"Listen, Ricky, you're only at school for one reason, and that's to sell drugs."
A black comedy mockumentary set in a trailer park called Sunnyvale in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia (outside Halifax).The show revolves around Julian, Ricky and Bubbles, two career criminals and their orphaned childhood friend, respectively, and their misadventures as they pursue various get-rich-quick schemes besides growing and selling weed. Once in a while they branch out into legitimate business, usually for misguided reasons or with illegal methods.The three are constantly at odds with the drunken trailer park supervisor (but not owner) Mr. Lahey and his sidekick Randy. Mr. Lahey, an ex-cop, is determined to send the boys back to jail permanently and thereby regain his lost standing, while balancing his alcoholism and the destruction of his personal life. Also residing in Sunnyvale is Lucy, Ricky's on-again-off-again girlfriend and mother to his daughter Trinity; Cory and Trevor, roommates used as lackeys and scapegoats by the boys; Ray, Ricky's father and a fake paraplegic; and J-Roc and T, two would-be rappers.The show is considered to be a classic of Canadian culture, and the fact that the show received funding from the Canadian government is testament to its following, as is the fact that the likenesses of the Boys can be seen in bars and public attractions across the country.An eighth season has been announced, and a third movie Don't Legalize It will be released in Canada April 18th.
The Season Three opener has Ricky blowing his whole wad that they spent the previous season scamming (and going to jail for) in the space of the first day out of prison. Julian's doesn't last much longer.
At the end of one of the seasons, Cory and Trevor steal all of the money off of a huge drug deal. In the first episode of the next season, they are tricked into signing it all away.
The Alleged Car: The "Shitmobile".(1975 Chrysler New Yorker 4 door hardtop... well, 3 door hardtop now) It's missing the passenger side front door entirely, and requires a specific method of key turning to start it. It breaks down periodically, but is also shown to be nigh indestructible. The boys have knocked down parking meters and even walls with it, and still been able to drive away.
Most of the cars in the show start out in good condition, but usually end up this way by the end of the season. Mr. Lahey's car ended up providing parts for the Shitmobile, and later his cop car ended up without a roof of any sort, which didn't stop any of the characters from driving it.
In an AMA on Reddit, the boys acknowledged the car did give them actual problems (the brakeline once broke while shooting it driving down an actual street), but still runs to this day.
Though it's implied he'll eventually kill himself with the liquor. After he falls into the pool, it shows how he has no control over himself anymore and nearly drowns. He`s got nobody to care for him anymore because he nearly killed everyone he knows, everyone wants him dead and there`s no way he can show his face in public again. The boys are getting out of jail in 2 weeks, Bubbles has a girlfriend and every loose end is tied up. The bad guy does not win: he becomes a pariah and the "protagonists" are going to be okay.
But the protagonists are bad guys themselves. The fact that they only get two weeks of prison for robbing a bank (and get the girl) could be interpreted as the bad guys winning.
Bilingual Bonus: In one episode, "Zesty Mordant". "Mordant" is "zesty" in Quebec French, and is drawn in the episode from snack food.
In Canada, a variety of Doritos are called the "Zesty Cheese" flavour, and due to Canadian labeling laws, the label has to also show the French version, so the label is fun to read as Zesty Mordant◊.
Blind Without 'Em: Bubbles. And what's worse, they found the prop glasses they use on the street and have no way of replacing them if they ever get broken.
A recent AMA, Bubbles' actor stated his girlfriend found them in a thrift shop in Texas right before the show started and gave them to him, so the actual story of the glasses origin may be forgotten by an Unreliable Narrator (not to mention, it's probably not impossible to have a facsimilie made by an optometrist). Additionally and somewhat ironically, he WAS blind wearing them, and could only wear them 10 minutes at time in the beginning, and although now he can now wear them indefinitely, they've probably done permanent damage to his eyes.
Berserk Button: Several; Calling Ricky stupid or, in the early seasons, insulting his lack of Grade 10. He also hates being called "Reveen".
Sam Losco has a few, but mostly being called a Caveman.
Lahey-Don't insult Randy when he's around.
Julian is arguably the most level-headed person on the show, but referring to him as Patrick Swayze will just lead to a very bad day for the person who says it.
Additionally, when the Trailer Park Association President refers to him as an "alkie" he completely flips and tells Ricky (who'd he'd been trying to control) to go ahead and do whatever.
Anyone who insults or threatens Bubbles will soon face the wrath of both Julian and Ricky, especially the former.
Even though Bubbbles is usually the Only Sane Man, harming his kitties or calling him a "Googly-Eyed Bastard" makes him go nuts.
Book Ends: The seasons, and then the movies, always begin and end with scenes in the jail.
If Corey and Trevor aren't getting beaten up or wounded, Ricky is.
California Doubling: The outside of the "prison" that is sometimes seen is actually a local high school. Makes sense, if you think about it.
Canada, Eh?: Very much so. The accents, plus the love of Rush and hockey...
They also use a lot of local Halifax-area slang in the dialogue. "Con college" is apparently a Haligonian (a term used to describe a resident of Halifax) term for jail.
In The Delusions of Officer Jim Lahey, Lahey says "let's go to the LC." "LC," as most anyone from Nova Scotia can tell you, is the slang term for the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission (NSLC).
There's also the scenes at the King of Donairs pizza place and several appearances in The Movie from Propeller, a microbrew from Halifax.
"Jesus Murphey" is also used sometimes.
Canon Discontinuity: For the most part, the Pilot Movie seems to fall under this, except for part of the ending which was referenced in the beginning of the first episode. Among other things, Julian was addicted to cocaine, Randy was a different person, and Bubbles didn't seem to exist. It's also worth noting that (perhaps because Bubbles didn't exist) the Boys were more prone to... Kicking the Dog and therefore were much more monstrous and unsympathetic characters.
The Christmas Special seems to also Retcon parts of the first season, most notably Bubbles's shed (the original burnt down in season two, but this special takes place nearly three years before that and yet uses the new one).
Bubbles and Ricky were antagonistic toward each other in the first few episodes. As the show went on, this was quietly dropped and the backstory became the two (along with Julian) were always best buds since grade school. Then, you could easily chalk up the Bubble/Ricky friction as them having a spat.
Leahy's daughter seemed to fall under this after her appearances in Season 2. She's never seen or mentioned again, even after Barb moves in with him and Randy.
Cant Get Away With Nothing: Averted. The guys actually fairly effective small-time criminals, helped in no small part by Lahey's incompetence. What usually chucks them in jail is either their ambition exceeding their capabilities, or sheer bad luck.
Captain's Log: Being a mock-reality show, the characters frequently appear in "interview" segments throughout the episodes, describing the events of the episode, or their motivations to the camera crew.
Cluster F-Bomb: The majority of the cast, but especially Danny, the screaming dude who never appears on screen.
Coming-Out Story: When Ricky's car crashes into their trailer, Randy and Mr. Lahey emerge dressed as a bumblebee and Indiana Jones, respectively. Explanations soon follow.
And in season one, Julian found Randy and Lahey dressed up in similar costumes, and promised not to tell anyone (a promise he kept).
Crapsack World: A lot of the show's darkness comes from the fact that if the various characters weren't suffering from a variety of crippling emotional and personal problems, they'd all probably be a lot happier, though season two takes the cake when the boys return from prison to find the park a disaster area.
Crazy Cat Lady: Bubbles, minus the "crazy" (Conky not withstanding) and minus the "lady".
Cult Classic: While hugely popular in its native Canada, it was virtually unknown outside of it. With the show now on Netflix and YouTube, through word of mouth has developed a strong cult following in the states and elsewhere.
Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Ricky and Julian make money growing weed no problem, but whenever they bring violence and theft into the mix, they quickly end up in jail. Even discussed by Sara and Lucy in season one.
The Danza: Many of the supporting cast share first, last, or both names with characters they portray.
Driven to Villainy: Lahey after it's revealed in Season 6 that he didn't lose his job as a police officer because of his drinking but because Rickey, Julian, and Bubbles trashed his cop car and doused him in liquor.
Even Evil Has Standards: Julian cusses Ricky out for using children to help him steal barbecues, pointing out that he's contributing to the delinquincy of minors.
In the second movie, J-Roc is helping the boys steal their way back onto their feet, but admonishes them when he learns they stole a sign from a church.
J-Roc "Old people need their beans!"
Also in the christmas special they won't steal anything that could be a present for a kid.
Even the Guys Want Him: Julian. Male characters frequently comment on how he's "sexy", and it would make a great drinking game to take a shot everytime the line "I love you Julian" is uttered.
Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Bubbles. His real name is never given on the show. The nickname is derived from his love of a bubble-making machine he had as a child (not from his bulbous glasses, as is oftens speculated).
Everyone Is Bi: Canon examples, Lahey and Randy of course, and Sam Losco admitted to being with "a few dudes". Context examples, Sarah's marriage to Corey and Trevor, the "male crush" that Corey and Trevor have on Ricky and/or Julian (Trevor even at one point suggesting sucking the venom out of a snake bite on Ricky's penis, but backed down when Ricky seemed less than responsive to the idea.) and if you want to get into the Les Yay, there's always Sarah and Lucy.
Also the early episode in which Ricky wonders if he and Julian are gay. Throughout the series they remain at least 'co-dependent'.
Ricky "I'm not gay, I love Lucy... wait a minute, maybe I am gay."
Evil Debt Collector: In a rare example of the protagonists taking on this role, the Boys were forced to do this to pay their bill after Sam Losco (who was working as a veterinarian) treated a dog Julian was taking care of that ate some of Ricky's hash brownies, and patching up one of Ricky's gunshot wounds. They had to steal a riding mower belonging to a farmer who was another one of Sam's clients and owed him a lot of money...only for Ricky to get shot in the process.
Failure Is the Only Option: The boys will never make enough money to set themselves up for life (or if they do, they spend it all immediately), and Mr. Lahey will never get rid of them permanently. The format is played with a bit in the later seasons though— in Season 6, Lahey becomes a cop again, Randy becomes trailer park supervisor and more.
Gargle Blaster: Swish, a type of moonshine made by extracting the alcohol trapped in the wood of old liquor barrels, which Julian briefly becomes hooked on after he loses his trailer.
Genius Ditz: Ricky, whenever confronted by police or security, unless it's at a Hospital. He's also a master at growing marijuana and turning it into hashish. One episode also demonstrates that he's got a fairly good knowledge of the law, to the point where he actually successfully argues that he needs to smoke and curse in court to properly defend himself.
He once brazenly walked into an office building and stole all their furniture while everyone was still there, telling them he was a mover and new furniture was on its way. The office workers helped him move it.
J-Roc shuts down Lahey at one point by quoting real estate law, and in later episodes discusses his drug dealing using terms straight from business school.
As the show goes on, Lahey demonstrates that he's an effective hunter and trapper, even when he's drunk out of his mind. Unfortunately, his prey happens to be Ricky.
Grey and Grey Morality: While none of the characters are saints, the show never really gets that dark, nor are any of the characters that evil. Granted this is a world where firing guns never results in any casualties.
Human Mail: Cory and Trevor are mailed to a Snoop Dogg concert...along with lots of marijuana.
Hypocritical Humor: Before Bubbles introduces Ricky to Shitty Bill, he warns Ricky not to call him "Shitty Bill". Then it immediately cuts to the next scene where Bubbles calls him "Shitty" several times in casual conversation. Then again, he only said to not call him "Shitty Bill", which he never does.
Idiosyncratic Episode Naming : "Jim Leahy's A Fucking Drunk and Always Will Be," "I'm Not Gay, I Love Lucy...Wait, Maybe I Am Gay," many, many others.
Based on and many taken from the actor's former college roommate. Should the show ever be revived or another movie made, the writers have stated they have many they never got around to using.
"Just remember Lahey, what comes around is all around!"
Limited Wardrobe: Most of the cast, minus the girls. Ricky wears exactly one outfit a season (track pants and a colorful shirt), Julian always wears a form fitting black muscle t-shirt and black pants, Bubbles is always in a flannel, Randy wears (nothing but) a pair of too-tight white pants, Leahey's park supervisor uniform (until he's reinstated as a cop, then he's almost never seen out of uniform).
Meaningful Name: Ricky's daughter is named "Trinity". It's implied that she might be Julian's.
Mockumentary: The style of the filming. While it does make more of an effort to keep the believability of a camera crew following these guys around in often implausable situations (cutting to security camera footage, the cast often directly address the crew or even involve them (usually Ricky), they do often get forgotten, especially season 6 (season 7 made up for it with more of an effort to remind everyone that this is supposed to be a documentary).
Never Live It Down: Shitty Bill, whose childhood accident gave him the nickname which has stuck to this day.
The Movie: Two of them, with a third on the way. Four if you count the pilot movie.
Bubbles is regularly underestimated because of his glasses by park outsiders.
Only One Name: Every regular on the show that's not related to Jim Lahey. Taken to the extreme that the boys are only referred to by their first names (or nickname in Bubble's case) in COURT.
Only a Flesh Wound: Ricky is shot in the leg by Mr. Lahey at one point and he has to wait for medical attention while the cops, Mr. Lahey, Randy and Julian all argue.
Ricky seems to be written for this trope. He's been shot multiple times, once with a homemade ARROW by Lahey, and at one point he was dead for 6 minutes.
"So the fuck what if you were shot? I was DEAD you dummies. You should call a DUMBULANCE."
In the Countdown to Liquor Day movie, Randy is shot through the belly, but it's "only a fat wound".
Only Sane Man: Bubbles tends to be one of the smarter and more law-abiding residents of Sunnyvale. This is mentioned in "The Bible Pimp", when a Bible salesman asks if Bubbles is crazy and Ray tells him Bubbles is "The sharpest guy in the park".
Perpetual Poverty: Everyone. Especially Julian when his get-rich-quick schemes go bust.
Randy has almost never been seen with a shirt on. Even in the episodes that take place in winter.
Randy and Mr. Lahey's "relationship" and the odd situations they would be found in for the first few seasons.
Julian almost always has a rum and coke in his hand. When he doesn't it's because he's doing something that takes two hands, and someone else is holding it.
He even manages to not spill it while rolling a car over without a seatbelt.
Or that time he was tazed by Lahey.
If Julian needs both hands to drive, it sits in full view on the dashboard.
Phil(idelphia) Colins and his gut and burps.
Randy (and Phil, in the later seasons) and Cheeseburgers
Calling Sam Losco a "Caveman" or something similar.
When Ricky says "Smokes" and someone (usually Cory and Trevor) give him their cigarettes.
At one point it even works on the opposing prosecutor in a courtroom.
Randy always taking off his pants (or trying to) before he fights Ricky.
Mr. Lahey and his shit analogies - shithawks, shitropes, etc.
Also, when talking about Julian, he will invariably always throw in "sexy" as an adjective.
He's playing sexy hardball with us, Randy.
Ricky being able to try to talk his way out of everything. Something usually happens that messes it up, but the man's talent for bullshitting is something to behold.
Ricky falling when trying to run. Also people throwing things.
Ricky getting shot.
People treating Cory and Trevor like dogs:
*Whistles* "Come here boys" *Whistles*
"Trevor! Trevor drop him!"
Whenever a fight happens, an off-screen character named Donny yelling "WHAT IN THE FUCK?"
Screwed by the Network: How the show and both movies were treated in the US. The show was picked up by BBC America, airing in a heavily censored version, and canceled after just two episodes, the first movie got dumped into regional release (in New York City and Los Angeles only) and the second movie went straight-to-DVD.
Series Fauxnale: Originally the creators wanted to end the series at season five, but after wrapping up filming for the season they decided to stick with the series a little longer. So if you didn't like the series finale or how the second movie ended, you can just pretend that "The Shit Blizzard" was the final episode.
Pushed back further now with an eighth season and third movie on the way.