|“||I AM the liquor....||”|
James 'Jim' Lahey (played by John Dunsworth) is a former police officer turned trailer park supervisor for Sunnyvale and the father of Treena. John Dunsworth is the father of actress Sarah Dunsworth who plays the role of Sarah in "Trailer Park Boys". Jim Lahey is the second of ten children.
It's clear that Jim Lahey is a drunk and has been at the park for a long time, as his wife's family owned it and they were seen to manage it ("Jim Lahey Is A Drunk Bastard").
Officer Jim LaheyEdit
We don't know very much about Jim's History prior to what we see in the series, but we do know that at one point he was a good Police officer. In October of 1977 however, he was thrown off the force for reasons related to being under the influence of alcohol on the job although it was revealed in Season Six he had been wrongfully terminated ("Halloween 1977").
It's not until later that the specific reasons for his dismissal are revealed: He was the victim of a prank whereby Ricky, Julian and Bubbles, dressed as Wookies and C3PO, decided to release the parking brake on his patrol car and push it into a trailer. Dealing with them, he took their booze away, and in trying to move his car, he spilled it on himself. When the police arrive at the scene, his former partner George Green wrongly assumes from the evidence that he was drunk on the job and crashed his car. Lahey was hauled away, causing him to eventually be thrown off the force. In retrospect, Bubbles, Ricky and Julian all admit that before this point Lahey was always a good guy, not at all the kind of person they know him to be at present, and that they are most likely partly responsible.
When this evidence eventually comes to light, it clears his name and the police force reinstates him, but he stays less than a year then resigns and subsequently returns all his attentions to being the park supervisor and making life hell for the boys ("Say Goodnight To The Bad Guys").
Usually, Jim lives in the supervisor's trailer, when he's the supervisor ("Take Your Little Gun And Get Out Of My Trailer Park"). For the period where Ricky was running the park, Jim and Randy were forced to live in the supervisor's car on an empty lot ("Never Cry Shitwolf"), until a run-in with Ricky caused the car to be taken away from them as well ("A Man's Gotta Eat").
At one point, Jim repossesses Julian's grandmother's trailer while Julian is in jail, and he and Randy live in it for a while ("Give Peace A Chance").
Generally, Randy and Jim live together wherever they are, including a period when the two of them and Barb experimented with a communal living arrangement in the supervisor's accommodations ("The Mustard Tiger"). Jim appears to have a dog, but it is not seen very often ("Jim Lahey Is A Drunk Bastard", "The Bible Pimp", "Where In The Fuck Is Oscar Goldman?").
Presumably at some point after his wrongful termination from the force, a gradual decline in his adjustment to life ensued, causing him to turn to heavy drinking and eventually fall out in his marriage to Barb, which led to a divorce ("Halloween 1977"). Another contributing cause of the end of Jim and Barb's marriage was his propensity for bisexuality, when it became known that Jim was hiring the services of one Smokie, male prostitute. Smokie, by chance in 1997 happened to cross paths with Barb, whose Christian values saw an opportunity to help the less fortunate, and invited Smokie, whom she knew as Randy, a former resident of the park, back to their trailer to rescue him from the streets for Christmas ("Dear Santa Claus, Go Fuck Yourself").
Randy remained in the park and became Mr. Lahey's assistant supervisor as well as 'partner'. Their relationship was a closely kept secret initially. The first to find out about it was Julian, when he found them in a compromising position in season one during a B&E of Jim's trailer ("Mr. Lahey's Got My Porno Tape"). One of the running gags in the series was that whenever they were caught doing something involving sexual role playing, they were 'rehearsing a play for the Blandford Recreation Centre.' Eventually, the secret became too much for Randy to handle, and he outed them both of them in front of a large gathering of park residents ("Where In The Fuck Is Randy's Barbeque?").
After that, Jim allowed his homosexual tendencies out more readily, and seemed to harbour a long standing attraction to Julian, when later in the series, comments about him being 'sexy' became more and more common ("The Kiss Of Freedom").
Finally, Jim appeared to have the best of both worlds when he, Barb and Randy all lived together. But this dynamic came to a screeching halt when Barb became too frustrated with Randy's pot addiction and the fact that he had cheated on them both with Lucy and got her pregnant. Both Jim and Barb asked him to leave. Following that, Jim's relationship with Barb deteriorated once again, and Jim returned to booze, partly as a result of pressure from Barb that he 'was more fun' when he was drinking ("We Can't Call People Without Wings Angels So We Call Them Friends").
When Barb eventually ran off with Sam Losco, Lahey managed to get Randy back ("Jump The Cheeseburger") and they remained together for quite awhile, with Jim managing to even keep sober for a time. But a sudden return to alcoholism caused Randy to finally leave him once and for all (Trailer Park Boys: The Movie).
Despite the events in Trailer Park Boys: The Movie, Randy returned to living with Lahey in "Don't Legalize it". Together, the duo have begun snooping through Ricky's and Julian's trash, until they find out about the trip to Montreal. To put them in jail once and for all, the two buy some cocaine from Cyrus to plant on them, but during the ride Lahey decides to try some cocaine and gets addicted. After Julian was busted for cocaine (which was planted by Lahey), Lahey gets into a bottle throwing fight with Bubbles on a bridge, and eventually his car was stolen from Bubbles. When Lahey and Randy arrive at parliament hill, after Ricky is arrested, Lahey has a drunken coked up incident. Inevitably, he tazes Ricky and Randy (after stealing a cops gun) and is himself tazed in the process, reversing his stroke. Once in Jail, Randy and Lahey split up and Lahey finds a new lover in jail; however falling over drunk he still yells out "Randy!".
Even as a police officer, Jim, both retired and active, Jim is not above breaking the law. Most of his actions in this regard are in direct response to activities in which Ricky and Julian are involved, as a means to catch them in the act and have them sent to jail. He has resorted to evidence planting, breaking and entering, entrapment and all sorts of other infractions (citations needed).
Jim is also a hopeless drunk, and because of this he is many times seen to be driving under the influence ("Let The Liquor Do The Thinking", Trailer Park Boys: The Movie). He has been arrested for public drunkenness ("Conky") and also for attempting to kill Ricky and himself by strapping dynamite to himself in a public street ("Workin' Man").
He has also been sent to jail for his apparent involvement in an automatic teller heist when he is sprayed with blue dye from the device while trying to stop them from opening it, although he was not involved in that operation, and his actions were in fact trying to stop the operation ("A Shit Leopard Can't Change Its Spots").
As a reinstated police officer, many of his activities and actions are above board, but he also bends the rules when it comes to Ricky, Bubbles and Julian because of the peace agreement they created. He looks the other way when they ask him to, and this is seen as the boys having an 'in' with the law ("The Mustard Tiger").
In the third film, Lahey purchases cocaine from Cyrus and plants it on Julian.
Basically, Jim is a law-abiding citizen, but he is at odds with his inability to catch the boys in the act and have them sent away permanently, and this clouds his judgement on the 'right' or ethical way of doing things.
In S4E7 "Propane, Propane", several suspicious events occur involving what would seem to be attempts on Ricky's life after Lahey's ex-wife Barb told Lahey she was going to propose to Ricky. For example, Ricky slams headlong into a pile of boxes and shopping carts after making no apparent attempt to brake, then he inspects the brake line and announces it has been cut; after Julian and Bubbles suggest Ricky should not marry Barb and should put her off, he goes for a walk, discovers cigarettes, a lighter and a pepperoni in the road, bends over to pick them up then a net is thrown over him; next, Ricky is nearly electrocuted by an electric turkey deep-frier, about which he states "Someone is fucking trying to kill me"; he later returns to Barb's trailer, enters the hot tub for some romantic time with her, then the trailer erupts in a fiery explosion from which Ricky emerges alive though shaken due to having been in the hot tub "The hot tub saved me. It must be fire retardant or something." Jim Lahey was responsible for these criminal actions.
All of which leads, of course, to the exciting concluding scene of S4E8 and the conclusion of season 4 itself in which Jim Lahey tries and fails to shoot and/or blow up Ricky, presumably in that order, in the downtown area while surrounded by cops and remote TV reporters.
Jim and the Liquor Edit
The main thing people associate with Jim Lahey is the fact that he is frequently drunk -- it seems to be his raison d'etre -- as well as being the park supervisor and a former police officer, but the three elements of his personality are constantly at odds. He wrestles with issues of alcoholism throughout the series, and all extremes of the condition are represented throughout the run of the show.
At one point, his alcoholism, along with other factors, causes him to be homicidal as well as suicidal, and leads him to a mental institution ("Give Peace A Chance"). When he is released, he tells everyone he quit drinking, but in fact he is lying about it. He has demonstrated ability to drink extremely heavily for long periods of time and still be able to act sober; listening to self help tapes recommended by Randy is just a ruse, and he's drinking vodka from water bottles the whole time. When he is found out, he drinks even more ("Jim Lahey Is A Fuckin' Drunk And He Always Will Be").
In season six, Jim did quit drinking for several weeks, at Randy's behest, and he seems honestly upset by his drinking, especially after being shown video footage of himself on the sauce ("The Way Of The Road"). He went on the wagon at that point, and it was this action, along with the evidence to clear him, that helped him to get back on the force, thus demonstrating that he was worthy of being reinstated ("Halloween 1977"). However, once things revert to the way he wants them, he lets himself slip and each time he falls harder than he did before ("Let The Liquor Do The Thinking").
It becomes clear that Jim is a hopeless career alcoholic, and self-imposed statements like "I am the liquor" serve to hammer this idea home. Jim rewards himself with alcohol in season five by labelling several large bottles of rum with the name of a person in the park; when that person (whom he calls a 'shit-puppet') goes to jail, he drinks that person's bottle ("Don't Cross The Shitline"). Additionally, as the problem grows worse, he drinks from several open bottles and glasses at once. He inexplicably refills small empty bottles from larger bottles with a funnel. He repeatedly falls down and passes out as the result of drink ("The Winds Of Shit"). He blacks out frequently ; at one point he wakes up in the car and its missing the roof, but he has no idea why. Jim Lahey is arguably the most alcoholic person we've ever seen in a television series.
Jim has often associated his ability to think clearly and be on the ball with alcohol; he always seems to cause the most trouble for the criminal element in the park when he is drunk and running amok. Conversely, it is generally accepted by Julian and Ricky, with regard to their criminal ventures, that Jim + liquor = good for them, and Jim - liquor = bad for them, so they try to plan their activities accordingly, perhaps to their detriment.
Jim began the series as a swaggering confident gatekeeper of a park supervisor, with his chest stuck out and trying to keep order in Sunnyvale. As of season two he began his decline into alcoholism, and this part of him gives way to some degree to other things.
In season one, he sported a moustache, but that disappeared in season two.
Typically, Lahey wears the khakis of the supervisor uniform, but while drunk, it's not uncommon to see him running around wearing just his underwear and a robe. Clearly, as things become worse for him, he doesn't care about his appearance or even his near-nudity.
As mentioned before, when inebriated, Jim tends to frequently fall over people and things, and slur his speech. He also uses Randy's pet name "Bobandy" more often when he is soused.
A major part of Lahey's manner of speech is the use of Shit Talk and he often uses it when talking to or about Ricky, Julian or any of the other criminal elements at Sunnyvale. One such example is warning Bubbles about 'shit winds' before he, Julian and Ricky were to break into the vocational school. It was enough to spook them into botching the operation, when Ricky was frightened by a proximity-activated urinal flush, blaming the incident on the 'shit winds'.
It turns out that shit metaphors are not only used by Lahey, but are a major staple of the local police force; other members of the force also use such metaphors in their speech.
Also, Like Ricky, Lahey tends to misquote common terms and phrases. He seems to want to appear intellectual by doing so, and is often not corrected by anyone, especially since many of the park residents are not learned enough to do so.