The cult-classic movie turned television series, “Trailer Park Boys,” changed the life of Canadian grip, gaffer, actor, and singer-songwriter Michael Jackson. He portrayed the role of Trevor, a clumsy petty criminal who became one of the most popular characters in the TV series. His character was involved in numerous outrageous Not Safe For Work – or NSFW – plotlines that kept the viewers on their toes. The devoted fans were surprised that they never saw him again on the TV show after its sixth season, and were curious as to the reason why. Several speculative comments were thrown at the online forums about the TV show, including internal feud, salary increase issues, bullying, and health problems.
- 1 His life before “Trailer Park Boys”
- 2 Trailer Park Boys, The Movie and The Series
- 3 Michael’s six seasons in “Trailer Park Boys”
- 4 Where is Michael right now?
His life before “Trailer Park Boys”
Michael Thomas Jackson was born on 8 November 1970, in Ottawa, Ontario Canada – his family later moved to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, where he was raised in a Roman Catholic household, and in his childhood served as one of the altar boys in their local parish.
Michael also became an avid fan of skateboarding, and would spend hours of his free time practicing tricks on his skateboard. After he had enough of the recreational sport, he developed an interest in music, and learned to play the guitar which became not only a hobby but a passion – his friends would claim that Michael had an encyclopedic knowledge about punk music during the late 1970’s up to the early 1980’s. He later focused on playing the bass guitar, and joined a few bands that were playing locally, until Michael learned about a local TV and movie producer looking for people to be included as part of the crew and cast of a new movie.
Trailer Park Boys, The Movie and The Series
In 1999, Canadian writer and director Mike Clattenburg produced a low-budget movie called “Trailer Park Boys.” It was about a group of residents, mostly comprised of ex-convicts, living in the fictional Sunnyvale Trailer Park in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
Most of the people who worked on the movie either as actors or part of the crew were non-professionals. The main cast, Robb Wells who played Ricky LaFleur was Mike’s friend, while John Paul Tremblay who played the role of Julian, was Rob’s high school friend. Mike Smith, who played the character of Bubbles, was another friend, and a professional guitarist from the alternative rock band Sandbox, and was originally hired to do the audio recording of the movie; when the director learned of his comedic timing, he was included in the cast.
It was released that same year as a feature-length movie at the Atlantic Film Festival. Another movie producer, Barrie Dunn, became interested in the mockumentary, and joined the group in turning the movie plotline into a TV series. By 2001, Mike and Barrie convinced the Showcase cable network into putting their show on air, but not before being rejected by several TV networks.
— Trailer Park Boys (@trailerparkboys) September 10, 2020
On 21 April 2001, the small-screen version of “Trailer Park Boys” premiered on TV. The series already had 12 seasons under its belt, with the first seven seasons shown on its original network in Canada, and the remaining five shown on Netflix. It was renewed for another season, but the pandemic happened and everything was put on hold.
Aside from the successful TV run, the producers also released eight movies. The second movie was the most significant, as it not only became a box-office hit in Canada, but earned several nominations from the Genie Awards, the Canadian version of the US Academy Awards. The movie was given a limited release in the US, which helped it gain a cult following there.
Michael’s six seasons in “Trailer Park Boys”
Michael was included in the cast playing the role of Trevor, a bumbling petty criminal who often made outrageous things in Sunnyvale along with his partner-in-crime Corey, played by Cory Bowles.
These two characters were often seen together, and because they were the resident clowns, they always took the fall for the failed schemes that were orchestrated by the main characters, Julian and Ricky. Trevor had a special friendship with another character in the show named Sarah, who would always help him and Corey. She also berated Julian and Ricky whenever they manipulated Trevor and Corey in their not-so-good plans.
The last time Michael’s character appeared on the show was during its sixth season in 2006, on a train on the New York subway. When he and Corey weren’t seen in the seventh season, fans wondered what went wrong. While his name was still mentioned in the TV show, he never made an appearance again. No one bothered to release an explanation, so several theories were discussed on social media. Michael never spoke about it until it was reported that he was going to return in the ninth episode, but which was quite far from the truth.
Fans kept asking him about it, so he shared some details on his participation in the show, and clarified some reasons for it.
His first season was fun
Michael said that everything that happened during the first season felt like a group effort. There wasn’t a script, most of the scenes were improvised, and they generally had fun filming it. The pay was the lowest grade that the producers were allowed by the union. Most of the actors didn’t have any acting experience, and almost everyone in the show knew that it would fail; it did fail, as the TV ratings were quite low. It was a mockumentary and viewers weren’t used to that kind of show at that time. A party was organized with the cast as guests, but no fans showed up, so it was a humiliating experience for them. The TV show would have folded if not for the reruns that were shown on the Showcase channel.
Dads, gram-dads, fur-dads, uncles and carers – keep doing that crazy shit you do ❤ #HappyFathersDay
The network didn’t have much content, so the episodes were aired repeatedly. People got used to seeing them on the screen, and by word of mouth, they gained more fans. The cast and crew were shocked when they were called to film the second season.
He worked as a Key Grip on the second season
Aside from playing the character of Trevor, Michael also signed up to work as a Key Grip in the show. He had ‘an insanely low offer’ for the job, but he thought things would improve as they hired a new production manager. It was still a low-budget production, and most of the crew working didn’t have any idea how to make things work. They had accidents, but they were able to pull through. The pay was still low, but it was acceptable since they hadn’t hit the jackpot yet.
The third and fourth seasons weren’t fun anymore
The popularity of the show increased in the third season, and Michael was hoping that there would be an increase in his salary. Unfortunately, the producers refused to pay above the scale that was first agreed upon when they were starting. Some of the crew were overworked but underpaid, and so some left the production during the third season.
In the fourth season, the cast and crew negotiated for their salaries. Initially, Michael didn’t want to be part of the new season, but the producers finally agreed that they would all get a 25% increase. He was happy about that, but it meant that they had to sign a three-year contract with only a 15% increase in the following years. They were still being paid by the day instead of per episode, which was a disadvantage to them. He tried to renegotiate, but was told by the producer that everyone was paid the same amount.
He said that for some reason, he believed that, and the logic given to him that if Michael was to receive an increase, then the producer would be forced to increase everyone’s pay, which the company wouldn’t be able to shoulder.
His other miscellaneous grievances
Inevitably the turnover rate of employees in the production crew was high – people would come and go during the filming of the fifth and sixth seasons of “Trailer Park Boys”, but the producers were still pretending that it was a tight-knit unit, just like in the first season. The more the show became popular, the more the crew was treated poorly. When people began complaining about the status of the bathroom, quality and quantity of food served, and the unkempt trailers, they were blacklisted when they left. Michael never wanted to do the fifth season because of the working environment, but director Mike Clattenburg always said the right words, and Michael would end up staying.
The reason why Michael left “Trailer Boys Park”
Many unfortunate things happened during the filming of the show, and there were times when Michael felt disrespected, not only as an actor but as a human being. One time they were filming in downtown Dartmouth, and Michael was quite hungry – the woman who delivered food to the cast was giving out sandwiches, and he tried taking two, but the woman said it wasn’t allowed, however, he saw her allowing three to four sandwiches each to other actors. He said that he thought there was a memo from management that the rest of the cast be treated poorly.
Another incident was when they were going to film a movie in the US, and the producers went back to paying them the minimum rate, since they apparently didn’t need to follow the TV contract.
Working conditions had gone from bad to worse, and even their work schedule was so messed up that there was a time when the crew traveled to his home and woke him up on his rest day, because filming would start within 30 minutes.
During the sixth season, he arranged his filming dates with the Production Manager, so that he could accept other jobs on his off days and he was allowed to do. Unfortunately, the Production Manager forgot to take down notes, so his schedule was messed up once again. The actor was told by one of the producers that his failure to show up on time was because he’d already given up on the show. He was also accused of being unprofessional, and deliberately trying to be bad at his job. Michael couldn’t believe that someone who didn’t have any creative bone in his body could make accusations like that when it came to his work.
He thought of the many times the script was rushed, and he’d tried his best to be creative, so they could present something better.
What happened to Trevor of Trailer Boys Park?
Michael talked with the producers before the filming of the seventh season, and knew after the meeting that his character, Trevor, wouldn’t be resuming in the show. As much as Michael wanted to give closure to his character so that the fans would also get closure, he couldn’t do anything about it. He accepted the fact that the production could easily write Trevor off as someone who’d moved or died. However, in Season Eight, when Cory Bowles who played his best buddy in the series was convinced to return, their storyline was presented in such a way that the viewers had an idea of what happened to him. Corey and Trevor were exploring the world but were unfortunately separated in a New York subway train – that was the end of Trevor’s character in the TV show.
Where is Michael right now?
One of the good things that happened to Michael was that the producers didn’t insist that he continue to work for them, although he still had one year left on his contract. After his six years of appearing in “Trailer Park Boys,” Michael worked behind the scenes of other productions, continuing as a Key Grip on numerous movies and TV series, including “The Surf Gods,” “Studio Black!” “Did He Do It?” and “Neanderthal Apocalypse.”
There is no specific news of Michael’s current work, but it’s very likely that he’s enjoying whatever he’s doing more than he did when filming for “Trailer Park Boys”.