By David Bienenstock
“We have the entire park to ourselves—all night. It’s surreal sometimes,” admits Mike Clattenburg, director and head writer of The Trailer Park Boys, after escorting me to my first Big Dirty—a drunken, stoned, Friday-night cast party for the hardworking potheads who bring you Canada’s hottest TV show. “Most of us play music, so we get drums, guitars, amps—everything—and jam into the wee hours. It’s for cast and crew only, so we can all let down our hair.”
For the record: Nobody lets down their hair faster or further than Pat Roach, better known as Randy, a shirtless, hamburger-obsessed assistant trailer-park supervisor, who slugs vodka and Red Bull from an oversize mug large enough to hold five beers, while repeatedly screaming ,“Big Dirty!” at the top of his considerable lungs. And the party only started about 10 minutes ago.
The rest of the gang take just a bit longer to warm up, but soon enough Clatty’s rocking on his drum kit, backing a small pickup band composed of as many musicians as can comfortably cram onto the wooden deck outside Julian’s trailer. John Paul Tremblay, who plays Julian, and Robb Wells, who plays his life-partner-in-crime, Ricky, also make it to this Big Dirty, flying in direct from Toronto, where they spent the day starring in a music video for The Trailer Park Boys Movie, destined to become Canada’s highest-grossing homegrown film and soon to jump the border into American theaters.
The Boys finished work on their major motion picture just before starting the current season of the TV show—their seventh, and rumored to be their curtain call, or perhaps just the start of a high-atus. Today was the final day of shooting on the main set, and who knows? This just might be the final Big Dirty.
Meanwhile, I head inside Julian’s trailer to grab a beer from a cooler on the living-room floor and find that it looks just as real from the inside as from the outside. Slowly, the surreal feeling starts creeping up on me, but it doesn’t fully take hold until after a few more beers fished from the cooler and more than a few joints originating from parts unknown. That’s when I excuse myself and wander off to take a piss on a grassy hill overlooking the party. Looking back over my shoulder, shaking out the last few drops, I’m finally struck dumb by where I am and what I’m seeing: Sunnyvale Trailer Park, in all its low-rent glory.
A short ride outside the port city of Halifax, the park, as they call it, occupies an otherwise idyllic bit of land. At sunset, after the day’s filming had wrapped and before the start of the Big Dirty, I puffed a joint next to the garbage dump where Ricky’s father Ray houses the detached tractor-trailer rig he lives in, enjoying a beautiful view of tree-topped hills surrounding a wide, slow-moving river. And now that I’m properly drunk and stoned beneath a sky of twinkling stars, the fictional world these guys bring to life suddenly looks as real as anyplace I’ve ever been. I half expect a hash-hockey game, if not a shootout, to erupt.