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Series / Billy the Exterminator

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Title card used for S1–S5
Title card used for S4–S7
Billy the Exterminator was a Reality Show about Billy Bretherton and his family, who run an extermination buisiness in Louisiana. The show chronicles mainly Billy's adventures trying to rid homes of various pests, ranging from roaches to snakes to beavers. Occasionally, Billy's brother, Ricky, joins him or has some cases of his own.

Billy's first appearance was on an episode of Dirty Jobs. That segment proved popular enough that the show returned the next season to follow Billy on a different task.

Billy the Exterminator aired for six seasons on A&E in the U.S. from 2009 to 2012. A seventh season, filmed in Canada and titled Billy Goes North, aired on CMT Canada in 2016.

This series contains examples of:

  • Albinos Are Freaks: Justified. In one episode, Billy encounters an albino raccoon, and refuses to release it into the wild out of fear that its white fur will make it highly visible to predators.
  • Ascended Extra: As mentioned above, Billy and Vexcon first appeared on Dirty Jobs and were enough of a hit that they ended up getting their own show.
    • Similarly, this show did the same thing for Duck Dynasty: in one Season Two episode, Billy and Ricky were called in to rid the Robertsons' duck blinds of water moccasins, only for Ricky to get attacked by wasps, causing them to leave the job early, since Ricky is deathly allergic to bee and wasp stings. A couple of years later, the Robertsons' had their own reality show on A&E.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: For all their typical middle-aged bantering (almost always Played for Laughs anyway), Big Bill and Donnie do share a few really sweet, affectionate moments with one another.
  • Badass Longcoat: Used by Billy as part of an improvised bee suit he used in early episodes. Along with a snowboarding mask and a feather boa. The entire getup worked quite well with the exception of the boa, as the bees were able to crawl through it and sting him several times in the neck.
  • Big Brother Instinct: If something bad happens to Ricky, such as getting stung by a bee or wasp (Ricky's deathly allergic to stings), Billy will drop whatever they're doing to get him medical attention immediately.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Billy usually doesn't swear very much, but the bleeps will start to flow during particularly difficult jobs, such as when he had to remove a gigantic bee nest and took hundreds of stings through his clothes.
  • Cool Shades: Ricky usually just wears sunglasses while driving, but Billy almost always has his on, to the point that when he doesn't have them on, it seems odd.
  • Creepy Cockroach: One of the most frequent insect pests Billy and the crew have to deal with next to the mahogany wasps is cockroach infestations, which sometimes can reach biblical proportions.
  • Crossover: A regular guest on Billy the Exterminator (especially this past season) is Gary Saurage of Gator Country (an alligator farm); as it turns out, Gary has his own show about Gator Country called Gator 911, which airs on CMT.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Billy, Ricky, and the rest of the Vexcon staff all wear black, yet provide a valuable service for their community. Even moreso in that when possible they prefer to relocate animals as opposed to killing them.
    • Billy explains in one episode that part of the reason he wears black is so he can brush himself off quickly in between jobs to look somewhat presentable for clients, and likewise, the skull and crossbones in the Vexcon logo is because he used to treat a lot of apartment complexes of residents who didn't speak English, so for him to show up dressed like he is, holding a can of spray, they would immediately understand he's the exterminator.
  • A Day in Her Apron: In S6 E11, Donnie is out sick, so Big Bill has to answer the phone at the office. He struggles immensely to keep up with the volume of phone calls.
  • Family Business: Billy's parents run Vexcon and his co-workers include his brother and (briefly) his & Ricky's wives.
  • Forgotten Anniversary: In one episode of S1, Billy forgets his and Mary's anniversary, which is part of what prompts Mary to leave the company.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: One episode had the camera cut away when an alligator was shot in the head in compliance with local wildlife regulations regarding nuisance alligators over a certain size.
  • Groin Attack:
    • One episode had a small alligator attempt this on Billy; just barely missing nailing his unmentionables, but still managing to tear a hole in the crotch of his pants. This was after they had to first catch two snakes.
      Billy: (To the gator) Looks like we were both after snakes; you were after mine, and I was after yours.
    • In an episode of S7, Billy's bee suit has a hole in the crotch, and a bee goes through it and stings him.
  • Halloween Episode: In one episode, Billy and Ricky do a job at a haunted house in New Orleans.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Billy and Ricky will often wear combinations of various black leather clothing articles as part of their wardrobe, sometimes with spikes or studs. Billy once explained that the leather is thick enough to protect him from most stinging insects, and the spiked wristbands safeguard his forearms from snake and animal bites.
  • Introductory Opening Credits: The original title sequence introduces Billy, Donnie, Big Bill, Ricky, and Mary, accompanied by a three-second video clip of each of them, as well as text describing their relation to Billy.
  • Mr. Exposition: Happens in several ways. In some instances, Billy and Ricky will talk about the possible harm a pest can cause on their way to a job. As they both already know this, it seems to be filmed mainly to let the viewer in on it. There are also times when Billy explains things to Donnie after she has given him an assignment. Since Donnie is the office manager and doesn't actuallly go out on jobs, it may be necessary to explain to her why it's important to take care of the pest but the way the conversation is carried out makes it seem as though this is also filmed mainly to explain things to the viewer.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The original Introductory Opening Credits show Billy handling a snake and Ricky handling an alligator. They also show, with the exact same style and tone, the rest of the family doing mundane things at the office.
  • New Season, New Name: Season 7 (which takes place in Canada instead of Louisiana) is officially titled Billy Goes North.
  • Oh, Crap!: Pretty much a Once an Episode thing, especially if the job Billy and/or Ricky are called out to seems to be a particularly serious situation, expect either of them to say to the camera, "I was thinking to myself, 'Oh God, what have we gotten ourselves into?'."
  • Once a Season: It seems like each season has at least one episode where Billy is really sick, yet still has to go out on a job anyway and weather the illness. One episode in particular where he was so sick, his work clearly wasn't up to snuff, and everything was going wrong for him, such as trying to set up a trap at a golf course, and constantly tripping over himself or the trap.
  • Put on a Bus: Ricky's ex-wife, Pam, during the first season (much to the rest of the family's relief), and similarly Billy's wife, Mary, was eventually dropped as well when she "quit" Vexcon since she really wasn't much of a fit for the company. However, Mary was still featured in the main titles on the show up till Season Four.
  • Rascally Raccoon: Several calls have involved raccoons intruding on peoples' property.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Billy's mother Donnie seems to be a firm believer in this trope; even a small, harmless snake causes her to throw a hysterical fit until the offending serpent is no longer present.
  • Retool: A minor, yet noticeable example, but throughout the first season, each episode continually went back and forth between Billy's professional life as a Vexcon exterminator, and his dysfunctional personal life with the drama going on with his family, especially concerning his wife, Mary, and Ricky's separated/divorced wife, Pam. Afterwards, pretty much all aspects of Billy's personal life, for the most part, was left out of the show, and focused mostly on the jobs he went out on. Then starting with Season Three and onward, the family got more involved with the business aspect as well, with Ricky going out on job by himself, or even Big Bill and Donnie going on jobs if either Billy and Ricky were unavailable, and we would still be treated to an occasional quirky scenario going on at the offices.
  • Road Trip Plot: Season four has Billy and Ricky visiting various new locales, such as Phoenix, Chicago and Florida, to deal with different threats, such as javalinas.
  • Scary Stinging Swarm: The bee and wasp jobs tend to be especially grueling, and even dangerous due to the potential to be swarmed by thousands of venomous insects (particularly for Ricky, who is allergic to wasp venom).
  • Shown Their Work: A necessity with their line of work.
    • Billy studied biology and entomology while he was in the Air Force, and he got his start as an exterminator during a posting at a base in Las Vegas.
    • Ricky has an allergy to wasp venom so he could die from getting stung.
  • Totally Radical: Billy's vocabulary, to an extent where you can make a Drinking Game out of the number of times he says "dude" and "man" alone.
  • Tranquilizer Dart: Used by Billy to sedate an escaped donkey that was too wild for him to get close enough to lasso.
  • Viewers Are Goldfish: There are times it seems like they don't know how the episodes are being put together, and just film each segment to paste together later. This means that Billy will explain the dangers of each insect over and over (mahogany wasps and cockroaches seem to be the worst in Louisiana,) alongside explaining what the chemicals he uses are, and how they work.
  • Very Special Episode: One double-length episode saw Billy and Ricky go down to the Gulf Coast to see the damage that was caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.


Video Example(s):


Billy the Exterminator

Billy's devotion to his job as an exterminator places strain on his and Mary's relationship. His solution is to bring Mary out on jobs with him.

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Main / MarriedToTheJob

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