Do the Alaskan Bush People get paid? We asked! Read our interview with the Brown family.
In Episode 3 of Discovery Channel’s Alaskan Bush People, premiering Tuesday, May 20, the Browns race against winter to build their cabin, have to pay back a debt and then go into town to barter for essential supplies. Also, there’s somebody shooting out there.
Season 2 Recaps: Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3 | Episode 4 | Episode 5 | Episode 6 | Episode 7 | Episode 8 | Wild Times | Episode 9 | Episode 10 | Episode 11 | Episode 12 | Episode 13 | Episode 14 | SHARK WEEK! | Episode 15 | Episode 16 | Lost Footage | The Wild Year
The Browns have the foundation and floor of their cabin completed, but time is running out as temperatures are dropping to -10 degrees and the trapper shack’s moss insulation can’t keep out that kind of cold. They’re all packed in there tight, they smell bad and now there’s some sickness spreading around the family.
Daylight is getting slimmer, too, and the boys want to rig up some artificial light so they can pound nails at night. This task falls to Noah, the family’s MacGyver, who tries to power a tiny lightbulb by rigging up a poor-man’s generator with a chainsaw and an old car alternator. Of course it doesn’t work. Stupid laws of physics.
And then it’s time to pay the piper. Remember Lumber Guy Rick? He’s come to collect on the barter for the lumber. He needs two weak minds and strong backs to drive into Chitina to do some horrible work for one of his clients. The duty falls on Gabe and Bam, who always seem to get stuck with paying off the family debts (see hunting the caribou last week). Lumber Guy Rick’s client is Crazy Catherine, this weird old spinster who proceeds to gross us all out with the image of her in her Hawaii Day bathing suit (I suspect Crazy Catherine, like Lumber Guy Rick, is an actor). At first I think the labor they’re sent to perform is just to sit and listen to her lunacy, but they’re actually supposed to do some demolition on her greenhouse. It takes forever for Gabe and Bam to tear it down, because they’ve got crappy tools. Hours later, Crazy Catherine emerges with a power drill. She knew she had it all along. She just likes screwing with people.
So we come back to the generator problem. Bam, Gabe and Matt find a junk dealer, Grizzled Old Gale, who seems like he could be an obscure Lord of the Rings character. He’s an ornery old coot, and he has an old generator in his yard that he won’t part with easily. “The system says I have a violent personality,” Gale says, and he’s pissed that the Brown boys have come with nothing to offer. They eventually settle on a cord of spruce firewood (cut from the mightiest tree in the forest with … A HERRING!)
The boys must now go somewhere to barter for firewood to barter for the generator. They stop at Uncle Tom’s Tavern, the Mos Eisley of Alaska, to get taunted by the drunk townies yet again. Uncle Tom has a crapload of firewood, but he won’t trade it, the selfish bastard.
Next stop: Gizzly Pizza, scene of last week’s skirt-chasing debacle! It’s open mic night or something at the Grizz, and the guy with the guitar (He’ll be here all week!) is willing to trade a cord of wood for some DVDs. DVDs are a valuable currency in Alaska. You can put a nice down payment on a house with your old copy of You Don’t Mess With the Zohan.
Back to Uncle Tom’s. It seems there are only three establishments in Chitina, and they can’t go to the general store because the cashier has a restraining order out against Gabe. Uncle Tom is willing to trade his DVDs for 20 pounds of lake trout, because he is clearly insane or the producers of the show are as bored by this tiresome barter chain as we are.
Then we are subjected to an ice fishing scene. Fortunately, the fish are biting. Bear likes to do the humane thing and punch trout repeatedly in the head UFC-style so they don’t suffer.
Gabe and Bam deliver the catch to Uncle Tom, who is pleased with the sacrifice and offers up the precious DVDs in return. The DVDs are then delivered to Guitar Guy, who is mildly disappointed there is no porn in the collection. The cordwood is delivered to Grizzled Old Gale, who gives the boys a generator that is clearly not the same one we saw in the junkyard earlier. Bam sweet talks Gale into adding two windows into the mix.
See? Wasn’t that easy? And here I am exchanging money for goods and services like a sucker.
Back at the homestead, Billy’s fallen ill and is out of commission. It’s then that like 20 townspeople show up ready to lend a hand in building the cabin. Looks like a DVD copy of It’s a Wonderful Life finally made its way to Alaska.
The same elves that built the cabin also must have cured Billy, because he’s totally fine the next morning. And behold! The cabin is nearly completed! It’s a Hawaii Day miracle!
And so, friends, that concludes the adventure that is Alaskan Bush People. We sure had a lot of fun and also learned a lot about how to be miserable. Thanks for coming along on the journey.
Wait. What? Someone’s outside shooting guns in the middle of the night? You mean we have to come back next week?
Son of a…
Photo: Credit: Discovery Channel