Freedom 45: The Good Times Never Last, Sunnyvale, 09/04/2016

This is the official first entry of the Sunnyvale project, a journey through the world and community of the Trailer Park Boys, episode by episode. You can support the project – and develop ideas with me for extra essays and easter eggs in the final publications – at my Patreon, which has literally just started. An introduction to the project is here.
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Good old Sunnyvale. It is as it’s always been, and it’ll never change. 

Oh, some superficial details may differ from season to season. Maybe Julian and Ricky go to jail at the end of the season, maybe only one of them does. Maybe someone else does entirely. Maybe Lucy and the family are back with Ricky, maybe they’re on the outs again. But the community is always the same. We know Sunnyvale.

And Sunnyvale is better than ever for our boys Julian, Ricky, and Bubbles. Julian has finally become a successful businessman. He’s running his bar his way – country-style, with all the community gathering to drink and have a good time. All with Bubbles and the Shit Rockers as the best (and only) house band in Sunnyvale. He’s got two hot blonde chicks so anxious to bang him that he has to turn them down half the time just to get his business done.

Ricky has even become a successful businessman. The growing public acceptance and non-enforcement of most marijuana laws means that he can open up his own dispensary as a truly legitimate businessman. So what if “Drugs Store” is probably one of the worse euphemisms for a dispensary? It’s his business on his terms. And he’s a proud grandfather, patriarch of his family of idiots raising his grandson Mo and teaching him the weed business from an early age. Those little baby fingers are perfect for packing joints.

Bubbles is still in the shopping cart business. Playing country music with the Shit Rockers. Julian isn’t letting him have too many breaks, though. 

We know these good times can’t last forever. This is Sunnyvale. You can see their happiness beginning to strain as the show begins. And it isn’t just because damn near everyone is pissed that the camera crew is back. 

You can tell it when you see the too-intense way Julian prods his bar staff the Roc Pile and his house band Bubbles and the Shit Rockers to keep working while the cameras are running. You can tell it when you see Ricky’s exasperation at Lucy’s determination to have a second child when he can barely handle his own grandson’s diapers – he literally needs a gas mask for that shit. You can see it in Randy’s harried, overstressed role as Trailer Park Supervisor. 

Actually, let’s have a closer look at Randy here, and not just because of the irresistible glare of the afternoon sunlight off that glistening gut. Randy is supposed to be one of the core antagonists of Trailer Park Boys. The basic rhythm of the show has always been the pursuit of our charismatic criminal heroes Ricky, Julian, and Bubbles by the Trailer Park Supervisors of varying competence depending on the situation and everyone’s relative average liquor intake. Hasn’t it? The Sheriff chases Robin Hood. Boss Hogg goes after them Dukes Boys. Lahey and Randy chase the Boys. That’s how I remember it.

Randy holds the office of Sunnyvale’s Trailer Park Supervisor, but he holds none of the authority. He takes orders from Julian, the master small-time criminal he spent most of the series trying to put in prison for good. That’s part of Ricky, Julian, and Bubbles’ good fortune – they don’t have Lahey and Randy coming after them to destroy their lives in the name of law and order anymore. Randy’s actually in charge of keeping the most powerful forces of law and order out of the park. He doesn’t kowtow to the police anymore – he protects Sunnyvale from the police.

But look how he does it – trading sexual favours to the beat cops who patrol the streets around the more affluent subdivision creeping up to Sunnyvale’s borders. And he only has so much tolerance for it. A creature of law and order will never embrace the anarchy and joy of Julian, Ricky, and Bubbles’ life.

Because their lives are truly joyful, despite all the tensions tearing at the boys. Bubbles may be overworked between his cart business and his obligations to Julian’s bar. But he’s always just had the ambition of a happy life with his kitties and his Complete Works of Plato and enough money in his pocket that he can get drunk when he wants to. 

Same with Ricky. He may have some tough obligations between running his business and Lucy’s baby fever approaching middle age. But he’s always just wanted a happy life with his family and the love of his life. And he has such love! Ricky still has enough raw sexual energy that he can literally bang the wall off his trailer. 

Same with Julian. He runs the bar that’s the social and economic centre of Sunnyvale. He owns the holding company that owns controlling interest in the entire trailer park. He’s literally the kingpin of Sunnyvale – in all material means, he’s become what he always was socially and informally. He’s won.

Ricky, Julian, and Bubbles are more than scofflaws, more than hoods. They’re intrinsically opposed to the petty resentfulness and authoritarianism of law and order. That’s the essence of the chase between them and the trailer park supervisors that’s been the spine of the show from the start. They’re desire set free. They’re love and brotherhood without constraint. If your life embodies that kind of profound anarchy, it’ll contain the conditions of its own chaos, its own crumbling apart as it flies into a thousand different directions. 

Even the best laid plans can fly to pieces in a shit tornado.

But just because things can go wrong doesn’t mean they will. Julian can keep the good times flowing, tense as the actual finances of his bar might be. Ricky can keep his family running well, even though Lucy might hit menopause soon and Jacob is a fucking moron. Bubbles and the Shit Rockers play a fucking good set. The weed and liquor is still flowing and the good times can keep going.

There’s one force that always returns to Sunnyvale, though, and blasts this delicate balance to pieces. That force of destruction that’s the voice of the petty, vindictive law. A force that will never be content to just let people live as they wish when no one is hurting each other. That force called Lahey.

Wait? What! That Lahey? What the fuck?!?!?!

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