Discovery Channel’s Alaskan Bush People recap: Pile it On

Alaskan Bush People recap Ryan Berenz

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

On the Alaskan Bush People Season 2, Episode 5 “Pile it On,” the Browns start building their home on their remote land in Alaska. They have to float the foundation pilings to their land and suffer a setback when a big storm hits. Oldest brother Matt builds a home for himself.

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

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

Good morning beautiful, serene Chicago Bears Island! Nothing like having Bush Alarm Clock Ami blasting the shotgun to start your day off right!

There’s a lot of work to do today around the Brown family camp. Hey, Bam! Nice work raking those leaves! Because if there’s one thing we can’t tolerate in the bush, it’s leaves.

The Browns are getting ready to build the house that they’ve always dreamed of abandoning some day. It’s going to be a 24 x 28 foot house, half of which will be allotted for the family’s shoes.

Remember The Lorcan, the boat the Browns abandoned on the good 12 people of Meyers Chuck a few episodes ago? They got someone to put the engine back together with fishing line and chewing gum, so it’s at least in working order. Billy thinks The Osprey might be more desirable in a trade, so Billy finds a guy — we’ll call him Lumber Guy II — who will take the boat in a barter for lumber. The pilings are available now, but it will take several weeks for the rest of the lumber to be ready. At least that’s what Lumber Guy II says, if in fact Lumber Guy II is who he says he is.

And then we get to Matt, who has dropped below Mr. Cupcake on the Brown family usefulness hierarchy. He’s a self proclaimed idiot savant — “idiot most of the time, savant some of the time.” Birdy says, “He’s insane, but he’s also a genius.” Matt is pretty smart, though, if he can sucker his family into keeping his freeloading ass around.

Remember Matt’s Yoda hut? The Force was not strong with Matt, and he got kicked out of it by a spider. Yes, a spider frightened Little Miss Matt away. So now he’s going to use a giant roll of plastic wrap to build a “house.”

Let’s forget about the suffocation hazard for a moment. Matt thinks he’s going to create some kind of hermetically sealed arachnid-proof shelter. The spider laughs at you, Matt.

Lumber Guy II is going to charge Billy “a fortune” to deliver the pilings. See, that’s how Lumber Guy II gets you. He’s like those companies that make inkjet printers. They’ll sell you a nice printer for under $100 and then you find out the ink cartridges cost $60 and you get so angry you throw the damn printer into a drainage ditch. Billy says he’s going to go get the eight 20-foot long, 600-pound pilings himself, roll them into the water, tie them all together and tow them with the boat. “Should be an easy process,” he says. The spider also laughs at you, Billy.

Bam, Gabe, Billy and Bear head out on The Lorca and the skiff, which now has a motor (would’ve come in handy two weeks ago). Does not change the fact that THE SKIFF IS CURSED. The weather turns and the waters get rough. Billy is concerned because he doesn’t want to lose any of his precious yellow cedar pilings, and he doesn’t want to lose a kid, either (in that order).

You know, Alaskan Bush People spends an inordinate amount of time showing you what you’ve already seen and what you’re about to see. It’s like the football game that takes three hours but has only 11 minutes of actual football game play. Take out all the junk and every episode probably only has 10 minutes of original material.

Bear loves the smell of cedar. He says, “I like to get up close and smell it because I love cedar!” Is there anyone who doesn’t? I remember as a kid going to the hardware store and just hanging out in the lumber section by the cedar planks because they smelled nice. What I didn’t do is rub cedar all over myself so I could go around smelling like a tree. Look for Bear Essence cologne by Calvin Klein at your local department store this coming holiday season.

Hey, guess what? Stuff AGAIN turns out to be a lot harder than Billy expected. It’s rainy and muddy, and dragging the logs to the beach is difficult. Billy devises a plan to roll the logs off a platform and drop them in the water so those in the accursed skiff can retrieve them and tie them all together.

Meanwhile, we find the womenfolk back at camp. Bush Alarm Clock Ami is also a Bush Encyclopedia. Remember encyclopedias? Man, they were terrible. I grew up in the ’80s studying from World Book encyclopedias printed in 1962. What was I talking about? Oh, Rainy and Birdy help Ami prepare a hide by soaking it in a solution of water and ashes, which will cause the hair to fall out. The people at Nair need to hear about this.

Meanwhile, Matt’s isolation tent from E.T. The Extra-terrestrial is coming along nicely. Wise choice working on this instead of helping your father and brothers.

Speaking of which, Billy and the boys have to tie ropes to the pilings so they can be retrieved in the water. This family has issues with tying things down properly. Billy and Gabe push a log into the water, and the old man looks like he might keel over. Only seven more to go, Billy. And then, the Voodoo Skiff works its dark magic once again. A rope got tangled in the skiff’s propeller and a precious cedar log is floating out to open water. “Stupid rope somebody tied to the frickin’ back of the damn thing!” Bam yells, further angering the Skiff of Death. But Bam is able to get the motor started again and retrieve the wayfaring log.

Things finally start going smoothly, as logs are rolled, dropped and collected. We even get to see a view from the spinning Log Cam, which reminds me of:

Billy and Gabe struggle with the last piling and it falls end-first into the water and gets stuck upright in the sea bed. Gabe is going to try to pry the piling loose with a big piece of lumber, because dropping it on Bam and Bear and sinking the skiff would be the perfect way to end this mission. Bear instead climbs up the mossy, slimy side of the platform, hitches a rope to the piling, and Bam can pull it down from the skiff. “Extremely dangerous. Extremely fun,” Bear says of his awesome climbing of the extremely extreme platform.

Matt’s plastic shack is a failure, surprising no one but Matt. “A lot of people bet against me on this one, and I don’t want to admit that they might be winning,” he says. The roof collected too much rain water and caved, drenching all of Matt’s bedding inside. He puts a positive spin on his utter failure, saying he’ll rejigger the roof to collect fresh water or do some hydroponic gardening, because mineral nutrient solutions are so readily available in the Alaskan bush.

Billy and the boys start towing the eight pilings, but there’s a break in the line and all but two get loose. DADGUMIT! They have to circle around and pick them up, while bad weather and nightfall come bearing down on them. “I’d almost rather lose the skiff than the logs,” Billy says. The skiff was built on an Indian burial ground.

A storm’s a’coming and a hard rain’s a gonna fall, and there will be gale force winds. Billy’s got to get the pilings secured to shore as best he can and then everyone’s got to help keep the trapper shack from ending up in Munchkin Land. Billy instructs his family, “Cameramen and all these people get in your way, knock ’em down out of your way! This does not matter about them right now!” The camera crew would be pissed if this all wasn’t so fake.

The Browns ride out the storm or whatever that was outside. Morning comes, and the Browns emerge from the trapper shack to see what debris the production crew spread around the place. “All of our construction seems to have held,” Noah says, “except for [Matt’s] bubble.” Yes, Matt’s Plastic Palace took the brunt of two “widowmaker” branches that laid waste to it.

And somewhere a spider laughs.

6 Comments

  1. I am curious about Bear. Loves to climb. Lives in Alaska. Why isn’t he up in the mountains? Snowboarding, skiing, hiking & climbing. Doesn’t make sense to me.

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About Ryan Berenz 2006 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.