrid sitcoms of the 1990s that featured white women in blue-collar jobs – such as Grace Under Fire and Roseanne – albeit single-camera without laugh track and featuring all the colourful language you can use when you’re not on network TV.

But, at other times, The Trades seems to be aiming for something more stylized and edgy, with out-there comic gambits. Green’s over-the-top pill-popping is one such moment, as is the raccoon scene that signals a most surreal stoner sketch-comedy vibe.

When you watch the pilot episode of Trailer Park Boys and then episodes from its 12th season, you sense a certain comedy continuity. The first two episodes of The Trades, by contrast, feel like variations, with the sweeter second one landing more solidly than the saltier first.

It’s hardly uncommon, of course, for comedies to take time to find their tone. Schitt’s Creek is the prime recent Canadian example of a show that found its groove really only after a couple of seasons and then became a worldwide phenomenon.

There are moments in The Trades where you feel it settling and a strong sense of ensemble coming down the pipeline, but we’ll have to watch a few more episodes to see how and if the premise will be refined.

The Trades debuted on March 22 on Crave.

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