Discovery Channel’s Alaskan Bush People recap: Birdy Get Your Gun

Alaskan Bush People Ryan Berenz

Do the Alaskan Bush People get paid? We asked! Read our interview with the Brown family.

On Season 2, Episode 4 of Discovery Channel’s Alaskan Bush People, “Birdy Get Your Gun” (Jan. 23), the Brown family searches for food in the woods and faces stiff competition with bears for resources. With the family low on food, Birdy and Gabe go out to hunt deer.

Alaskan Bush People recap

Greetings Bush People peeps. My tour of duty in the Television Critics Association conference in Los Angeles is over, and I’m back in the bush of Wisconsin, where it is cold and gray, our cars are caked in road salt, and football fans are sad and/or angry. Now, back to the bush of Alaska, where the Brown family saga continues.

ALSO SEE: What Happened to Discovery Channel’s Alaskan Bush People?

Alaskan Bush People Season 1 Recaps: Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3 | Episode 4 | The Wild Life

Season 2 Recaps: Episode 1 | Episode 2Episode 3 | Episode 4Episode 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 are hungry. Their supply of canned goods with the brand-name labels torn off is dwindling. The Browns could be feasting on crab right now, if any of them knew how to drop a crab pot without losing it and getting swept out to sea with the tide.

Billy and Gabe go out to do some crab fishing, but somebody beat them to the pot. A bear mangled the metal cage, and then took a crap on it. Yes, the bears on this island will not only wreck your stuff, but they will poop on it as well. Insulting!

Triumph

Hey, but there’s plenty of other stuff to eat on this island, such as kelp, sea lettuce and seaweed. Catch a fish and they could set up a nice sushi bar! “Even in hard times, if you can find a beaver, they’re very good to eat,” Ami says.

The trapper shack is complete and the Brown family frat house is pretty swanky. It’s got a nice plastic lining for the walls and ceiling, an electric light and even a small wood-burning stove with a metal vent pipe chimney. All it’s missing is a Taxi Driver movie poster. Ami, Rainy and Birdy (and Billy!) get to sleep in the tent.

But you recall that Matt will sleep wherever he damn well pleases, and makes no apologies. He is going to build his his own “Yoda hut” under some fallen tree trunks. “Besides spiders, what else lives underneath a tree stump? Not a whole heck of a lot. And unless it’s a girl, I’m trying to keep it that way!” Oh, Matt! You did not creep me out AT ALL!

Since they have no crab meat [Sad Trombone], Ami and the girls go out to look for any calories they can. They come across a case of Coke in the woods,* and they rejoice until they discover it’s … COKE ZERO! OH, DAMN YOU COKE ZERO AND YOUR ZERO-CALORIE REFRESHMENT! They decide to pick berries instead, but the bears have already been there and eaten their fill. Birdy’s not much for berry-picking; she’d rather blast stuff with her brothers.

The food situation is getting dire. It’s time for Billy to call in SEAL Team Six. Billy wants Bear gets to go out and scout for deer. “I’ll go, uh, stealth mode,” Bear says, awesomely and extremely, eager to put his animal tracking instincts to use. “As far as I’m concerned, I practically am a wolf.” Stalked in the forest too close to hide. I’ll be upon you by the moonlight side.

Bear’s goal is to someday sneak up on a deer and touch it. Dude, come drive in Wisconsin in October and I guarantee you’ll touch at least two or three deer with your car on southbound I-43. Bear goes shirtless and rubs mud all over himself, like he’s hiding from the Predator. “No one rubs mud on my back but me, unless it was like a cute bush girl or something,” he says, pitching woo to all you ladies out there who’ve always dreamed of slathering mud on a weirdo hillbilly’s bare skin. At least it’s mud and not doe piss. Now, Bear’s Stealth Mode is awesome and extreme and all, but I’m pretty sure the guys following him with the HD steadicam and boom mic are going to blow his cover.

But before Bear can bag a buck, he sees a bear and runs back to alert the family. Oh, coincidentally, Rainy and Birdy are missing, because we’ve not had any unnecessary drama staged in this episode yet. They were fine. They were fetching water or something. It doesn’t matter.

“We knew there were a lot of bears here, OK? We never expected this many bear,” Billy says. You come to Chicago Bears Island knowing it’s overrun with ursine creatures, and are surprised when you run into a bunch of them? MAJOR BUSH FAIL!

Bam decides to teach Rainy how to use a gun, and there’s no better gun for a preteen girl to learn with than the very “honest” 12-gauge shotgun. While Bam explains “chambering” and all that junk, Rainy would rather yawn and pick at her fingernails. Rainy’s not afraid of bears. “Bears don’t really freak me out at all,” she says, in something possibly resembling English. “You know, they are dangerous and they could hurt you, but I think that adds more to the cute factor.”

BearBicycle

“I want you to protect me,” Bam instructs. Rainy just laughs. And you wonder why no one respected Capt. Bam’s authority on the boat.

Our narrator tells us that Birdy will turn 20 in a matter of days, which I find odd because the Browns claimed that they don’t have a calendar and don’t know exact dates, going instead by the seasons and when it “smells” like their birthdays.

Matt’s Yoda hut is coming along. He has big plans for the place. He wants to get a gravel floor. He’s going to use a glass bottle for a skylight. He’s getting the granite countertops and custom cabinetry installed next Tuesday. And now it’s time for Bush Eatin’ With Matt Brown. “I eat what they call the gross food. Ants, fish eyes…” Matt shares his recipe for dried and seasoned grasshoppers, which includes some oil, flour, salt and pepper.

YodaFood

Billy organizes a deer hunt, because Matt won’t share his bountiful grasshopper harvest with the rest of the family. Gabe spots a deer, and according to Bush Law, whoever sees the deer first gets to take the shot at it. But Gabe acts like he’s never shot at anything in his life. The rest of the hunters urge Gabe to go for the kill, but he keeps stalling. It’s time someone overturned this Bush Law. Bam says, “Man, I could take the shot from here!” And I’m thinking Top Gun thoughts here.

Gabe looks like a deer in headlights (YES! NAILED THAT ONE!) and hesitates. And then he shoots.

Gabe misses badly, and the deer run off. Looks like the Browns will be eating Mr. Cupcake tonight.

Birdy says she’s the best shot in the family, and she has an adorable rifle with a pink and purple paint job she calls “The Butcher.” Birdy takes Gabe out for some target practice, shooting at logs. I remember Billy saying that they shouldn’t just shoot guns indiscriminately on the island so that Bears don’t get used to the sound, but whatever. Gabe finally hits something and is deemed a good enough shot to be a stand-in on American Sniper.

And then, ominous onscreen titles:

“Hunting is essential for survival in remote Alaska. Viewer discretion advised.”

The hunt failed, and the family has no meat. Billy’s getting desperate, but he’ll be damned if he’s eating whatever weird stuff Matt is cooking up over in his Hole of Solitude. Billy calls Birdy and Gabe over to impress upon them just how important this hunt is. Very important, kids. We need a deer, so it’s, you know, important. In terms of importance, this hunt is of the utmost. Muy importante, if you comprende. I guess what Billy’s getting at here is that this deer hunt is important. Then Birdy says what every father wants to hear from his daughter: “If I have to chew his throat out, I’ll get it.”

Matt emerges from his bunker to set up a tripwire bear alarm system with some string and a couple of empty cans. Hope they’re not relying on it too much. Bears are pretty freakin’ smart.

Long story short, Birdy shoots a buck, and then Gabe field dresses it quickly before the fresh kill attracts bears. He then turns the buck carcass into a backpack. I had something similar in the third grade.

During the interstitial, Noah has a cassette player and a bag of old music tapes. “Whitney Houston. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of her,” he says. I’m sure Noah will listen to “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” fall in love with Whitney, then learn the bad news when it reaches the Alaskan bush about 15 years from now. He builds an armband (Noah’s specialty!) for the cassette player out of PVC pipe and gives it to Birdy.

Gabe and Birdy bring the deer back to the campsite and Billy is pleased that the important hunt has been a success. They hang the deer up and get to work skinning it. I watched the episode with the captions on, and it read:

[FLESH PEELING] Billy: “That sounded cool.”

Ami gets to frying up slices of meat, and for the first time ever, I feel like I want to be there with these people. Deer hunting is big in my native land, and while I don’t hunt, I have family members who do. I love venison, but have never had it fried up fresh like the Browns are doing it. Has anyone ever hung up a deer carcass at a football tailgate party and sliced off some backstraps and grilled them right there? This is something they need to start doing at Lambeau. The Browns get to feasting on the meat, and it’s a lovely scene. Matt likes the liver, because he likes weird foods and likes to sleep in weird places. I imagine myself sitting there with the smelly Brown family, chowing down on tender, juicy venison and drinking cold beer and … What? No beer? OH DEAR LORD THIS PLACE IS WORSE THAN KETCHIKAN!!

Billy is pleased with the work of his eldest female child, and since it smells like her birthday is approaching, he decides he’ll be nice to her and pass down his family heirloom, a deer call whistle, to her. It’s a nice moment between father and daughter, and Billy says that he was getting emotional about it. Billy says you people in the Lower 48 might not understand that kind of stuff. Loving your wife and children is something you can only understand if you’ve spent 30 years in the Alaskan wilderness. The joy of handing down customs and precious heirlooms to your children will always elude you people in the Lower 48. You may have conveniences and technology and indoor plumbing and tens of thousands of dollars in fraudulent Alaskan PFD claims and grocery stores and computers and mobile phones and your own reality TV show, but you people in the Lower 48 will never experience love.

You people in the Lower 48 are heartless, soulless bastards.

 

*Scene was edited out of final broadcast version. May be included as a special feature on the Alaskan Bush People blu-ray collectors’ box set.

29 Comments

  1. dying!! -> “pitching woo to all you ladies out there who’ve always dreamed of slathering mud on a weirdo hillbilly’s bare skin.”

  2. you asked “Has anyone ever hung up a deer carcass at a football tailgate party and sliced off some backstraps and grilled them right there?”

    Well it wasn’t at a football game, but when I was younger my brother got a deer at 6:30am and at 7:30 we had steak and eggs for breakfast. the venison (only bush people call it deer meat) was excellent and the cooking time was reduced because it was still warm when we threw it on the grill.

  3. Billy Brown looks exactly like the actor who played on the soap All My Children in the 1980’s as Billy Clyde. Real name Matthew Cowles ?

  4. Great recap Ryan. I see I am not alone in looking forward to your hilarious take about each week’s episode. The info about the deer being planted was (another) disappointment as I keep looking for redeeming qualities. Please correct my email address as there is a mistake in it. It is: txtwostepper@gmail.com Thanks….look forward to next week’s episode so I can laugh like hell at your version of what REALLY happened.

  5. Ryan, great blog! FYI, Birdy didn’t shoot the deer. It was already dead and planted there. This info comes from a local who has connections with the production crew.

  6. just started watching and love the show. why is everyone so down on these people. they seem like a nice family and it’s fun to watch.

    • It is because it so made up Lori. They are up on fraud charges from the state of Alaska for stealing money they were not entitled to because they didn’t live in the state and lied about it. The entire first season was based on them going “out in the bush” to live only to have them actually be in a neighborhood, off a major highway, with neighbors, and a store and pizzeria about a mile away. They claim to have been born in the wild with little to no interaction with the outside world. In reality the father was (or claims to be) a commercial fisherman for 30 years, they lived in Texas and don’t seem to have lived in the wild barely if at all. Jeez, they can virtually do nothing for themselves and constantly have to have help (who the heck goes into the wild with no supplies, food, shelter ect ect ect).
      On top of all that they have Facebook pages, many of them have their own Youtube channels that date back to at least 2009, and they have a few web pages where you can go buy different books and stuff.
      Sit back and enjoy the show Lori. But don’t think for a second this show is any more real than watching a cartoon. It is a bunch of fame whores trying to make money with some made up situations. In some of their 2009 Youtube stuff they try to sell you books, tell you about their upcoming movie deal and their new reality show. Pretty active on the web for a family that was completely isolated wouldn’t you say? I am a long time Alaskan and this is a complete joke here.

      • All of these reality shows are fake.
        Just google the Yuppie Duck Dynasty pictures for a laugh.
        The boys all used to have short hair, no beards, one has frosted blonde tips… There wore Dockers and all loved to golf and hang out at the beach.

    • Because they have zero skills. If you can’t figure out that black bear meat is edible no wonder they eat beavers.

  7. Great recap Ryan. This show is painful to watch but for some reason I haven’t quit yet. I think it is so I can still yell at my TV with all the made up stuff and contradictions of these people. If it were a drinking game on those two things everybody would be dead fast of alcohol poisoning. Keep up the good work and just know many of us feel your pain watching this absolute train wreck.

  8. You comment in eating fresh back straps, it is done a lot up here in the north woods of Wi during hunting season. Also have you ever been to a tail gate party at Lambeau field? You will see all kinds of venison being cooked. So be careful what you say. Do like your Collum.

    • Oh, yeah, I’ve been to Lambeau Field many times. And I know they’re cooking a lot of venison (half the stadium is blaze orange come late November). But have you ever seen a deer carcass hanging up in the parking lot?

  9. So Billy why don’t you have a seat over there and tell me how you share a tent with your daughters…..

    • Without a doubt Birdy gets those good looks from Dads side of the family.I can’t wait to see an episode where Birdy finds a mate.Whoever that brave soul would be.

  10. Love reading your blog summarizing each episode. It is so well done and hilarious that I don’t’ think I’ll waste my time any more watching this farce of a show.

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About Ryan Berenz 2000 Articles
Devotee of Star Wars. Builder of LEGO. Observer of televised sports. Member of the Television Critics Association. Graduate of the University of Wisconsin. Connoisseur of beer. Consumer of cheese. Father of two. Husband of one. Scourge of the Alaskan Bush People. Font of Simpsons knowledge. Son of a Stonecutter.