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The True Story Behind Bubbles' Glasses On Trailer Park Boys

"Trailer Park Boys" started as a grassroots project that slowly grew into a cult classic, and despite its popularity, it still checks many of the requisite boxes for cult status. However, it's also morphed into so much more. Case in point: Ricky, Julian, and Bubbles helped produce a whole new world of "Trailer Park Boys" with the creation of Swearnet, a streaming network that has served as the Boys' headquarters after the show was discontinued by Canadian network Showcase. Well, one headquarters — they also cut a deal with Netflix, which has produced the most recent seasons. As such, you can enjoy multiple modes of "Trailer Park Boys" hilarity on these platforms for countless hours — Netflix even has a "Trailer Park Boys: The Animated Series." Not exactly the most normal trajectory for a Canadian low-budget effort, is it? 

"Trailer Park Boys" may basically be kind-of-sort-of mainstream now, but no matter how many episodes the fans consume, die-hards and first-timers alike may find themselves wondering one particular question: What's up with Bubbles' glasses? While there's no doubt that the well-meaning Bubbles (played by Mike Smith) is a massive breakout character, those extra-thick Coke bottle specs of his are almost too good to be true. So, where did the eyewear come from? Did the makers of the show run against their lo-fi production values and commission the glasses? Or did they luck out by finding the glasses that, let's face it, look more or less like Bubbles found them dirt cheap at a yard sale somewhere? 

As luck would have it, the latter option actually isn't too far from the iconic glasses' true origin story. Here's how the makers of "Trailer Park Boys" came up with Bubbles' glasses.

The glasses were a 50 cent purchase at an estate sale

Mike Clattenburg, the creator of "Trailer Park Boys," told Sharp Magazine that he hired Mike Smith to do sound for the feature film that gave birth to the series, which was shot in 1998. At his house, Smith put on the infamous glasses and lapsed effortlessly into character. Clattenburg liked what he saw, and as they say, a star was born. 

John Paul Tremblay — who plays Julian, the muscle-bound trailer park resident who wears black shirts and always has a glass of rum and Coke in hand — also enthused about the way Smith introduced Bubbles to them. "[Mike Smith] totally developed that character," he said. "He threw those glasses on one day, and we were like, 'Wow. This guy needs to be on the show.'"

In the same interview, Smith himself explained how he came into possession of those sweet glasses. "My girlfriend at the time was in Texas visiting family, and they went to an estate sale and she found these glasses," Smith explained. "They were 50 cents, and she knew that I would think they were funny because they were so thick, so she bought them as a joke."

They're just as uncomfortable to wear as you'd expect, but Smith has grown used to them

Showcase wasn't as convinced about Bubbles as the makers of the show were at first, but Clattenburg eventually managed to persuade the channel to include the character in the show — though he had to make a short film starring an early version of Bubbles to do so. In hindsight, this was probably worth it, as Clattenburg feels that "Trailer Park Boys" might not have succeeded at all without the inclusion of Bubbles.

While the glasses are no doubt an instrumental part of what just might be the single most important character in "Trailer Park Boys," Smith had to suffer for his art because Bubbles' signature eyewear is just about as comfortable to use as you'd expect. However, he eventually learned to deal with them. "They give you a proper whopping headache but now when I put them on my brain turns off my eye pain somehow," Smith told Big Issue in 2013.