Do the Alaskan Bush People get paid? We asked! Read our interview with the Brown family.
“If they can stay alive. It will be the biggest summer of their lives,” says our dear narrator.
No, he’s not talking about some new teen slasher movie. He’s talking about Season 3 of Alaskan Bush People, premiering on Discovery Channel Wednesday, Nov. 11, with “Block and Tackle,” which disappointingly has nothing to do with football.
But it has everything to do with summertime in Southeast Alaska. The Brown kids while away the days in flights of fancy, playing a game called “It,” which disappointingly has nothing to do with terrifying clowns. It is a really EXXXTREME version of tag in which you run around until you pass out from exhaustion or fall and strike your head on something. Either way, someone always ends up unconscious.
While the Brown kids frolic about happy-go-lucky, elsewhere the grim spectre of doom hangs over Brownton Abbey. It’s time for one of those intimate talks between Billy and Ami. They discuss issues of mortality and how they want their kids to carry on their TV series after they’re gone. “I admit we’re getting older every year,” Billy says, finally understanding how time works.
Meanwhile, all the Brown boys are involved in their solo side projects that in no way will cause the band to break up. Matt is forging a sword that looks more like a fireplace poker, but whatever. Good for Matt. Brownton Abbey has already advanced to the Bronze Age. Bear wants to build a treehouse, because AWESOME! EXXXTREME! TREEHOUSE! Noah’s workshop of horrors is growing ever more sophisticated.
WTF is that on Noah’s head, you ask? That’s Noah’s Retractable Magnification Monacle (RMM). It’s a headlamp attached to a bunch of reading glasses that he calls a “wearable microscope.” Now, surely at some point in your life you’ve put on the eyeglasses of some very nearsighted schmuck like me just to see what it looks like and nearly puked from the instant nausea it caused. Now imagine putting this contraption on your head and looking through it. “It seemed to smoke a little bit for some reason,” Noah tells Matt. Maybe try looking directly into the sun with it on and see if that helps.
The Browns are discovering that all of this technological progress has a cost. The Brown boys are now competing for space and resources, and some greedy bastard has mooched all the lumber. Billy calls together a special assembly of Brownton Abbey representatives to deliberate which projects are most deserving of lumber and should take priority. Of course, each representative wants priority for their constituency. Matt wants to build a summer house, because he’s an idiot, and the rest of the family tells him as much. You can see the fractures forming in the halls of power at Brownton Abbey. And so the ground is set for the great Civil War of Chicago Bears Island.
Billy decides the family must acquire more lumber. Lumber Guy Rick, the easiest pushover in the history of the barter system, is all the way back up in Chitina, so he’s useless.
It’s decided that the Browns will drop a tree all up in here and take the logs by boat to be milled 60 miles north at Excursion Inlet, where Billy knows a guy who will let them use an Alaskan Mill to saw the logs into boards. Billy’s plan is to cut the tree and transport it to the water while the tide is high, Blondie-style. [Update: Why didn’t the Browns just rent or borrow an Alaskan Mill to use at home? ¯_(ツ)_/¯ ]
The Browns start clearing a landing spot for the tree to fall on log rollers. They haphazardly whack away at the brush and I wonder if one of them is going to get dismembered. “Some people prefer machetes and axes. I prefer, actually, my sword,” Noah says. “Because it is a tool, it’s just a ninja’s tool. Not to mention it looks really cool.” Sure, it’s all cool until someone gets impaled. You know, I think Matt forged a sword to defend himself against possible Noah aggression. There is now a Sword Race in Brownton Abbey. The plot thickens!
Gabe pulls chainsaw duty. Billy would do it, but, you know, that would be work. Gabe drops the tree as gently as one would drop a grandbaby in a bassinet. Now to move the damn thing. They rig up a block and tackle system with pulleys and move the log some distance. But the tide rolls out and the Browns have to go to plan B, which is to tie the log up to the Integrity and drag it to the water. After cutting the log into manageable lengths, the plan works and the Browns tie all the logs together in the water and call it a day.
The following morning, it’s time to haul the wood to Excursion Inlet. All goes well until Billy loses throttle control of the boat. (Did you have Mystery Boat Malfunction on your Alaskan Bush People bingo card?) The Browns tied up the logs in a raft formation instead of an end-to-end train formation, and the extra drag was stressing out the Integrity. The problem gets fixed. Matt and Bam bicker. Circle of Life.
In a delightful little comic interlude, Matt uses axle grease as a shaving lubricant. Take note, good people of Barbasol. But you see below that Matt looks pretty clean shaven already. So this is just idiocy for the sake of idiocy.
The Integrity arrives at Excursion, and the saw mill guy helps get the logs ashore with machinery, because there’s no way in hell he’s staying late at work waiting for the Browns to do it the Brown Way. We get to see the Alaskan Mill in action, and the Browns cut some nice-looking planks from the logs.
And then tragedy struck. Back on the Integrity, Ami is in severe pain. It seems to be her back, which is alternating between a tightening vise pain and a burning sensation pain. Billy examines her with his vast knowledge of Bush Chiropractics and diagnoses that her back is swollen down to the spine. This will require a trip to the hospital in Juneau. Dadgumit, woman! Always falling ill when there’s work to be done!
It’s decided that Bam, Gabe, Matt and Bear will remain in Excursion to do some salmon fishing while the rest of the family goes along to take Ami on a whale-watching boat tour. Yay! Whales! 🐳 And then there’s that scenic bus ride from the dock in Juneau to the hospital, which gives us this gem:
Yes! Exactly what everyone wants to hear from the person sitting behind them on the bus! Anyhoo, Ami gets checked into the hospital and gets all loaded up with pain meds and muscle relaxants. The perfect end to the perfect day. [Update: Based on what we see onscreen, I’m now doubting that they’re actually in the hospital.]
After much incompetence and bickering and nets getting caught in The Skiff’s motor, the boys back in Excursion score a nice haul of salmon. Many fish are punched and bludgeoned to death with rocks. Here, Gabe samples some Bush Sushi, which I call Bushi™!
Before Billy left, he told the boys to remain in Excursion until he contacted them. And Billy was never seen or heard from again.