There's good news and bad news from Sunnyvale. That's where the Trailer Park Boys live. Drinking, smoking dope, thieving and annoying Mr. Lahey.
The good news is that they are back. The Boys. Lahey. Randy's there with his belly hanging out in all its glory. Even J-Roc (Jonathan Torrens) is back. Dude is making a living peddling a homemade line of flavoured vodka drinks. They come in mason jars. In one scene, he hands a jar to Bubbles and says, "Yo, get a load of that and tell me it ain't the birth of Christ." Apparently it is.
Trailer Park Boys, season eight, at last arrives. And the whole of it just landed on Netflix, not on Showcase, a channel that had to, you know, curb the strong language in order to conform to regulations. Netflix don't have no goddamn regulations.
Far as I know, here's what happened in the unfolding saga of Trailer Park Boys, one of the great, magnificently original television creations of all time. Some time back, creator Mike Clattenburg, a genius and a nice man, decided to walk away from the beast he had unleashed – multiple seasons on TV, two hit movies. So the Boys took over the franchise.
The three central players – Mike Smith (Bubbles), Robb Wells (Ricky) and John Paul Tremblay (Julian) – are the writers and in charge. Not much else has changed.
Every TPB season opened with Rick and Julian returning to Sunnyvale from jail with a new scheme to get rich quick. Bubbles got involved but stood apart slightly, being their wonky conscience in matters of legality and crime. Mind you, Bubbles had to take care of his kitties, and he retrieved shopping carts to make a living, so he wasn't always on the ball when to came to curbing the instincts of the other Boys.
Here, the new season opens with the Boys and Bubbles thriving. Ricky had a brainwave. He figured there was little point in growing weed and distributing hash to make money, so he just made hash his money. He buys everything with an assortment of $5 and $10 hash coins. Yeah, made of hash. It works a charm.
Things go awry, of course, and the lunacy is made clear rather soon. A documentary crew shows up to film the Boys and events in Sunnyvale, much to Ricky's annoyance. He points out that Julian signed the contract with them and Ricky can't even read. Anyway, documenting the antics continues. We meet Cory (Cory Bowles), who says, "When we got out of the asylum, we didn't want to come straight back to Sunnyvale. We wanted to travel a bit. So we went to China and worked in a paddy field."
Indeed. Most of what is said in the new series cannot be printed in a newspaper. You've never heard such ecstatic swearing. But there are choice bits of lunacy to convey. Our old friend Lahey (John Dunsworth) is about to retire. His replacement, a guy named Donald, is brought to meet him. Donald's opening gambit, which made me fall out of my chair laughing, is: "Yes sir, it's a pleasure to be graced by your presence. You have intense eyes."
Soon after, Lahey's ex-wife decides to rid herself of her current companion. "You're a cheating, bisexual caveman," she informs him. His comeback involves lowering his trousers and, happily, viewers are actually spared the trauma of seeing what he reveals.
This is sublimely irreverent TV. The essential template of the Trailer Park Boys story is maintained. The only bad news is that the tincture of sweetness, that hint of a noble, very-Canadian principle of community, is diminished. Clattenburg is a gifted writer who wrung something magical from this trailer-park madness. The Boys, now in charge, aim for it, but don't quite reach it.
Still, it sings. This thing ain't "the birth of Christ," but it's as funny and screwy as we are at our best.
Also airing this weekend
Utopia (Sunday, Fox/City, 8 p.m.) is a new reality show – "Fifteen pioneering Americans move to a remote location where they begin the process of creating their own civilization from scratch." Good luck with that. And while you're contemplating the concept, don't forget that Boardwalk Empire, which I wrote about on Thursday, returns for its final powerful season (Sunday, HBO Canada, 9 p.m.).
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this column misidentified Cory, a character in Trailer Park Boys. This version has been corrected