TV shows come and go all the time, but “Trailer Park Boys” definitely isn’t easy to forget. Ever since its premiere in 2001, “Trailer Park Boys” took up a special space in our minds, and managed to stay there for years thanks to the trailer park’s residents’ entertaining antics, misadventures and sometimes illegal stunts.
With 12 seasons aired and several movies premiered, the show amassed a huge audience which remained loyal to the series, regardless of its on-off airings over the span of two decades.
Although “Trailer Park Boys” has kept a notably stable cast for such a long-running series, Ray LaFleur’s absence still comes as a surprise for that part of the audience which hasn’t been up to date with the show in recent years.
So what happened to his character, and is Ray’s actor Barrie Dunn okay? This and more we will tell in this vid!
- 1 What Happened To Ray LaFleur?
- 2 Why Was “Trailer Park Boys” Cancelled?
- 3 Will Ray Ever Return To The Series?
- 4 Who Else Left The Series?
- 5 What Was Ray LaFleur’s Character About?
- 6 Is “Trailer Park Boys” Back On TV?
What Happened To Ray LaFleur?
“Trailer Park Boys” ran for the first time from 2001 to 2008, and resumed its airing intermittently several years later. However, if you happened to watch it back during its first airing, and are only getting back on track with it now, you might be confused and flabbergasted that Ray LaFleur is nowhere to be seen in most recent seasons.
The reason Ray is no longer in it was actually revealed back in 2014, when his character was given closure in the “Trailer Park Boys” franchise’s third movie “Don’t Legalize It”. As initially believed, Ray had died when his cabin in the dump exploded, leading his fellow park residents to organize a funeral for him. However, as the movie’s premise progresses, it’s revealed that Ray set up his fake death to scam his insurance company.
Despite the dark nature of his actions, these were fitting to Ray’s long-time habit of committing fraud, presented as a recurring topic in the original series.
His step-son Ricky ends up accepting Ray’s choice, and the audience gets to see glimpses of his seemingly happy life in Florida, which was a bittersweet but deserved conclusion to such a memorable character.
Why Was “Trailer Park Boys” Cancelled?
It’s normal that many people think “Trailer Park Boys” had been cancelled several times, due to its seemingly unstable airing throughout the years, but this isn’t exactly true. As it happens, the show aired for seven seasons on its original network Showcase, and though its popularity hadn’t reached the US back then, in Canada it had record breaking audience ratings.
Nonetheless, as “Trailer Park Boys” success increased, things on set took a downturn. As Ricky’s actor Robb Wells explained during an interview with Sharp Magazine, the fact that it got ‘too big’ at a certain point proved to be an obstacle for filming the show. In his words, there were ‘too many people, too many crew’ on set, slowing down shooting time to almost double the time at its beginnings.
That’s when Showcase said goodbye to “Trailer Park Boys”, but allowed a second movie to be produced in an effort to give the story a conclusive ending.
As “Trailer Park Boys” wasn’t officially cancelled then, the desire to bring it back was still alive. That’s why Robb Wells, Mike Smith and John Paul Tremblay ended up buying the story’s rights, and resumed its production in 2014 in an agreement with Netflix until 2018, when the show definitely ended after its 12th season.
Will Ray Ever Return To The Series?
Regardless that Ray LaFleur was a secondary character in the show, many people still remember him dearly for antics, personality and entertaining rivalry with Jim Lahey.
Although Ray LaFleur left the show years ago, it’s only expected that a big part of “Trailer Park Boys” audience still doesn’t lose hope of seeing him again on screen. However, that possibility seems unlikely as of now, due to several factors.
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First of all, in 2018 the show aired its last season, and while an animated spin-off series was released afterwards, there hasn’t been an indication that the plot will bring Ray back. As well, in the movie “Don’t Legalize It”, Ricky’s reflexive words about Ray’s well-being after his scamming stunt seemed to put an ending note to his story, narratively telling us that his presence in the series wasn’t necessary anymore, regardless of how hopeless that might be.
Who Else Left The Series?
Even if Ray LaFleur’s exit left a big empty spot, there are other notable “Trailer Park Boys” characters whose disappearances from the series have been very noticeable to the audience.
For long-time fans, the names Cory and Trevor surely sound familiar. The characters were played by Cory Bowles and Mike Jackson respectively, and while they weren’t part of the main cast, their misfortunes, co-dependent relationship and ease of getting into difficult problems made them memorable.
In the series, Cory and Trevor were never far from each other, and it seems that their partnership even surpassed what was seen on camera, as both actors ended up leaving at the same time due to the job’s apparently unfair low wages. As stated by Jackson, being paid so little wasn’t a big issue during the first two seasons, but as the show’s popularity increased, their payment remained the same, in addition to not having ideal working conditions on set.
Later in 2016, the show also said goodbye to the long-time character Lucy, portrayed by Lucy DeCoutere. As affirmed on her Twitter account, her exit was connected to her refusal to keep working with her former co-star Mike Smith, who at the time had been accused of abuse.
What Was Ray LaFleur’s Character About?
Although his character didn’t appear in the “Trailer Park Boys” 1999’s prequel movie, Ray LaFleur took part in the story starting from the show’s first season.
Introduced as Ricky’s step-father, and one of the oldest characters in the show, he wasn’t the best example of a good parenting figure, but this is exactly what his character was meant to be.
Though his bearish but relaxed personality and seemingly petty rivalry against Jim Lahey always gave a negative impression about his character, his care for Ricky even regardless of not being his biological father, displayed a valuable contrast to his faults.
However, as is usual for almost every “Trailer Park Boys” character, Ray’s misdemeanors and actions were more than questionable, especially considering his likeness for fraudulent activities, alcoholic tendencies, and his contentious religious views.
While his story’s conclusion was unexpected, the truth is that prior to it, Ray had been through so many difficult times – including losing his home in a fire, being abandoned by his ex-wife, and experiencing financial hardships – that to see him enjoying an apparently peaceful life away from Sunnyvale seemed like a good ending for him.
Why Was Ray In A Wheelchair?
Despite being one of his most recognizable physical traits, the reason Ray was in a wheelchair for most of the series might not be clear for many.
Back in “Trailer Park Boys” first season, Ray was already seemingly physically impaired, though the cause of it wasn’t explained until later seasons, when it was revealed an accident he had prior to the show’s beginning had left him so seriously injured that he suffered from muscle spasms. However, that was actually part of a hoax. While he indeed had several car accidents bwcause of driving when drunk, his injury was a scam to receive government compensation meant for disabled workers, something the audience already knew, as he was seen walking freely around his trailer from time to time.
Ray’s ruse is finally unveiled in the fifth season, after Jim Lahey hands evidence of his fraud to the police. After being imprisoned, he’s evicted from Sunnyvale as well, though he eventually returns to the trailer park in the following season, while not having to fake being disabled anymore.
Wasn’t He Ricky’s Father?
It’s a known fact that Ray LaFleur wasn’t Ricky’s biological father. However, contrary to what’s assumed, Jim Lahey isn’t Ricky’s father either. As it happens, Ricky’s mother is Tammy, Ray’s ex-wife who cheated on him. While “Trailer Park Boys” never explains the details about their failed marriage and divorce, it’s acknowledged that Tammy left not long after Ricky was born. Regardless of her abandonment, Ray apparently never stops loving her, and takes care of Ricky in spite of their non-existent blood relationship.
The assumption that Jim was Ricky’s real father comes from Jim’s own words, as in an early season he explained that Tammy had abandoned her family after conceiving Ricky in an extra-marital affair with him. However, this was later denied, and Tammy’s reason for leaving and who Ricky’s real father is were never clarified.
Despite the uncertainty regarding their past, it’s known Ray’s and Jim’s rivalry comes from the days when both of them were romantically interested in Tammy, who needless to say, didn’t appear in the show once.
Who Is Ray’s Actor Barrie Dunn?
Unbeknownst to many, Barrie Dunn’s involvement with “Trailer Park Boys” goes well beyond just portraying Ray LaFleur. As it happens, Barrie is the series’ co-creator, and played a big part in its rise to success.
It all goes back to 1999, when the first “Trailer Park Boys” movie was released. Though at the time the project didn’t even have a budget, it managed to attract the attention of Barrie Dunn, who saw its potential in it becoming a TV series. From then on, Dunn along with the project’s creator Mike Clattenburg, created a 13 episodes-long series based on the original movie’s concept.
Late that year, and with a clearer idea in their minds, Dunn and Clattenburg pitched the projects to various Canadian TV networks, all of which turned it down.
Not wanting to give up yet, and knowing that Showcase was looking to produce new and daring original series at the time, they pitched them the idea, and in turn, the network petitioned them to reformulate the concept with the help of the more knowledgeable and experienced TV producer Michael Volpe.
Even if the project took its time to come to fruition, and remained very low-budgeted for long, “Trailer Park Boys” finally saw the light in 2001.
What Other Projects Has Barrie Dunn Worked In?
It’s not exactly clear what led Barrie Dunn to take the role of Ray LaFleur, while still being part of the show’s production. However, he already had some previous acting experience under his belt. His first official credit as an actor dates back to 1990, when he appeared as Mark in “No Apologies”. Afterwards, he was in movies such as “Margaret’s Museum” and “One Heart Broken Into Song”, before being cast in the TV series “Black Harbor” in 1997.
Besides appearing in “Trailer Park Boys”, Barrie appeared in the franchise’s second and third movies, which he also co-produced. During his time with the series, he also partially and entirely produced other projects, such as the movies “Say Goodnight To The Bad Boys” and “Afghan Luke”.
Following his exit from “Trailer Park Boys”, Barrie Dunn wasn’t seen again on any TV screen, but it’s known that he founded the production company “Pictou Twist Pictures”, which has been in charge of bringing to life a variety of films in recent years, including “The Cuban Five” and “Dovus Horozu”.
It’s also worth mentioning that Barrie wrote several episodes of “Trailer Park Boys”, in addition to being the main scriptwriter of the short-running series “Russia Canada ’72”.
Is “Trailer Park Boys” Back On TV?
Though it seems that the original “Trailer Park Boys” series already saw its end in 2018, there are many reasons to be happy.
First of all, in 2019 the show’s self-entitled animated series premiered on Netflix. This serves as a spin-off from the original, and although only two seasons of it have aired so far, these could be considered a continuation of the original show.
As well, in 2021 another live action series entitled “Trailer Park Boys: Jail” premiered on Swearnet.com. However, this series serves as a stand-alone, and is in no way connected to the animated one. It features Ricky, Bubbles and Julian as they are imprisoned, far away from Sunnyvale.
So does this mean there’s a chance of the original “Trailer Park Boys” ever coming back? While nothing is for certain, as long as the franchise and its actors are actively creating content, fans shouldn’t lose their hopes. For now, what the franchise has given us should be enough to binge watch it without much of a thought.