WINNIPEG – The RBC Convention Centre was a bustling scene on Friday as the 2023 Winnipeg Comiccon opened its doors. By late afternoon, dozens of people were lined up to get an autograph and see fan favourites The Trailer Park Boys arrive from Nova Scotia to join a packed lineup of celebrity guests.
After more than 12 seasons, 100 episodes, and three feature length films, the mockumentary television series which debuted in 2001 has become iconic in Canadian pop culture and generated international acclaim. Before they met their fans, Ricky (played by Robb Wells,) Julian, (John Paul Tremblay), and Bubbles (Mike Smith) spent some time with CTV Winnipeg’s Joseph Bernacki to reflect on life in Sunnyvale Trailer Park.
All three stayed in character for the interview and the conversation was reflected as such. We pickup the conversation with Bubbles talking about winter and arriving in Winnipeg.
Bubbles I’ve got to ask you, we’ve got snow on the ground, how are the cats and the Kittyland Love Centre doing?
Bubbles: Oh it’s fine, it’s not snowing back home, it’s twenty degrees yesterday. The kitties were out laying on their things in the sun there. I have these loungers, about 100 loungers out there so it was a big spa day yesterday.
Julian is this the first time for the boys to be in Winnipeg?
Julian: No, we’ve been here a few times.
It’s good to be back?
Julian: It’s a great party place, it’s a little bit cold today with some snow. We don’t even have that yet back in Sunnyvale, it’s been pretty sunny there, but yeah we can take it. We’ll have a few drinks and get through it.
Are you looking for a few business opportunities in Winnipeg, maybe open up a bar?
Julian: Of course, I mean maybe a bar, it’s pretty flat here so I got to get the whole flat thing in to my head, maybe I’ll brainstorm something later.
As a fan of the series, Ricky I’ve got to ask you, you’re still driving that 1975 Chrysler New Yorker around the park, what’s it like driving that beat up car and how’s it still running today?
Ricky: It was amazing, it’s still running but it doesn’t drive anymore I blew the rear end and we can’t get a new one so. It was in the best car in the world, really comfortable to sleep in, five cigarette lighters so you could smoke, whatever door you were at. It was great.
We actually ran a story out of CTV Atlantic a few months ago of a fan in Ontario who made a replica of the car, have you had a chance to see the car?
Ricky: I did, I actually drove that car. It’s pretty close, it’s just not the same. It made me kind of sad actually.
Nothing beats the original?
I’ve got to ask you Ricky, a few years ago we lost Trailer Park Supervisor Jim Lahey. Do you have any fond moments in some of the escapades you shared with him that you can share with us on camera?
Ricky: He was probably one of the greatest drunks in world history I think.
Bubbles: He could drink liquor.
Ricky: One of my favourite memories was when we got him fired from the police force.
Bubbles: That’s not a favourite memory.
Ricky: It was kind of an accident, we didn’t really try.
That’s a Halloween memory?
Ricky: That’s right, you’re pretty good.
It’s been twenty years since you guys kidnapped Alex Lifeson of Rush….
Ricky: Borrowed, Alex Lifeson.
Bubbles, where does that rank getting a chance to sing and play Closer To The Heart with Rush?
Bubbles: That was a big deal for me. When he was in the park I got to play at the benefit concert.
Any chance you’re going to get your Grade 12 diploma Ricky, you’ve got your Grade 10 and Grade 11?
Ricky: I don’t think I need it. I’ve got a question, I think a long time ago we were here and there was some golden weed man statue up on the building is that still here?
The Golden Boy, yes it’s on top of our Legislative Building.
Ricky: Is that real gold, is it heavy?
I sure hope it’s real gold.
Bubbles: Ricky, you’re not stealing the Golden Boy.
Julian: Actually you can see it right over there, Ricky we’re not climbing up that building to steal that thing, it’s not happening. We’ll end up in the hospital or jail, or both.
You know Julian, I’ve got to ask you, as we see in season one of the show, it was really your idea to start filming this whole series of you guys in Sunnyvale. More than twenty years later, how does it feel looking back on the beloved series you guys created, working with pretty much an entire cast of Canadians, I think that’s pretty impressive?
Julian: It was pretty impressive, but the money wasn’t that impressive. I mean, a lot of times they were paying us in booze and smoke able things and pizza and cat food. I wish we had thought about that a little more getting into it.
Bubbles, how does it feel seeing all these fans lineup at Comiccon to see you guys knowing that you’ve meant a big part of so many people’s lives through entertainment?
Bubbles: It’s amazing, meeting the fans, it’s the whole reason we do it. Some people come up and start crying, they’re so happy.
Ricky: It’s really amazing, we have the best fans in the world and we love Winnipeg. It’s been awhile and it’s going to be nice to see some Winnipeg fans again.
Before I let you guys go, aside from Swearnet, anything for the fans upcoming that you’d like to share? Maybe some projects or things down the line?
Julian: Yeah we were actually just released from jail. We did a whole series in jail. That’s the second one. Bubbles went out with his band, The S***rockers. They’ve got a movie coming out and we’re in it.
Ricky: With who, anybody big? Wasn’t there some big Hollywood guy in it?
Julian: There’s some big people in it. Bubbles, why don’t you talk about that?
Bubbles: Oh, Billy Bob Thornton, I went on tour with him, he was playing music, I was opening for him in Europe and they filmed it.
Well hopefully no one has called you Patrick Swayze yet Julian?
Julian: You just did. (Ricky laughs)
I want to thank all three of you for your time today, it’s been a thrill chatting with you and you can catch them here at the 2023 Winnipeg Comic Con and it’s going to be a great weekend.
Ricky and Bubbles: Come on down and see us!
Julian: Cheers, Winnipeg!
With more shows in production and countless appearances across the country, it’s clear the boys from Sunnyvale Trailer Park are not slowing down any time soon. What really stands out in conversation with the characters they portray is the lengths at which they will go for friendship. Despite the chaos that takes place in the series, whether it’s getting to a Rush concert by any means necessary, rescuing a chicken for a science fair project, dressing up as astronauts or building a full scale wrestling ring in the park, the little moments on the show like those are just some of what’s carried Trailer Park Boys forward in Canadian television history.
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