by Emily Coppella
April 4, 2022
While there is a ton of variation in Atlantic Canadian accents – including the distinctive Newfoundland accent – Trailer Park Boys depicts an exaggerated general East Coast accent for comedic purposes. The show is set in the fictional Sunnyvale Trailer Park in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. It’s a beloved Canadian mockumentary television series that follows Ricky, Julian and Bubbles as they attempt to make money through petty crimes in Nova Scotia.
The show plays up the rural East Coast accent. For example, “car” sounds more like “currh” and "bar" as “burrh”. An “s” is often added to the end of words like “anywhere-s” and “somewhere-s”. Terms unique to Atlantic Canada include “gutfounded” (hungry) and “greasy” which refers to someone who’s sketchy or suspect. Not only does the term, “greasy”, appear multiple times in the Trailer Park Boys script, it’s even part of the title of the spinoff gaming app, “Trailer Park Boys: Greasy Money.” Another common term, “fussy,” often used in a sentence like, “I’m not fussy” means you don’t particularly like something.
A popular phrase in Atlantic Canada that pops up on the show is “that’s the way she goes.” It’s usually used to claim an accident or catastrophe is uncontrollable. You can see the show make fun of the saying in a clip from Season 5, Episode 3 “The Fuckin’ Way She Goes” (Disclaimer: There is language in the video that some may find offensive.)
The show also inspired a new term in the Canadian lexicon: rickyism. This is a term Canadian viewers invented to describe Ricky’s habit of making linguistic slips. Whether he’s mispronouncing words or using strange wordplay, his use of malapropisms – the mistaken use of a word in place of a similar-sounding one, often with unintentionally amusing effect – is a comedic strategy Canadians love to laugh at. Some of the finest rickyisms include saying “frustated” instead of “frustrated” or “what comes around is all around” rather than “what goes around, comes around.” The above clip has a hilarious compilation of rickyisms.
Trailer Park Boys has left a stamp on Canadian culture, in part due to the way it uses Canadian English to get us all laughing.