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The Surprising Origin Of The Trailer Park Boys

Trailer Park Boys has been around in one form or another for nearly 20 years. The series premiered in April of 2001 and concluded its 12th season in 2018. The 12 seasons that make up the series proper are comprised of 106 episodes in total. In addition, various spinoffs have seen the boys visit Europe and appear in animated form. The latest spinoff, titled Trailer Park Boys: Jail, aired for 10 episodes online through the creators' online comedy network, Swearnet. Trailer Park Boys has consequently expanded well beyond its roots as a mere comedy series, becoming something of a juggernaut.

It can be easy, therefore, to forget that Trailer Park Boys was first created by a group of amateur filmmakers. Series creator Mike Clattenburg initially cast friends of his with little prior acting experience in the three primary roles of its pilot, which he funded himself. Mike Smith, for example, was a musician prior to working with Clattenburg. After getting picked up by Canadian TV network Showcase, the roots were planted for the behemoth Trailer Park Boys has become today. However, the origin of the show was not in that 2000 pilot but rather in a short film that Clattenburg released five years prior.

How Trailer Park Boys really started

The first time that Trailer Park Boys stars Robb Wells, John Paul Tremblay, and Mike Smith appeared together was in a short film released by Mike Clattenburg in 1995 titled The Cart Boy. Here, Wells and Tremblay play grocery store security guards. Smith, meanwhile, portrays a character that, for all intents and purposes, is Bubbles under a different name — albeit living in a house instead of a trailer. So close is Smith to his Trailer Park Boys role that he even owns a cat named Bubbles, providing both the source of his future character's name as well as his affinity for cats.

A few other Trailer Park Boys hallmarks also have their origins in The Cart Boy. Smith's character, named Darren, collects abandoned shopping carts in the short film's opening, which is also the impetus for a scam spearheaded by Ricky later on in Trailer Park Boys. Furthermore, Wells' character, despite being a security guard and not a track pants-clad ne'er-do-well, is even named Ricky in The Cart Boy. Tremblay's role as Jason is not too far off from Julian, the name of his Trailer Park Boys character with a perpetual drink in hand. 

Though The Cart Boy ultimately stands on its own as a self-contained short, it lives on today in the bona fide media empire spawned directly from its humble DNA.