A Three-Tiered Shit-Dyke: Joy Needs Love Needs Sex, Sunnyvale, 23/04/2016

One of the benefits of being on Netflix, as opposed to even a post-watershed cable TV channel, is how explicit you can be with sex. Sex is an essential part of the human condition, rooted in our physicalities. No matter what kind of sexuality you may have – and your sexuality is as singular as you are – you will have some kind of sexuality. Even asexuality as a human is a relation to sex. Humanity can’t escape from sex, and we shouldn’t want to in the first place.

Western morality has separated sex from love for so long that a lot of us are still digging our way out from that situation. But we have to understand that the truest, deepest loves express themselves in the greasiest, nastiest, most freakily creative sex. The greatest fucks aren't just genital fucks, but mind-fucks. There should be no difference between body-fucks and mind-fucks – there are only fucks. Body, thought, and spirit intermingling into a dense and complex integration that produces more than either body could become on its own. This is sexuality at the molecular and spiritual level. This is love.

Prince died two days ago. What else could he have taught us but this?

The deepest, most affecting, and frankly most beautiful love story in the entire world of Trailer Park Boys and Sunnyvale Trailer Park is that of Jim Lahey and Randy. Their sexual tension is still thick, solidifying every time they’re on screen together this season. It’s all the more tense because they never act on it. Jim is yearning for Randy, with increasing desperation. But Randy reacts to Jim differently here than he ever has before. He’s loved Jim, he’s been angry, jealous, frustrated, certainly. But now he seems scared. 

Just look at the way Jim rubs cream on Randy’s tortured, wounded nipples after Barb, Donna, and Candy’s latest attack. They’re horribly wounded, the flesh bruised deeply. And Jim rubs tenderly, with the soft brushes of fingertips that penetrate past skin to the heart, to the soul. He’s crying, sorrowful, shredded and quivering. There’s been a crime here, an assault. And Jim's response isn’t like a lawman. He doesn't go out for revenge, like it was some retro Dirty Harry plot. His response is to heal. The answer of love.

Yet Randy’s afraid. He stops Jim. Stops his love. What could have happened to provoke this attitude in Randy toward the only one who’s ever really loved him? When you watch “A Three-Tiered Shit-Dyke,” you wonder about this question. This new season will be incomplete if it doesn’t offer some kind of explanation – and it’ll have to be an answer with the magnitude to match how radical a permanent cleave between Lahey and Randy is.

This season has already seen radical transformations to the landscape and characters of Sunnyvale, and it looks like more are coming. We’ve seen Barb transform into a destructive force and Jim abandon his role as Sunnyvale’s voice of authority. We’ve now seen what looks like an end to the love story between Jim and Randy that's been an important element of Sunnyvale from its earliest days in Canada’s self-consciousness. Now there’s another radical change: Ricky is being pressured to stay out of a criminal lifestyle, and is doing his best to make an actually legitimate living. How successful he’ll be is another issue entirely.

In fact, let’s have a closer look at Ricky here. Of the three Trailer Park Boys of the title, Ricky is the least intelligent. He mangles common sayings, he fails to understand very basic things about ordinary life, like how to dispose of large-scale garbage and how to plan for an actually sustainable retirement. Ricky knows he's pretty fucking stupid, but despite that, he’s still pretty fucking stupid.

Yet there’s one area of life where Ricky is one of the most intelligent people in the whole community of Sunnyvale. Maybe even in the whole city of greater Halifax and the whole province of Nova Scotia. Maybe even one of the smartest people in Canada. That’s crime. Specifically, petty crime like ripping off bicycles from racks to sell at shady bike shops, breaking into houses, and selling fake lottery tickets. He’s also a master horticulturalist and manufacturer, but only when it comes to growing marijuana and refining weed into other products like hash, concentrated hash oils, currency made from hash, and the strongest dab you can’t handle.

Ricky is a verbal and intellectual moron, except for when it comes to calculating a crime. When he’s over-emotional, he gets impulsive and reckless – I still have fond memories of laughing my ass off as Ricky ripped a massive ATM from the walls of a bank. But look at how he plans and improvises his way through the gang’s petty crime spree in “A Three-Tiered Shit-Dyke.”

First, there’s the bike theft at the college. He knows what the bikes are worth and exactly what you have to do to steal them as fast as possible. And when those two hapless student security staff cycle over themselves, Ricky knows exactly how to talk his way out of the situation. He talks with perfect confidence as if he and the crew are some casually dressed contractors, slips them some hash, shit-talks their boss with them, and gives them just enough of an excuse for plausible deniability that they can walk away. 

When they go to that affluent neighbourhood nearby to case for easy robberies, Ricky is the expert reconnaissance man. He knows exactly what to say to appear like an innocent passerby to residents who are still at home, and can break into a house with ease. It doesn’t matter than he can’t pick the lock – he can still get in there and start robbing. 

The problem Ricky encounters in that rich neighbourhood doesn’t have anything to do with any mistakes he makes. It’s that the police have become too attentive. Law and authority are more present in that community, faster, more efficient than seemingly anywhere. The boys are surprised that the police showed up this quickly. They aren’t supposed to be this competent. Ricky talks his way out of the situation with the same ease as he handled the campus security patrol, because he’s only intelligent as a criminal. But he shouldn’t have had to deal with them. The cops arrived whole minutes sooner than they should have. 

Something has changed. Many things have changed in and around Sunnyvale. This isn't the only thing. But the attentiveness and professionalism of the police is the most obvious. The most remarkable. We aren’t dealing with George fucking Green here anymore. What could have caused this new generation of actually professional police officers to appear?

These kinds of cops aren’t typically around Sunnyvale itself. The standard police patrols can easily be kept away with a few well-placed sexual acts of Randy just outside the gate. These kinds of cops come to Sunnyvale after a break-in at an affluent suburban neighbourhood. These are forces of law and order who could actually be a threat to Sunnyvale. Robbing from the types of people these cops protect may actually have consequences – piss these cops off, and you might not get out of jail in time for next season. There’s a new order in town.

Remember some of those conversations a few episodes ago about a new subdivision going up near Sunnyvale? It was just a throwaway comment, but in the light of these new, competent cops in Ricky’s life, we have to take seriously the likelihood of radical change coming to Sunnyvale. Not from any open, violent invasion like Barb’s, even though that is pretty fucking dangerous. No, this is a more creeping, invisible danger.

Could suburbanites be coming to the borders of Sunnyvale? Threatening their joyful anarchy and chaos with actually competent police and law? 

Is this Barb’s actual plan for Sunnyvale? She’s never really been part of the Sunnyvale community before. She was always an authority figure, always at some distance from the real rhythms and styles of Sunnyvale life. Barb has been a creature of law – keeping Jim from drinking, trying to run the park according to explicit rules and regulations. At least that’s how I remember her.

So far this season, we haven’t really heard a justification for Barb wanting to take control of the trailer park. I mean, we’ve heard her justify it as revenge on Julian for weaselling his way into majority ownership while she was shipped off to jail with Donna and Sarah at the end of Season Nine. But that’s not her total motivation – it can’t be. Yeah, she could take Sunnyvale’s ownership back from Julian, but then we’re left with the question of what she’d actually do with it. 

But Barb has never really been part of Sunnyvale. Sunnyvale’s freedom and chaos has always irritated her, hasn’t it? If Barb Lahey has had a nemesis over the last 15 years, it’s been Sunnyvale itself, the trailer park that refuses to calm itself and conform to her wishes for a quiet, uneventful, straight life. Now Barb is unrestrained, a violent bully who has embraced an aggressive lesbian life. Sunnyvale, always Barb’s nemesis, has finally broken her. Yes, Julian was the person who screwed her out of a potentially fruitful real estate investment. But that’s just money. It was Sunnyvale itself that broke Barb’s soul.

With a new, high-end suburban development creeping closer and closer to Sunnyvale, that land is getting more and more valuable. Sunnyvale’s land is more valuable than the people who live on it. I mean, nobody who lives in Sunnyvale even bothers to pay their lot fees. It’s effectively a community without money. No real estate developer could ever make money from Sunnyvale as it is. 

But with the people gone, and only the land remaining, it’s a multi-million dollar investment property. Nothing would satisfy Barb – who’s become a primal drive for revenge and violence – more than destroying the entire society that slowly ground her down into the creature of hate that she is.

2 comments:

  1. It's kind of funny how the social implications of Barb suddenly being "unrestrained" and a "violent bully" who has embraced an "aggressive lesbian lifestyle" actually means. Especially in a post labeled "Gay Interest" and "sexuality" wouldn't you say? For decades, the gay community has maintained that homosexuality isn't a choice. It's how you are born. Yet not a single article or blog I have seen on the episodes of the Trailer Park Boys even come close to mentioning this aspect of the social commentary of a show known to its fans for being a show that speaks on social issues. Much like this post, the Jim Lahey and Randy relationship gets mentioned a lot and people more often than not support it as a romance they'd like to see happen. Yet, as supportive as the fans of the show seem to be about the more gay relationships and their importance they seem completely to ignore the Barb turns into a violent, bullying lesbian and the implications of Randy "having a drunken fling" and getting Ricky's "wife" pregnant and what these mean from a societal standpoint.

    Seems odd doesn't it, for a show like The Trailer Park Boys that treats homosexuality as if it's just another basic form of relationship in society would make the only lesbians on the show be violent, dangerous bullies and one of the best examples of a homosexual relationship be treated as if it's an uncomfortable and optional behavior. Not to mention the fact that this change in sexual orientation came on suddenly due to a "hatred of men" and blaming them for all her ills, despite the shitty behavior she herself has displayed by betraying others as well. Even towards people who actually tried to help her, despite how badly she has treated them.

    Trailer park boys feeds right into what many have said about sexual orientation and sexuality, that being homosexual is a choice someone makes. Every praise worthy example of support for the gay community is actually defying the very ethics they praise. Not to mention the stereotype of violent, man hating lesbians is another stereotype overly used. The only thing that would make it even more entertaining, from an Anti-SJA standpoint would be for Barb, Candy and Donna(a "transgender" woman) to suddenly declare themselves Feminists.

    I mean, think about it. Not only does this show that seems to get much praise for the way it treats homosexual relationships, but also for its stance on social commentary, treat homosexuality as if it's not just a choice to be made(and not just with Barb but with Randy too) it treats it as though it's shameful and taboo, instead of something you're born as and should be praised. And I'm not talking about from Ricky, Bubbles, or Julian, the guys you'd expect to be that way. But by Jim Lahey and Randy, and even Barb early on before her "transformation" into a violent, abusive, man hating lesbian.

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  2. It's amusing to me to see the praise the show gets for it's "Gay Interest" and "social commentary" when it has so many examples of what critics of the "We're born gay, it's not a choice" rhetoric of the Gay rights community often criticize. It's the same kind of amusement I get from watching Feminists and Social Ethic Moralists talk about women being strong and independent and then turn around and praise 50 Shades of Gray, which has a main female protagonist who is neither of these things and willingly submits to an abusive male who at one point even rapes her. No means no, after all. And the reason these things are so amusing to me? It's simple. It's because the only people who seemingly praise these types of shows, movies, and books are the ones constantly preaching the dogma of socially ethic morality about things like "rape culture" or "Sexual orientation is not choice" and the like. Generally speaking, most of western society abhors the things that Social Justice Advocates claim should be seen as part of basic human dignity. Yet, time and time again we see example after example of SJA people pointing to some of the worst offenders and violators of their own ethics and morals as examples of their ideals. Kind of funny, isn't it. Either the SJAs are incapable of seeing their own innate issues with biased thinking, or they are blind to their own hypocrisies in supporting examples that constantly violate the things they themselves hold as ethical ideals.

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