It seems almost overdue for reality TV, but Welcome to Myrtle Manor on TLC chronicles the people and personalities of an eclectic trailer-park community in South Carolina. The new 10-part series debuts on TLC Sunday, March 3 at 10pm ET.
The series takes viewers inside Myrtle Manor, formerly Patrick’s Mobile Home Park, located off Highway 15 in Myrtle Beach, and exposes them to the oddball personalities and everyday conflicts of the tenants who live there. The cast of tenants include some reality-fare staples like the hot chicks (Chelsey, Lindsay and Amanda), part of a hot dog business on wheels known as Darlin’ Dogs; former drag queen Roy; the kind-of-famous-in-Myrtle-Beach-guy Taylor, who is a local club promoter, and his flirty, troublemaking girlfriend Jessica; the supposed TV jingle writer Bandit, who is close to eviction; the 30-year resident Miss Peggy; the freeloading new guy Jared; and a mix of others.
We caught up with landlord Becky Robertson to try to get the dirt on trailer park life.
What’s the appeal to living in a trailer park?
Becky Robertson (pictured): It’s affordable living. It’s safe living. It’s clean. All the neighbors get along. We’ve always got each other’s back.
We understand you’re trying to make the park a “five-star trailer park.” Can you explain?
We want to be the best trailer park in the world, but especially in Myrtle Beach. I want the best for everybody. We never had a swimming pool but I wanted one my entire life so when my father gave me the ability to manage that section of the park, that’s one of the first things I did. … We’ve got some elderly people so I wanted [them to have] easy access to a beauty shop [so we added that]. I want people to love where they live and be proud of where they live.”
Trailer parks often get a bad rap for the type of clientele they attract — the coined phrase “trailer trash” comes to mind. What are the biggest misconceptions people have?
People really haven’t been in a trailer park. You’ve got all kinds of people who live in trailer parks — young families just starting out, you got retired folks, you have people with vacation homes and it’s just like stereotyping anything else. Just because it’s a trailer park doesn’t mean it’s a stereotypical trailer park. We have all kinds of people out here; it’s not white trash. It’s a safe place to live. You’ve got a unique, diversified group of people who live out here. Most of the people who live in our trailer park are here because they choose to live here.
Will the show help validate that?
I do think it will change people’s minds. I think people will see that the people who live in a trailer park are just like anybody who lives in a subdivision or an apartment building. We’re just the same, really no difference. I probably could live anywhere I want to, but I choose to live here.
Who brings the most drama to the park?
Everybody brings drama. Everyone’s got their own issues. It’s a diversified group of people so everyone’s got their own unique issues. It depends on what day it is.
OK, then how about who brings the most trouble?
You’ve got a number of rules for the trailer park — can you tell us some?
No. 14 states that no alcohol will be consumed outside of your home. No. 17 states idle in, idle out on your motorcycle. I don’t want to hear your radio when you are riding through the park. Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.
What rule do you find yourself consistently reinforcing?
No pay, no stay. [She pauses and then corrects.] Really No. 17.
But Jared’s not paying?
That’s true but you’re going to have to watch the series to see what happens.
I’d like to get your reaction on Miss Peggy stripping down to her bra and panties for the pool opening.
Bless Miss Peggy’s heart. You got to remember she’s 79 years old. I was shocked. It was all in fun. We wouldn’t let anyone see anything. It was cute. I’ll tell you one thing about Miss Peggy — she’s a breast cancer survivor and that’s one thing we want people to know and that’s what makes that scene even more meaningful.
The first episode also finds you considering serving an eviction notice to Bandit. Is eviction a common practice at the park?
It just depends, but my policy is no pay, no stay.
As far as security goes, I couldn’t help but think that Marvin didn’t appear to be the toughest security guard. Am I wrong on that?
You are. He actually started out as security out here and we just fell in love with him and his character and worked him into the show. Can’t come in here without going through him.
Do you really charge residents $25 for psychotherapy?
No, I just tell them that all the time because some days I just get so sick of hearing people’s problems. And some of them it’s the same problems over and over. I just tell them I’m going to charge them.
Welcome to Myrtle Manor on TLC airs Sundays at 10pm ET beginning March 3