Unlike almost everyone else directing films in Canada, Trailer Park Boys' creator Mike Clattenburg actually does exhibit true film sense. He always knows where to put the camera, and has a dynamic style that clearly points to a bright future. I'm still waiting for the Great Canadian Feature Film (my own nominees to this point being The Rubber Gun and The Mask 3-D). Maybe Clattenburg will be the one to do it.
I'm a bit biased because years ago, I was Clattenburg's boss on The Bette Show. No, not the fiasco starring Bette Midler, but a sweet little 1998 CBC sketch comedy show out of Halifax starring Cape Breton's own Bette MacDonald, probably the single most talented person I've ever worked with. But the CBC typically dumped the show in mid-summer with no promotion, condemning it to die a premature death. It's too bad, because with Clattenburg on board, the show had real potential.
Clattenburg himself was a character, who drove this beat-up shitbox of a car like the kind driven by 60s TV detectives like Mannix, and he was married to this gorgeous make-up artist. He always looked high, too. Just after The Bette Show was pink-slipped, Clattenburg told us he was working on a new idea, about trashy guys who live in a trailer park. I thought it sounded promising, but when I saw the first episode, I was disappointed that the guys weren't sexy.
However, I wasn't surprised that it was a big hit. In the press release for their final episode, which aired December 7, 2008 on ShowCase, VP Tara Ellis gushed, "From the initial pitch for this unique series right through to the upcoming special, working on TPB has been an incredible high!" That's funny. I seem to remember a TV interview a few years ago in which Topsail, the production company, said that they practically had to coerce the broadcaster into airing the show.
What I liked about TPB was not the humour, necessarily, but the fact that it was raunchy and rude in an unapologetic way. Maybe ShowCase needs to be congratulated for staying out of the way as the Boys grew pot, shot things, and caused politically incorrect mayhem. TPB is a true anomoly in Canadian broadcasting, and even though I wasn't a huge fan, I will still miss it.