“Going Mobile,” “Midas Mike,” “Okay, Trailer Park it Is” – CBS’ NCIS Spoofs Manufactured Home Community Living, Including Frank Rolfe Type Character


According to TV Series Finale, 11.194 million people viewed season 17, episode number 3 of CBS’ popular NCIS” show. As that same source said, “Though the ratings have declined, NCIS has remained one of CBS’ top-rated TV shows.”

Here’s how CBS’ YouTube page teaser teed up that episode. “After the body of a Marine Lieutenant is found hidden under an 18-wheeler, the NCIS team tracks the vehicle’s previous locations to pinpoint the crime scene and suspect.”



The location of the NCIS murder scene? “Happy Trails Mobile Home Park.”


A key character in this episode is “Midas Mike,” who teaches get rich quick and become a mobile home millionaire. Does it sound like Frank Rolfe and Mobile Home University?




The character in the first few moments of this video clip is “Midas Mike,” inviting the NCIS investigators in.



But perhaps a better understanding of the relevance of manufactured homes, routinely misnamed “trailers,” “mobile home park,” and “mobile homes,” is this clip here. The subtitles are in Spanish, but the audio is English.


Some paraphrases from this episode include the following.

  • Eli nearly doubled the (lot) rent (Eli and his brother were purchasers of the community, after attending Midas Mike’s training. It is later revealed they are straw buyers.)
  • A lot of angry neighbors
  • Slimy mobile home guru
  • Midas Mike (said “mobile home guru, perhaps based upon the character of Frank Rolfe?)
  • You can want to fail in buying a mobile home park, ‘Bankruptcy can always be a friend.’
  • Huddled up in ring leader’s trailer (elderly woman, who helped organize residents).
  • Ain’t worth a dime now (retired woman who is the ring leader, speaking about the value of her manufactured home).
  • Can’t move it can’t sell it (same ‘ring leader’ senior woman).

One of the characters is in witness protection, and says ‘I live in a fancy box.’


In a plot twist, besides an apparent murder, there are chemicals in the ground that make the ‘trailer park’ ‘toxic.’ Everyone living there is destined to die of cancer. Additionally, sex offender ‘mobile home parks’ – being taught by “Midas Mike” – and a manufactured home that has a weapons cache of semiautomatic weapons being illegally sold are all woven into the story line.



Manufactured home Industry Similarities

There are apparent elements that point to concerns raised by MHAction in their co-branded white paper, and HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’s viral video from April 2019, errantly dubbed “Mobile Homes.”

Approaching 7 million have seen that YouTube video by Oliver, but untold millions of others watched it on HBO. Then, there is over 11 million that watched this NCIS episode. While the senior woman and some of the residents are sympathetic characters, others are clearly foils that present a negative spin on manufactured home living.

MHProNews asked MHI, their leadership, Frank Rolfe and Dave Reynolds to comment. We specifically asked what steps, if any, will be taken with respect to their rules of ethical conduct?

We’ll see.


MHProNews Analysis

There are several mid-sized independents who have perhaps not pondered the various ways that negative spin against the industry can be stirred up, but this NCIS Season 17, Episode 3 is just one example.

MHProNews and our sister site have previously reported on “Trailer Park Boys,” or other similarly problematic programing. Let’s be clear, to Frank Rolfe and Mobile Home U, this could be seen by them as a feather in their hats. But to the industry at large, to ethical operations, or to millions of manufactured home owners, this is fostering older and newer stereotypical images about manufactured homes.


“Trailer Park Boys” – Al Kemp, Canadian Manufactured Home Community Association Letter Reacts to Netflix Series

Those are examples of what could be seen as reverse product placement. Instead of placing a nice story line that elevates manufactured home living, they turn product placement on its head by taking a manufactured home and throwing several stereotypical images at viewers.

Note that the brief clips of the homes make it clear that these are post-HUD Code manufactured homes, not mobile homes.




Why is manufactured housing underperforming? Can programing like this, based upon items that seemingly trace back to Warren Buffett – who provided MHAction funding via dark money channels – or other characters that seem to be based upon prominent MHI members can’t possible help the industry, can it?


There are several reasons for manufactured housing underperformance. There may be zero direct connection between the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis and this episode of NCIS. That said, there are a variety of way that they might be, beyond the ‘inspiration’ of caused by personalities that are members of or connected to MHI.
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You can’t make this stuff up. It’s proof that truth is stranger than fiction. During an affordable housing crisis, the most proven solution is being diminished. They often have ties back to some of the big boys in the industry. Digest that as you ponder renewing your MHI membership?

That’s a wrap on your second installment today of manufactured housing industry “News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

SoheylaKovachDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsMHLivingNewsSubmitted by Soheyla Kovach for MHProNews.com.

Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com. Connect with us on LinkedIn here and and here.

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