Do the Alaskan Bush People get paid? We asked! Read our interview with the Brown family.
On Alaskan Bush People Season 2, Episode 6 “On the Prowl,” Billy strikes a barter for windows, while the Brown kids head into the nearest town. Matt and Noah scour junkyards for additional materials. The boys invite some of the local girls over to their camp.
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
Billy’s dreaming of turning Chicago Bears Island into his own Browntown utopia. He envisions his whole family living there in “five or six houses, a wife for every guy, a few grandkids running around each one of the houses.” (Billy has no plans for the girls, apparently.) We will now call their campsite Brownton Abbey. Billy’s ambitions walk the line between noble and downright disturbing. I shudder thinking about generations of feral Brownlings scampering around the island, punching fish, quoting old bad Sean Connery movies, sleeping in Saran Wrap and getting eaten by bears.
The pilings are cut and the holes are being dug for the foundation of their new house. The lumber is not coming for a few more weeks. Lumber Guy II has obviously taken The Osprey and fled to the Lower 48.
Noah is writing to his blue-eyed beauty, Minnie, the flower that grew out of the filthy craphole of Ketchikan. We get to see a few excerpts of Noah’s florid prose, and it reads something like: “started fixing the … I should have it fix soon … everyone is building on the house so thay [sic] need it quickly … it won’t take long I just need it to cool down so I can remove the spark plug and clean it so it will start … The house is looking nice …” That sound you hear is that of panties dropping all around America. “I try not to advertise the poetry that I write,” Noah says. This is the smartest thing ever said on this show. “My brothers and sisters can get quite creative with the boyfriend-girlfriend songs, like the tree and kissing and all those.” Yes, very creative if you’re 5.
BUT HO! A seafaring stranger cometh hither, just as was prophesied! It is Kenny Skaflestad, mayor of Hoonah. This guy? Probably not this guy. Kenny is the new mayor and he’s nosy and wanted to come out and meet the Browns and maybe even get on the teevee! “That’s how we have to do it when people are out and away from the communities, we have to travel out to them and dispel the rumors right off because sometimes this is where people are talking before they get to know the newcomers.” Rumors? What rumors could there possibly be about this weird transient family and a TV crew staying in a Hoonah motel at night and boating off to film during the day? Glad to see that Kenny takes the duties of his elected office seriously. The Dispelling of Rumors is highest priority as established by the Hoonah Charter of 1946. Typically the spiritual leaders of the Tlingit people are sent to Dispel Rumors, and, to a lesser degree, Innuendo. But this Dispelling of Rumors requires the expertise that only a mayor who won a runoff election by two votes can provide.
“Bush Grapevine is fast,” Billy says. Bush Grapevine is very fast indeed, particularly if you’ve got the new BGV 6 phone running bOS 8 on a Bush Grapevine 4G LTE network.
Mayor Kenny is laying a thick, syrupy layer on his explanation of Hoonah’s attractions and hospitality (Thanks to the Hoonah Liquor Board for its generous support of VisitHoonah.com). Mayor Kenny is about as convincing an actor as Lumber Guy 1.0 from Season 1. “I wanted to let them know that there’s a town near and folks that are thinking about them and can help them out if they get into a bind,” Mayor Kenny says, which is Bush Code for “We’ll do whatever this TV production crew asks, even pretend to shoot at you and run you off the island if needed.” Mayor Kenny then offers a barter to Billy: He’ll give him some windows for their new house if the boys cut some firewood for the Tlingit elders.
Has anyone ever agreed to a barter with the Browns that wasn’t totally made-for-TV BS?
The producers need a reason for the kids to go into Hoonah, so they figure they can go pick up the windows and chop wood. To smell nice for the ladies, Matt starts rubbing cedar on himself. Bear goes for the pine. He says, “I’m hoping that there might be some extreme girl who loves to play with fire, climb trees and crawl through mud.” There are plenty of those in New Jersey.
“You can’t get pizza from under a log,” Birdy says, also never having been to New Jersey. Bear is extremely stoked about the awesome possibilities in Hoonah. “The top three things that I would like to find: Girls are number one. At number two, would probably be sharp knives. And number three, pizza.”
Brown kids, lend an ear. There is much wisdom in your appreciation of pizza. Did you know that pizza is plentiful in the Lower 48? I mean, there is so damn much pizza here. I have three in my freezer right now. People will even deliver it to you if you pay them. And I never tire of pizza. I can say that every pizza I’ve eaten has been like a religious experience. Leave the bush. Leave Brownton Abbey behind. A paradise of pizza awaits you.
Skipper Bam takes the kids for a ride in The Lorcan, towing the Unholy Skiff of Doom behind them. Our dear narrator tells us it takes an hour to get to Hoonah by boat. A few commenters have called bullshit on that.
In Hoonah, Bam tries to dock the boat and it turns into a total boondoggle. Bam is the most managerial of the clan, but he gets rattled way too easily. He has nerves of spaghetti. Something goes wrong and his siblings start yelling at him and he just goes totally blank. But he gets the boat docked, and says, “Any docking you can walk away from is a good one.” Even the “docking” of their boat at the end of Season 1?
Noah is excited to send his letter off to Minnie, the blue-eyed Gem of Ketchikan. “As your hand releases from the letter, it’s like a bit of your soul goes with it and all the goodwill and intention that you have towards that person are in the letter,” Noah says. I feel the same way every time I mail my mortgage payment. “With Minnie, I’d rather be friends for eternity than try to be more and end up being nothing at all.” This one goes out to my man, Noah, heartbroken in Hoonah:
Bam and Gabe meet Mayor Kenny to chop wood as part of the barter agreement for windows, while Matt and Noah go to the junkyard to find parts for a bush stove. Because the biggest complaint about Alaskan Bush People has been its lack of diversity in the cast, we’re introduced to Elijah, a jovial junkman.
Elijah has a junkyard buddy named Kenny, because the Hoonah Charter of 1946 also established that all first-born males be named Kenny. Kenny is batshit insane and probably an actor. Go figure that he and Matt would get along swimmingly.
Bam and Gabe are chopping away when a pickup truck arrives for a load of wood. We’ll have to believe that these are Tlingit elders for whom this wood is being chopped and not just firewood moochers. The woman is a lunatic (Hoonatic?), and she’s trash-talking the boys about their weak wood-carrying abilities. The boys ask her what the women of Hoonah look for in a man. “You got to be packing more wood than this, that’s for sure.” BURN! And then she starts dancing.
Mayor Kenny is pleased with the chopping of wood and the dancing and such, so he gives Gabe and Bam the windows.
The kids meet up for pizza and making the other diners uncomfortable at Misty Bay Lodge. THEY GUARANTEE WHALES! I must say that the pizza at Misty Bay looks pretty good. I’d like to compare it to Chitina’s Grizzly Pizza in a blind taste test. I offer Wisconsin’s finest meats and cheeses in a barter.
The boys target three young lasses sitting in a booth across from them. “If the girl isn’t interested in me, I don’t care, it doesn’t bother me because I know I’m awesome,” says Bear, who acts like he played lacrosse at Dartmouth. Asshat.
These three girls were reportedly recruited by the production crew to tolerate the Brown boys. They even make conversation. “The dump has one of the best views in all of town,” one of them says. “There’s a running joke in town about how everybody has their first date at the dump. And it’s true. It happened to me!” I imagine Krazy Kenny hanging out at the dump at night watching the couples make out. The girl sitting in the corner,
Jordan Jordyn, is kind of fetching. I would punch fish with her any day. The boys give the girls an invitation to visit Brownton Abbey, and they get the insincere “We’ll see if we have time later this week” RSVP. In the Lower 48, that would mean a definitive “No,” but since this is Alaskan Bush People and FAKE FAKE FAKE FAKEY FAKEY FAKE FAKE, we’ll see the girls tomorrow.
The show always needs some unnecessary marine drama, so The Lorcan has a dead battery and the engines won’t turn over, so they get two guys with jumper cables to FAKE FAKE FAKE FAKEY FAKEY FAKE FAKE.
Back at Brownton Abbey, Bear is already preparing for the girls to show up. He’s building an obstacle course to test their levels of extremeness and awesomeness. “If there’s a girl out there that’s willing to run my obstacle course, she would be the girl for me, I would say. … She has to be an awesome girl, able to do it. I mean, if she can’t run the course, then I’m sorry.” Bear’s schtick is really wearing thin.
The three girls arrive by rowboat (!!!) to Chicago Bears Island. The boys are unprepared and they freak out because they’re disgusting. “SMELL ME!” they demand of each other. SMELL MY BREATH! SMELL ME, DAMMIT! SMELL MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
Billy and Ami greet the girls on the beach. “You girls do this often?” Ami asks. Do what, exactly? Row around Alaska looking to hook up with men of dubious character, education and odor? Yeah, I’m sure
Jordan Jordyn does that at least three times a week.
“They’re so cute,” Ami says. “There just might be some grandbabies come along.” Or all three girls might get killed in Bear’s obstacle course. Either way.
What does one do on a Bush Date? You hike. You climb trees. You shoot stuff. One of the girls, Christine, is a total badass and is packing her own .44, which is always a smart thing to do when you row around Alaska looking for Mr. Goodbush. (Let me guess, Christine is the cop?) [Update: Yep.]
Meanwhile, Bam starts pitching woo to
Jordan Jordyn. “Do you like Yeats?” he asks. “Bill Gates?” Jordan Jordyn replies. Has anyone seen my respect for Jordan Jordyn? It just vanished. Bam then proceeds to recite (or read?) out-of-order lines from “Brown Penny” by William Butler Yeats. “And you’re still single?” Jordan Jordyn manages to ask without completely cracking up.
It’s getting dark and the girls should probably take a few more runs though the obstacle course before they have to row (!!!) back to Hoonah. God, the stories those girls could tell. (
Jordan Jordyn! Call me!)
Billy and Ami blah blah blah Brownton Abbey blah blah blah ocean view blah blah blah blah grandbabies blah blah blah PFD fraud blah blah blah.
If the Brown boys haven’t thoroughly creeped you out, I leave you with these parting words from them.
Bear: “How many dates with a girl would it take to consider them your girlfriend? I suppose really only one. I mean, I guess two at most.”
Matt: “Do Bam and I have the same taste in women? Yeah, pretty much. We like ’em with a pulse.”
Bear: “To be honest, they were awesome ladies for sure, but they weren’t quite extreme enough for me.”
[Update: The good people at Stoopidhousewives.com have really done their homework on this episode.]