Julian, while operating as a pet assassin with Ricky, receives a premonition from a fortune teller that he is going to die soon. As a result, he hires a film crew follow him around and document everything he does to serve as a message to others not to follow in his path.
The Film Crew As Characters EditAt first the intruders seem welcomed by most ("Take Your Little Gun And Get Out Of My Trailer Park"), but are occasionally regarded as interlopers by some. ("Mrs. Peterson's Dog Gets Fucked Up") While it's clear that Julian is the reason the crew was there in the first place, as the show progresses, it becomes evident that they are filming all aspects of the park at once, and with few exceptions, they are free to film anyone at any time. Most warm to the idea and submit to being filmed interviewed repeatedly. At times, one forgets that the film crew is even there, except that it occasionally comes jarringly back to the forefront of knowledge, for example, when Ricky demands that the film crew help him steal a lawnmower, or when the sound man gets accidentally shot in a gun fight. ("Mrs. Peterson's Dog Gets Fucked Up") Also, there are many occasions when the crew is specifically asked to stop filming or following them, which is another reminder of their presence. ("A Dope Trailer Is No Place For A Kitty", "The Fuckin' Way She Goes")
Over time, it appears that there is more than one unit as well, as when characters in the show split up and travel in different directions, their respective actions are still filmed while they are apart. Indeed, as the show moves forward, one gets the impression that the crew and the scope of the documentation gets larger and more expensive, leading up to what seem like steadi-cams and the eventual move to high-definition filming. ("The Way Of The Road")
As the years roll by, the crew cease to be amusing and start to become a nuisance. Ricky has to repeatedly tell them to stop following them because they often interfere with their operations and generally get in the way; he trips over them frequently. At the end of the seventh season, they are unequivocally 'fired'. When the boys are jailed in late in their career following Country Dirty Dancing, Ricky tells them they don't want to be filmed anymore; a fight breaks out, the camera is smashed, and the crew end up getting beaten up. ("Say Goodnight To The Bad Guys")
However, in the events that follow, the crew is back again, presumably invited (or at least tolerated) by the boys, and spoken to directly in the dialog by Ricky. When they land back in jail following the failed bank robbery, The boys beg the crew to stop filming them.
Real World Perspective Edit
Since the beginning, the film crew has been a central point of the Trailer Park Boys universe. Although they are not seen or heard most of the time, their very presence is the binding that holds the show's motif together, since Mike Clattenburg's independent film, Trailer Park Boys.
When the TV series premiered on Showcase in 2001, the film crew was back, this time filming in colour. No real explanation is given in the series proper about why they continue to film Julian and company, other than the original premise of Julian's impending death. However, since the pilot was an independent film and not aired with the series proper, this is not evident to anyone but avid fans.
In the first season, the format seems to be very candid, as though the crew is just following everyone around at random and filming what goes on. The ad-libbed method of dialoging the show helped to add to this sense of 'reality'. However, as of the second season, the show began to be more stringently scripted and such randomness became less and less frequent. Furthermore, the necessity of showing concurrent events in the scripts precluded the idea of a single camera and sound man following the residents around.
In the final scene of Say Goodnight To The Bad Guys, Ricky — now in prison again — angrily tells the camera crew that he doesn't want to be filmed anymore. He and Bubbles attack the crew, breaking the camera and finally getting rid of the crew. Since it is unclear when Countdown To Liquor Day and Don't Legalize It take place in the series' continuity, it could be assumed that the films occur either before Say Goodnight or after Swearnet: The Movie.
In the Netflix special Swearnet Live, the trailer park boys are asked by Robb Wells, Mike Smith, and John Paul Tremblay to help host the launch of their new website, Swearnet.com. Ricky angrily insists that he doesn't want to be filmed anymore, and although a part of the special is seen through the eyes of a camera crew, the boys are assured that they are only wanted as hosts.
This is reversed in the post-credits scene of Swearnet: The Movie, when Wells, Smith, and Tremblay summon the boys to the Swearnet headquarters, where Ricky unwittingly signs a contract which allows Swearnet to send their own camera crews to film around Sunnyvale. Ricky accidentally knocks out the cameraman and the three of them run off.