Review: The Drunk and On Drugs Happy Funtime Hour Pilot

Update August 30, 2011: After watching the entire series, I’ve posted a new blog post about thoughts on the series ending.

First, why am I reviewing a comedy from the creators of Trailer Park Boys? Because The Drunk and On Drugs Happy Funtime Hour has more to do with The Prisoner than TPB. This is a trippy, reality-bending series that I enjoyed as much as a spec-fic show as a comedy. Not since Lost have I been so intrigued as to trying to figure out just what is going on.

What is The Drunk and On Drugs Happy Funtime Hour about?

We open with Amy Sedaris as a production executive ranting about footage delivered by Robb Wells, John Paul Tremblay and Mike Smith (who played Ricky, Julian and Bubbles on Trailer Park Boys and also wrote for the series) for their new variety show, The Happy Funtime Hour. The footage is too bizarre to be used and she wonders what the hell they are doing.

Jump cut to Wells and Tremblay waking up in a trashed hotel room. Patrick Roach (Randy from TPB) arrives, explaining that he stashed Wells and Tremblay at the hotel to let the drugs in their systems wear off. They’re six weeks into a shoot and have been high the whole time, so the two men have no memory of what’s happened. We also learn all the actors are playing versions of themselves.

Roach tells them the drugs are in everything, not to eat anything blue (the colour of the drug) and the drugs have made the actors they hired for the series think they really are the characters they’re playing. Before he can say more, he’s apprehended by the police—or actors playing cops—and Wells and Tremblay are on their own to find the last member of their trio Mike Smith.

What follows is a trippy experience as the three men wander the town of Port Cockerton and meet its bizarre residents. However, we never know if the town is real or a set, nor if the residents are actors stuck in their roles or actually live there. Among the characters are pirates, superheroes, soldiers, cops, three gay radio station DJs and a trio of gangsters. Often, these characters are played by Wells, Tremblay and Smith, which makes the experience even more reality-twisting because it’s possible the encounters are all a hallucination.

After two episodes, the plot driver is the boys trying to escape Port Cockerton while avoiding the gangsters, who are convinced the boys know the location of someone named Cincinnati Harry who can save the oldest gangster’s life.

So why is this like The Prisoner?

The show is very meta. At the end of the first episode, the boys are exposed to the drug and began to freak out. Since they’ve been trying to recall what the show is about the entire episode, on the drugs they tell each other that they’re on the show at that very moment. Both a drug induced hallucination and fact for the viewer. And the name of the show they are creating within the show is the same as the show itself.

The police, who may or may not be actors, have the job of keeping people happy by force-feeding them drugs and making sure no one leaves Port Cockerton. Sound familiar?

The show also plays with presentation, often changing depending on characters or if the point of view character is hallucinating . When the cops are on screen, the image takes on a washed-out, 60s-era quality. For the soldiers, grainy black and white. Superheroes turn everything into a cartoon. And we switch from standard TV 4:3 ratio to widescreen.

We also have no idea how many of the characters fit together. While the boys have met the gangsters and soldiers, the pirates’ and superheroes’ roles is still to be revealed.

Is it funny?

The Drunk and On Drugs Happy Funtime Hour is not laugh-out-loud funny as Trailer Parks Boys, nor is it trying to be. TPB was a genuine comedy, going for jokes. This is absurdist humour—bizarre, outrageous and, yes, vulgar.

Will I Keep Watching?

Hell yes, but the show needs to start delivering the goods. While I am intrigued, we have to start to see how the pieces fit together. Like Lost and X-Files, spending too much time on “Isn’t this weird? What’s happening?” storytelling will turn me off.

I’m also worried the show will follow a formula the first two episodes have: the episode starts with the boys waking up after coming off the drugs only to be exposed to the drugs at the end of the episode. Too much formula will also turn me off.

But with an 8 episode season, we are already well into the story and I’m looking forward to what will happen next.

The Drunk and On Drugs Happy Funtime Hour airs on Action (a Canadian channel) at 9PM.


26 Responses to “Review: The Drunk and On Drugs Happy Funtime Hour Pilot”

  1. 1 TV watcher July 24, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    I wish I could agree. It didn’t even raise a chuckle out of me. Instead it was just plain stupid. Such a disappointment.

  2. 2 lm July 25, 2011 at 10:10 am


  3. 3 matt d July 26, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Yeah wtf was that. Christ boys don’t make me lose faith in you now.

  4. 4 Meg July 28, 2011 at 7:40 am

    If this show had nothing to do with the actors from TPB, it wouldn’t have even had a green light for a pilot.
    This something shitty famous people do All. The. Time. It suddenly becomes ~offensive~ to their integrity to do anything fans actually enjoy or recognize.

  5. 5 Dwayne Griffin July 29, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    I’d rather clean a toilet

  6. 6 nicko July 30, 2011 at 1:32 am

    Although nowhere near as good as TPB I actually liked it. Ithink as the show goes on, it’ll get more funny as you start to “get” the characters more.

  7. 7 Steve August 3, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    The first time I watched TPB, I wasn’t sure what to think. I didn’t find it funny, nor was I compelled to keep watching, it just seemed like trailer park trash until, at least until you get to know the characters. But this new show I’m actually looking forward to the next episode. Well it’s not the best comedy show I find it intriguing to watch, I just think they may have gone a little overboard with too many characters.

  8. 8 Amber August 4, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    It’s weird, unusual and very funny in places. I’m loving it. It takes a few more brain cells to enjoy it so I’m not surprised some TPB fans are having trouble with it.

  9. 11 Ray August 16, 2011 at 11:51 am

    It felt like it was trying to be the League of Gentlemen to me… nothing wrong with that, but its still trying rather than being. It’s like the drug sub-plot is an excuse for them to do a self-aware Royston Vasey. And the League of Gentlemen already did the ‘meta’ stuff about characters meeting their creators in their movie, so their spin doesn’t exactly deviate from their vision, either.

    The League of Gentlemen worked because they knew how to utilize as well as subvert the sketch comedy format. Every scene helped tell jokes as well as give one a picture how everyone in the town was interconnected.
    And beyond all the bizarre prosthetic make up and costumes, they actually developed the characters in the town to the point in which you started caring for them even while the plot became more dark, bizarre and outlandish, essentially turning the show into a surreal horror/ drama show as well as a comedy. Everything seemed to fall into place naturally as you slowly got the ‘big picture’. It seems that the Drunk and on Drugs Happy Fun Time hour is trying to force all these elements all at once instead of letting things develop naturally.

  10. 12 Shay October 5, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    with the name of the show, and the stars, i kinda expected it to be closer to TPB. its just a major fartsy show, that supposed to get our “juices” flowing. i am really dissapointed from it. i watched the entire show, and to be honest, kinda lost intrest after the first episode. i was hoping if would get better but it didnt. oh well. could always hope for a TPB reunion show…

  11. 13 Mitchell Garcia October 8, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    The first episode was a slog, but after that, I thought it was great. It seems like its one of those shows that you just have to get used to the characters, and then you can just roll with the humor.

  12. 14 todd johnson December 14, 2011 at 11:33 am

    This is a major let down after the TPB I hope they should hang there head’s in shame! boooooooooooooo!

  13. 15 Brian Mouland December 28, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    A complete piece of shit

  14. 16 Gina January 8, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    They should have kept making tpb. Their new show sucks ass

  15. 17 Steve Wilson January 12, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Holy shit… haven’t see it yet, but judging by the commets, I guess I won’t bother. Too bad, as TPB was insane, but very original and incredibly funny. Broke alot of ground. I don’t think Clattenburg was involved, so if this is true, could that be a factor??????????????

  16. 19 Jackie McCann February 23, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Aww, come on! I agree that on the first viewing it’s madness and the humour most certainly isn’t up everyones street but really, the League Of Gentlemen comment is plain offensive to the boys! LOG (Ha, fitting) is complete crap which I challenge anyone with an IQ over 100 (perhaps that’s the key) to find amusing anywhere outside of the UK (before you start I’m English and I think it’s awful but that’s what we get for paying a government license fee to have drivel spewed back at us). TPB was is comedy genius, no, this isn’t, but if you don’t like it then don’t watch it! I fail to see how it relates to their earlier projects directly, comparing the two is pointless.
    I must say I’m also confused as to how someone can call a project “Matt Writes” when there are spelling and grammatical mistakes all over the thing!? (I apologise in advance if I have missed that his native language is not English or he has referred to some disability such as dyslexia elsewhere which I have not seen.)

    • 20 Matt Moore February 24, 2012 at 1:09 pm

      “when there are spelling and grammatical mistakes all over the thing!?” While I’ll admit to a few typos, no one is perfect. I wish I had a proofreader for this blog, but it’s a solo project & proofing your own work is tough. But to say “all over the thing” is a bit unfair.

      While we’re talking about grammar, Jackie, look up “run-on sentence”.

  17. 21 György Szabó October 3, 2012 at 6:46 am

    @Amber This show is complete garbage! Your just saying it’s good
    cause the TPB’s are in it! It’s unexplainable! It’s just….. garbage, garbage, garbage after the other! It’s so disapointing what happned with the TPB’s! Now try to tell your braincell theorie to a person with the IQ of 165!
    Watching this show has nothing to do with intelligence, cause in this occaision you don’t need it!

    greetingz from Hungary ppl’s! 😀

  18. 22 Tim October 19, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    It’s just way too slapstick. It’s like a really bad Adam Sandler movie. I can see how it could be funny on paper. I was salivating for the first episode…it’s just too over the top goofy/silly to be taken serious.

    I think Wells/Smith/Tremblay just tried too hard on this one and ended up with a steaming turd. Saying shit like “that sucks moose balls” is really funny, “that sucks Moses’ hairy gravy nipples” (or whatever they actually say in this show) just gilds the shit outta that lily.

  19. 23 Stumpy January 1, 2013 at 1:05 am

    You absolute [REDACTED].

    This show is fresh, vibrant, brave and more than anything funny. It is a total departure from TPB so stop comparing.

    Suppose Spike Milligan, Peter Cook or Monty Python are shit too.


  20. 24 Xtina February 11, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    I thought it was brilliant. As a fan of things other than TPB. Hobo with a shotgun and Goon are excellent. Im looking forward to their next TPB movie this year.

  21. 25 Wise4ev October 19, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    The best show ever!!!! You have to watch it while doing what they are not trying to eat the entire time. You have to understand what they are going through and be on the same level. Man I’m tripping balls!

  1. 1 Follow-Up Review: The Drunk and On Drugs Happy Fun Time Hour « Matt Moore Writes… Trackback on August 28, 2011 at 9:33 am

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