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Trailer Park Boys: Live at the North Pole (2014)

by on 2014/12/13

Live at the North Pole (2014)
“I’m sorry it had to go down like this, okay?”

* *

At this point, we’re well acquainted with the Trailer Park Boys. We hope for their highs, fear for their lows, and keep coming back, even though they test us lately more often than they used to.

In fact, when I heard that this Christmas special was shot in Minneapolis, a part of me chortled at the irony of a TPB show in the heart of Prairie Home Companion territory. I love them both, but the divide between their relative qualities is sadly widening again.

As in their Netflix Dublin special, the live show is introduced by a framework set in Sunnyvale. It’s a sequence both low in production values and high in “meta” reality. It’s a strong beginning and, sadly, the funniest twenty minutes of the video.

What follows is a live “performance” of Bubbles (Mike Smith) enticing Ricky (Robb Wells) and Julian (John Paul Tremblay) into believing in Santa and being less of a Scrooge respectively. This vague semblance of a plot serves as the barest of excuses to spend the next hour acting — or actually being — stoned, drunk, vulgar, and combative, both amongst themselves and with volunteers from the audience. The mock stupidity becomes true stupidity almost immediately, or at least as soon as the players take to the stage.

It struck me early and often that the audience was less interested in plot than they were in being in an altered state, everyone wallowing in the zoo-like experience of ogling heroes. As with the Beatles, who needn’t have made a sound, the fans showed up just to howl.

As I type this I’m flashing back to Zach Galifianakis Live. It’s not a very good flashback, unfortunately.

I recently read some news about creator Mike Clattenburg signing over the rights to the series to Smith, Tremblay, and Wells. At first I was excited about the dead show being revived, but efforts like North Pole give me pause and doubt. The Trailer Park Boys as a franchise is really the story of insight masquerading as idiocy. Considered as two separate elements, I love one well enough to accept the other. When the former is lost, however, the latter alone won’t keep me invested.

These aren’t the Boys I want to spend my time with.

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Preview (offsite):

Rated 18A

89 minutes

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