Last time we checked in with our favorite coterie of Canadian hooligans and their hit show, Trailer Park Boys, we took a look at some surprising trivia on the boys as well as a slew of running jokes that fans can't help but quote. Now it's time to shift gears toward a topic that's a little more seamy and controversial in nature. Like how every trailer park hides within it a dirty mess or two (think back to Bubbles' shed in season one), so too do the Trailer Park Boys hide a few behind-the-scenes messes of their own. These factoids—which aren't necessarily as lighthearted and playful as the show tends to be—are strangely satisfying to read about for reasons that are, well, strangely complicated.
The truth is Trailer Park Boys holds a special place inside all of us. The "cult-hit" show, which first officially aired on Showcase in 2001, has provided fans with content so uniquely hilarious and out-of-left-field that it continues to make us hyperventilate with laughter to this day. We've come to love Ricky, Julian, Bubbles, and the gang as much as we would a second family— and it's that very love that makes the following factoids so surprising and strange to digest.
While some of these secrets are admittedly quite innocuous and harmless, there's a general feeling that emerges as a result: the waters surrounding Sunnyvale are much muddier than we initially thought.
Here are 15 Dark Behind-The Scenes Secrets About Trailer Park Boys.
15 Mike Smith (Bubbles) Arrested On Abuse Allegations
Just days after the release of the tenth season of Trailer Park Boys on Netflix, Mike Smith (Bubbles) was arrested on abuse allegations in L.A. The incident, which took place on April 1st inside the bathroom of a famous Hollywood hotel, involved an altercation between Smith and a woman. Witnesses claim they heard a woman yell something about being choked; and upon investigating allegedly found Smith pinning the woman against a bathroom wall.
Smith reportedly ran from the scene and was detained by LAPD officers not long after. He was officially arrested for a misdemeanor domestic battery charge and released on a $20,000 bail. Both Smith and the alleged victim later spoke out on the incident, denying any wrongdoing on either side.
“At no point did I feel I was in danger, otherwise I would’ve called the police myself, which I did not,” the woman involved said. “The police were called by others not present in the room who mistakenly perceived the argument to be something other than what it was.”
The abuse allegations against Smith were dropped a month later on May 2nd.
14 Lucy Left The Show In Response
Upon hearing the news of Smith's arrest, co-star Lucy DeCoutere went to Twitter and posted a message that took many fans by surprise. DeCoutere, in direct response to the charges laid out against Smith, tweeted her resignation from Trailer Park Boys.
Her position on the Mike Smith-incident was crystal-clear considering the tweet she posted a few hours beforehand, which read, "If I find out that somebody is abusive, I cut them out of my life. It's very easy."
There is some controversy as to whether DeCoutere's departure from Trailer Park Boys is 100% connected to Smith's arrest. Producers claim the 45-year-old actress had told them prior to the incident that she was planning on leaving the show. There seems to exist a rift between DeCoutere's account and the producers' account, which makes Lucy's resignation all the more interesting and curious to consider.
13 Lucy, A Victim of Abuse
Say whatever you will about the situation, Lucy DeCoutere is not without her own set of personal reasons for calling it quits with Trailer Park Boys. Nearly three years ago, DeCoutere came out and claimed Jian Ghomeshi, a former CBC Radio host, had physically attacked her after a dinner date in 2003. DeCoutere's choice to sue Ghomeshi came after similar accusations were made against him by a total of seven other women.
Things become incredibly eerie considering how similar DeCoutere's reported incident is to Mike Smith's from this year. Here's a statement made by DeCoutere regarding the night with Ghomeshi (notice the obvious parallels here): "He did take me by the throat and press me against the wall and choke me. And he did slap me across the face a couple of times."
Plus, this tweet from Smith doesn't make matters any less icky-feeling.
12 Trailer Park Boys: The Movie Allegedly Used Breasts To Up Sales
Did you know that Jeremy Taggart (ex-drummer of Our Lady Peace) and Jonathan Torrens (J-Roc) star in a podcast together? The long-running podcast, called Taggart and Torrens, touches upon plenty of different topics—one of which being some behind-the-scenes Trailer Park Boys goodies.
According to one conversation on the podcast, Ivan Reitman, Executive Producer of Trailer Park Boys: The Movie, included boobs in the film in the hopes of getting more teenagers to rent the movie at Blockbuster. Keep in mind Trailer Park Boys: The Movie came out in 2006—an era when a "business decision" such as this no doubt had some sway on a few adolescents and their pocket change.
Torrens also talks about how Reitman's vision of the film differed greatly from the rest of the cast and crew's. He cited Reitman's desire for an Americanized, "greatest-hits" version of Trailer Park Boys. The cast and crew did not share this vision, but—as they say—sex sells.
11 Cory And Trevor Get Paid Minimum Wage
Life has this very strange way of imitating art—take, for example, the case of Cory and Trevor. As covered in a previous Trailer Park Boys article, there was allegedly very little difference between how these two were treated on-screen versus how they were treated off-screen. This point runs especially true regarding how poorly they were supposedly paid.
In a lengthy blog post written by Michael Jackson (no, not that MJ—the actor who plays Trevor), Jackson talks about how the two were paid "scale wages" for most of their time on the show. Jackson points out that an actor picking up a gig for a Tim Horton's commercial gets paid about double a "scale wage" rate. Despite the duo being on the show from the start (and for 6+ seasons), they only ever reportedly received a 15% raise. Jackson claims that, in many instances, he had to fix equipment, move around set pieces, and run grip as well.
10 Other On-Set Grievances
Jackson also had plenty of other miscellaneous grievances to air regarding his stint with Trailer Park Boys. He makes reference to a variety of negative conditions he faced (including but not limited to): poor communication between crew and management, moldy trailers and disgusting bathrooms, favoritism of certain cast members, incompetent higher-ups, unfair treatment, and just an overall hostile work environment.
Just listen to how Jackson signs off his blog post to get an idea of the emotion behind what he's talking about here:
"i was disrespected as an actor and as a person and i know that me standing up and saying f--k you i’ve had enough hasn’t changed anything. i was ripped off financially and that kind of sucks but mostly i just wasn’t having fun anymore. the show isn’t the same show that it was in the beginning and life is too short to not have fun."
If all of what Jackson says is true (keep in mind there is always the possibility Jackson's post is exaggerated or even fabricated), it's pretty difficult to view the creation of Trailer Park Boys in the same light.
9 "Julian Burgers" Are Greasy, Rewrapped McDonald's Hamburgers
Trailer Park Boys have had their fair share of live shows throughout the years, including the aptly-named “Drunk, High, and Unemployed” Tour (2015) and the even-more-aptly-named “Still Drunk, High, and Unemployed” Tour (2016). While the jokes/material/content varies between each tour, there’s one common thread that happens to connect all of these live shows together: Julian selling overpriced food items. Whether it be hamburgers, hot dogs, or potato chips, Julian seems to always be in attendance trying push off some greasy grub to the crowd.
At first glance, this may seem like a great investment (who wouldn’t want a burger cooked by Julian on a George Foreman grill?). But be forewarned, one Reddit user describes his encounter with a ‘Julian Burger’, and it’s not pretty: “I decided to get one, even though the price was quite high. Turns out it was just a sh--ty McDonalds cheeseburger wrapped in an A4 piece of paper stamped with a new logo.”
Take a look a picture the Reddit user attached of the burger here.
8 The Handgun Found In The Swamp
One of the many benefits of owning a season of Trailer Park Boys on DVD is the episode commentaries included on each disc. While this may be a relatively standard feature for most TV show DVDs, there’s just something magical about being able to listen to the Trailer Park Boys cast crack jokes and riff about their favorite scenes together.
It’s on the season 4 DVD where some of the cast is talking about the episode with Conky— Bubbles’ demonic ventriloquist dummy— that Robb Wells (Ricky) admits they found the handgun featured in the episode in the swamp. Not much else is said on the matter, but it’s still pretty boggling to consider the gun Ricky holds up the vet store with happened to be found right around where Conky was buried.
7 J-Roc Aged Out Of His Role
Here is another goody courtesy of the Taggart and Torrens podcast. Jonathan Torrens (J-Roc) has been pretty transparent about his decision to leave Trailer Park Boys (he sent out a four-part tweet on April 20th making his decision to “hang up the ol’ do-rag” public.) Hearing it from the mouth of the man himself, however, sheds new light on some of the reasoning behind his leave.
As discussed in this episode, Torrens’ decision boiled down to a desire to move onward with his career. Torrens felt “satisfied” with all work he had put into the character of J-Roc, but cites how at a certain point there’s no room left to authentically expand on a character. He makes some mention of his age here too, stating, "You're 43 and you're wearing a do-rag. [The audience is] not buying you as a gangster anymore."
Although we were all upset to hear the news that J-Roc wasn't going to be joining Trailer Park Boys for season 11, props to Torrens for staying true to himself and being open with his fans.
6 Crew Members Overworked
It seems that Cory and Trevor weren't the only ones that were, well, treated like Cory and Trevor on-set. According to Jackson's blog post, there were a number of members of the Trailer Park Boys crew that also were straight-up Cory-and-Trevor'ed.
There was Rev Bob— a saint-like art director— who "[worked] 24 hours a day trying to dress/build the sets and [never was given] enough people to help him do it properly." He supposedly worked up until season 4, when he dropped out.
Then there was Andy Miller, who "came on as the art director and did an amazing job but faced all the same problems that rev bob faced... [he] had to deal with a schedule that constantly changed and really bad communication."
Jackson also name drops Todd Murchie (who did camera work for the show) and Richard Colp (an "on-set craft" worker) as "people who worked their a--es off".
5 Mr. Lahey Much Straighter Than We Imagined
John Dunsworth (Mr. Lahey) gave an AMA on Reddit roughly two years ago, and something mildly shocking surfaced during the exchange. Dunsworth, in response to a question about just where the heck all his "sh--isms" come from, gave an answer nobody would have ever expected. Dunsworth doesn’t improvise his sh--isms, write them, or even completely endorse them.
Here’s what Dunsworth (Mr. “That's the sounds of whispering winds of sh-t” himself) had to say about the matter: "I'm a little bit embarrassed to say that I used to teach at University, back in the 80's. And I taught my students never to be involved in bathroom humor.”
Dunsworth admits in the AMA most of the sh--isms from the show are written by John Paul Tremblay (Julian). He also admits, however, he loves delivering them, and has plenty of "outside practice" with the whole drinking thing too.
4 Bubbles' Glasses Actually Belong To A Dead Lady
It’s true! Those ultra-iconic, thick-to-the-point-of-absurd glasses we know and adore so much actually belong to a dead lady! Well, perhaps more accurately, they had belonged to an elderly woman years and years ago.
Bubbles breaks down the tale of how he acquired his trademark rims in this awesome Trailer Park Boys "Oral History" article. It turns out his girlfriend at the time came across them at an estate sale, and couldn’t help herself:
“They were 50 cents, and she knew that I would think they were funny because they were so thick, so she bought them as a joke. There was a picture of the old lady who the glasses belonged to, too. She only had 50 cents on her, so she bought the glasses but not the picture. I would love to have that picture.”
3 Money-Hungry Producers
We've already heard of some general money woes among the cast/crew of Trailer Park Boys in the early days. Here, however, is a particularly striking section from Jackson's blog:
"i tried to negotiate a better contract and barrie dunn told me that everyone was getting paid the same and if he paid me more he would have to pay everyone else more. for some reason i believed him and the idea of us all making the same somehow seemed fair. later on i found out that almost every actor on the show was making a different amount of money…some a lot more than me and some even less than me."
By this point in the show's development, things were really beginning to take off. According to Jackson's post, it was around season 4, visibility for the show was at a high, and theoretically there should have been money available to pay actors more than just "scale wage". Keep in mind this was supposedly Jackson's first raise above minimum wage; and it came only after spending multiple years hard at work at the trailer park.
2 Cory Comes Back Without Trevor
While Michael Jackson (Trevor) painted the picture of working on the set of Trailer Park Boys as a living nightmare, there is still another important side of the story we have yet to consider: Cory Bowles'. His account of leaving Trailer Park Boys after season 6 (right alongside with Jackson) is surprisingly neutral. Bowles even makes special note that he left Trailer Park Boys "on no bad circumstances".
This all took place in 2006. Then cut to almost 8 years later, and it's announced that Cory will be returning to the ranks without Jackson. The on-screen explanation as to how the duo separated is done in good ol' Trailer Park Boys fashion: Cory and Trevor escape from a mental hospital, hitchhike around the world together, then get lost on a subway and never see each other again.
It's a funny and convenient way to write Cory back in, but also slightly controversial considering the conflicting takes. Whose story do we believe here?
1 Is The Weed Actually Weed?
It’s a question every super fan has asked themselves at least once: is all the weed the boys smoke on the set of Trailer Park Boys real? Considering just how essential the herb is to the show itself, it’s probably a question that’s worth diving into.
Let’s first establish one important thing here: there’s absolutely no doubt that, off-camera, many members of the crew have a penchant for toking up. Whether it be the Getting Doug With High episode or John Dunsworth's daughter mentioning something about smoking a joint with Mike Smith (Bubbles), there's some evidence the boys do like to imbibe a little.
But how about on-set? Well, according to Lucy DeCoutere, all that "weed smoke" you see billowing from the cast members is actually from tobacco/herbal cigarettes. Now before you go renouncing your love for the show or filing a strongly-worded complaint or anything like that, know this: there's talk that the Trailer Park Boys live shows often smell a bit "skunky" around the cast. Take that however you'd like.
Filming for Trailer Park Boys season 12 is officially underway!