Is Alaskan Bush People fake? Does it matter?

Alaskan Bush People Fake Ryan Berenz

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

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

Alaskan Bush People Fake

“You do not choose Dance Moms,” Lori Acken once said. “It chooses you.”

Lori writes brilliantly about top-flight shows with interviews of stars high atop the A list, yet she could not unburden herself of the Abby Lee Miller albatross. Her weekly recaps of a terrible show about generally unpleasant people were wildly successful, but I did not envy her.

In early 2014, our editorial staff was looking for the next Dance Moms. We had success covering brand-new, somewhat obscure reality shows on cable networks (regrettably, no one cared about quality shows on the broadcast networks). The idea was to try to get on the ground floor of niche shows that few media outlets were going to cover. The pond is smaller, but we’d be the only ones fishing in it.

Our editor in chief, Barb Oates, has a keen eye for what reality TV shows and personalities tend to draw interest (i.e. controversy). She attended the TV critics press tour and was there for a panel Animal Planet held for this new Alaskan Bush People show about backwoods Billy Brown, his wife, and their seven kids. Barb said the Bush People were a hoot, and one of us should write a recap of the premiere episode. Discovery Channel (the show got promoted to the mothership) had sent us a link to an online screener, and a quick recap of the highlights seemed like something I could bang out quickly.

I watched the first episode and was bored within 10 minutes (the flat tire). Within 40 minutes I was disappointed (the tree almost falling on Bam). And by the end of the episode, I was skeptical (Lumber Guy Rick). The Browns didn’t seem all that “bush” with their SUV, using milled lumber to build their house and running back into town for everything. I learned nothing about living in the wild other than burying meat and digging “hip holes” where you sleep. And, on the most fundamental level, it made no sense that someone who truly wants to live off the grid in the Alaskan wilderness would desire to put himself and his family on a reality TV show, one of the aforementioned grid’s waste products. I posted a mildly snarky recap, relieved that I wouldn’t need to do another one, because nobody was going to watch this show, at least not for very long.

And then Alaskan Bush People chose me.

I was shocked that people were not only watching this show, but they had strong opinions about it. Many of the commenters on that original recap weren’t convinced that this family was real, that their accents were fake, that their clothes weren’t practical for the bush, etc. Many other commenters loved the Browns and wanted to live with them, pray for them or write them checks. I was amused that people got worked up over Not Yet Another Alaska Docudrama Show. And I was pissed that I would have to keep watching it and writing about it.

(Digression! That’s the media culture now. Everything has to be EXTREME to break through the noise. Whether it’s extremely good or extremely bad does not matter. You don’t get excited about TV shows that are OK. You don’t share YouTube videos about sensible people doing rational things. You get excited about stuff that is legitimately AWESOME or stuff that is so bad that it becomes AWESOME in its badness. Guess which one applies to Alaskan Bush People.)

Alaskan Bush People Dumpster Fire

I snarky snark snarked my way through two more episodes, trying to appreciate the show on an ironic level. It wasn’t until “Fight or Flight” that I had my Plato’s Cave moment. The “shooting” incident marked a point in which ABP had gone from a contrived docuseries to something outright deceptive. A commenter tipped me off to Zaz Hollander’s investigative piece in the Alaska Dispatch News, and I’d never see the show the same way again. You can’t get the toothpaste back in the tube. I went from wondering what was fake to just assuming everything was fake. And then in June Discovery aired “The Wild Life” special in which the Browns protested too much that they were real and tried to explain the show’s inconsistencies. Billy backed off his “government burned our cabin down” statement, so now you have cause to doubt the very reason for this show existing in the first place.

Discovery couldn’t (or wouldn’t) tell me if the show was going to be picked up for Season 2, but I assumed it was. A few months passed with no word. And then in late October, commenter Talkeetnachris tipped us to this:

Billy brown was just charged with stealing over $13000 filing fraudulent PFD claims in Alaska. His near life will be in prison. A few other family members were also charged. This guy and his family are frauds.

The Browns crossed from simple, harmless reality-TV smoke-and-mirrors land into the realm of criminal fraud accusations. And these aren’t just your everyday, run-of-the-mill, bad-check-cashing fraud allegations. This is fraud that, if proved, collapses the entire Brown Family Universe. I prematurely pronounced Alaskan Bush People dead and canceled. No way Discovery was going to continue with it after this, right?

I was wrong. (FRAUD!) The ADN again had the story. New episodes of ABP were being filmed, but no Season 2 premiere date was announced. I maintained the believe-it-when-I-see-it attitude, but then the announcement came and Season 2 premiered Jan. 2.

Season 2 was brutal to watch. At the end of Season 1, I expected ABP, if it returned, to be even more absurd. And it was. What I didn’t expect was Season 2 to be IDENTICAL TO SEASON 1 BUT OVER TWICE AS LONG! We suffered through eight episodes to only get to the MIDSEASON FREAKIN’ FINALE? Maybe we’ll discover all of Season 2 was just a dream Billy had while comatose. My guess is we’re going to get maybe two more episodes like “The Wild Life” with unaired footage and more half-assed explanations of how everything is real and we’re all idiots.

That’s how we got to now. Thanks for getting this far. Now what?

There’s been a changing of the guard at Discovery Channel, and it may determine the future of ABP. Discovery networks have taken a beating over their pseudoscience shows like those about mermaids, Megalodon and real scientists getting duped into contributing to fake Shark Week shows. New Discovery Channel president Rich Ross seems to understand this, and appears to be taking the network in a different direction by expanding its slate of scripted programming, particularly history-based dramas. Ross fielded questions about that at the TV Critics Association Winter Press Tour in January, as reported by Broadcasting & Cable:

[Ross] also addressed the network’s current slate of unscripted programming, signaling that a shift in tone is imminent. Asked whether projects such as Mermaids and other documentaries with fictional elements will continue to have a place at the network, Ross said, “It’s not whether I’m a fan of it. I don’t think it’s actually right for Discovery, for Discovery Channel, and it’s something that I think has in some ways run its course. I don’t think you’ll be sitting here next year asking me a question about something I put on, whether it’s a series or a special, that that’s the dilemma.”

Ross pointed to another new hire — that of John Hoffman as executive VP of documentaries and specials, announced Thursday morning — when fielding a question about criticism from the scientific community about Discovery’s Shark Week programming.

“[Hoffman] has a long history of telling great and authentic stories and working with scientists and doctors and everybody in between,” Ross said. “It was not just a signal. It was a message that it’s very important to us and very important to me that when people are telling stories and delivering information that it’s true and that it can be entertaining as well.”

Based on that, I imagine Ross leading an angry mob of Discovery Channel execs to chase the Brown family off Chicago Bears Island and off the network’s lineup for good. Then there’s this in the news today:

Discovery’s Gold Rush was the number one program in all of television among men for the eighth consecutive week while Alaskan Bush People was the number one program on cable for women on Friday, February 20 in L+3. “The Brown family and everyone’s favorite gold miners from Gold Rush on Friday nights have continued to build an audience with viewers of all ages,” Denise Contis, EVP of production and development, tells Cynopsis. “We’re excited so many men, women, and their families have invited Discovery Channel into their homes each Friday night.”

Ratings competition is fierce. Discovery Communications is a business, not a public service for the common good. Squeezing every last ratings point out of low-budget unscripted fare is good business for them, at least in the short term. I don’t see how Discovery jeopardizing the credibility of its cornerstone Shark Week franchise or cramming its schedule with phony Bush People benefits its brand over time.

Let’s shoot down the “If you don’t like it, don’t watch it!” argument. If the viewers who hated on the show stopped watching, the audience would be a third of what it is and the show would be canceled. There’s as much fun and entertainment to be had in hating a TV show, personality or character as there is in legitimately enjoying one. [Update: Watch this analysis debunking the Don’t Like, Don’t Watch argument]

TV critics and bloggers fittingly call it “hate-watching.” This is how the Kardashians remain in the spotlight. It’s better to be hated than to be ignored. Your hate has made them powerful.

 

HatersGonnaWatch

Shows like ABP are designed to be absurd. Doing and saying stupid things, and building failed huts out of plastic wrap are all part of the Brown family’s act. Eventually their act will wear thin (if it hasn’t already) and they won’t be worth hatin’ on any more. The show will be canceled and the Browns will go to wherever they go when they’re not pretending to live in the bush, or wherever the Alaska justice system determines they should go.

(Digression! Of course, ABP getting canceled is not in my best professional interest. Someone actually pays me to watch it and write about it. Real money, too! Stuff I can use to buy food that my children will refuse to eat.)

Suspension of disbelief allows us to immerse ourselves into dramatic works. I have intelligent friends who love pro wrestling. It’s perfectly acceptable to watch and enjoy the Browns as they’re depicted onscreen for an hour a week. Maybe you think Bear is a riot. Maybe you really want the boys to settle down with some nice bush girls. Maybe you’re really happy Ami finally got her home with an ocean view. More power to you. Just stay off the Internet.

I can’t ignore the implausibility. I can’t invest in the Browns, because I’m not biting on anything they’re casting onscreen. And everything I’ve read about their lives offscreen just makes me pity those viewers who’ve swallowed hook, line and sinker. The Browns will barter them for more dental work.

Next week, check out my treatise on the unequivocal authenticity of MTV’s Pimp My Ride.

66 Comments

  1. Okay, I admit I had doubts from the getgo that Alaskan Bush People was legitimate. However, I’ve watched pretty much every episode, since I’ve found it entertaining. My father, however, pointed out that these people would never survive in the wild with all the crazy mistakes they make. Now reading all the comments, I realize this show is faker than I think.

    But my main thought is that some of the Browns actually seem pretty genuine. Like Ami, she definitely loves her family, but maybe is a bit disillusioned by Billy. She is very sweet though. And the kids, are they brainwashed, too? I’ve got to admit I really like the eldest son Matt. He seems like a nice person. He’s funny and seems down to earth. Yet he’s like 32 or something, couldn’t he go off on his own? But was he in on all this too?

    One more thing is, has anyone noticed Matt and a couple of the older boys are on youtube? Matt’s seems like a real account, because it has home videos with him talking about the show. I may be totally gullible, but I want to give him the benefit of the doubt. Yes, I may have spent too much time contemplating this and too little time studying for my classes.

    • In this case your father is correct. While a mistake or two is understandable, if you think about it, what task do they ever make look easy or complete the first time? So common sense would say that a family that lived all by themselves in the wild for over three decades would have this down pat by now. Then when you dig around a bit and do some research, it is far worse and contrived then you can even imagine. So it is fake and made up. That alone is not setting television history (although they seem to be taking this to the next level). Add in the fact that this family is facing 60 felony counts of theft and fraud and it gets pretty bad.
      As far as some of the family seeming genuine, I personally think that it is very plausible. Scammer Billy definitely seems to be the ringleader of the family. From my research Billy was married previously with two kids in Texas. He left them behind and took a 16 Ami away with him to far away lands. From people that have talked to Ami’s brother she has had no contact with them since. From my observations from the show she seems very quiet and mild mannered, and there is probably a pretty good chance that she is a decent person. She seems like she probably cares for her kids and is just along for Billy’s wild ride for fame and fortune.
      A couple of the kids do indeed have youtube clips that are about 5 years old. If memory serves me correctly it was Bam, Gabe and Snowbird. The clips are basically them hawking Billy’s books, talking about the upcoming movie and the show that they were going to start filming. No doubt who put them up to that. Also shows how long Billy has been pitching this show to anyone who would listen.
      I have written before on these recaps about how I feel bad for the kids. It seems to me that Billy has done a real disservice to these kids in his quest for fame and money. None of these kids seems to have an real life opportunities outside of the family from what I can tell. It is just way past odd that all of these adult kids have no spouses, or boyfriends or girlfriends, live at home with mom and dad and seem to have no lives outside of Billy. That is also where some people start to worry that hopefully nothing more insidious is going on here. If something happened to the parents where would the kids be? In the show it makes them seem like they are only capable of menial labor type jobs. Hopefully I am wrong on this, but I have my doubts about what is ahead for the family.
      Don’t feel bad for the Alaskan Bush People invading your life. I think many of us feel that way.

      • I appreciate your reply. That really does make alot of sense, since everything is dramatic for them and by now they should have some daily routine of living in the wild. It is interesting, entertaining to read the comments…I’ll have to mention it to my parents, since we watched all the episodes together. I have got sucked into the show, even though it’s phony! And then I looked up Matt on youtube and spied on his homepage. Curiosity got me bad! What I thought was neat was their references to God on the show, but this could all be acting too. If Billy’s a convict he’s not in the best place with God, I guess. Sorry to get all religious-y… Yep, I can’t help but hope the kids and Ami escape or something. Poor Ami is probably too loyal, but the guys and Rainy & Birdy should branch out and explore what they want to do in life. Yet, as you said, they don’t have the best foundation to start a life on their own.

        • There is absolutely no reason not to enjoy the show. It is a TV show and if it is entertaining, then that is great. It is just one of those things where you can’t get mad and uptight if you think it is real, but other want to try and point out it isn’t. This show is a lighting rod for controversy with really strong opinions on both sides, so it is upsetting to some when others challenge their position. Kind of a lot like religion or politics when that is discussed. Things can heat up quick. I personally never have a problem with religion or God being brought up in any way. As long as people have respect for others peoples beliefs, then have at it.
          If you and your parents have time go back and read all of Ryan’s recaps. He does a great job of breaking them down. Some of the weeks the comments section gets pretty rip roaring. There is a local from Hoonah (closet town to Browntown) named Tim that really gives some good insider insights.
          I also hope it works out for the family. I think their show is faker than a $3 dollar bill, but I certainly have no personal vendetta against them and hope the kids go on to happy productive lives. The trial that starts in June against a good portion of the family should be interesting to say the least.

          • I’ll have to go and read through the recaps, it is quite interesting to get the inside scoop. I could see why people get really upset with how basically the show is trying to fool people, but I guess it’s basically for entertainment (in my case anyways). I guess the world would be a better place if there was more respect.

          • If you think about it Beth, the depth that they make things up and try to portray it as real can be fun. If they just slightly stretched the truth it would be no big deal. But to live in a town and try to play this off as real is the amazing part. That is the entertainment.

      • look up ‘papa pilgrim debacle’, that billy kind of dad controlled his family, the locals not collecting offseason cash from the discovery crews, are concerned a ‘billy pilgrim’, fate could be prevented if daylight were shined on the brown clan, and when the papa billy said move the family, they all moved breaking the sons love with a local girl, (some dad, his adult sons love and future took a backseat to this t.v. show)

      • please look into “papa pilgrim” , you can see the end result of billy brown type parenting, Alaska is a magnet for human roaches, their kids need to learn how to survive on their own, ‘papa billy’, (a papa pilgrim clone), does not know the truth about ‘bush’ life. Hoonah mayor is promoting lies, married policewoman dating socially retarded brown son, shows her husband the meaning of cuckold., yet the foolishly faithful see role models. mental retardation in America is on full display here, sarah palin is a dimbo, (stupider than a bimbo), yet boobs all across the land love her, so mental decline is here to stay and discovery is gonna keep’em paying. Hoonah Alaska is full of turds .

  2. I’ve read your comments and I’d like to say I love the Bush people… real or not. I’ve watched all the Alaska, the wild frontier and notice they have tons of big machinery, gas for their vehicles, etc. and recently found out the singer ‘Jewel’ is Atz sr.’s daughter. What’s the difference? Also, with Honey boo boo crap, Search for bigfoot, mermaids, Dance moms (which I hate), I enjoy laughing at Gabe goof off and his impersonations, Matt’s dinginess, Bear running around like a kid and the girls primping. I know I wouldn’t make it one day in the bush so, if you don’t like the show, don’t watch… for me, I hope you keep them on the air. Thanks

    • Not to split hairs or anything, but the Kilcher family never claims to not have modern machinery, actually owns their own land, posses real skills for surviving and making money, really are long time Alaskans and don’t spend their winters in Texas, don’t claim to have written over 60 childrens books that don’t seem to exist, don’t have a trail of people claiming that they stole money from them, are able to complete tasks for survival without 99 out of a 100 blowing up in their face, have kids that seem completely competent to accomplish stuff when their daddy isn’t around, don’t claim to live on their land but in actuality live in a hotel at night, don’t have to run and jump like a 5 year old on a Mt Dew high just for an attempt at comedy, don’t completely make up EVERYTHING that happens on the show so badly that a cottage industry sprouts up for the sole purposes of making fun of them and pointing out how EVERYTHING is made up, and are not facing 60 counts of felony fraud for stealing money from the state of Alaska. Other than that, no difference and completely the same show.
      Glad you love and enjoy the show. In the end any show you watch should bring you entertainment and happiness. You and the Browns even have some of the same similarities, like neither one of you being able to make it one day in the bush.

      • I’m announcing a new policy. Anyone who comments with “If you don’t like it, don’t watch it!” or any variation thereof, gets this reply:

        • I like it!
          I am not sure if we should burst their bubble and let them know that if not for hate watchers, then the viewers might drop a solid 60-90%, and it would be cancelled. So they should be thanking us for our participation to help keep ABP on the air.

  3. Too bad everybody that loves this show, and wishes they could live with the Browns (and especially Bear), couldn’t have their dreams come true.
    Day 1) Wow, really great to be here in Browntown. Look at that Bear running, jumping, rolling around and playing in the mud. OMG he is hilarious. This is great.
    Day 2) Well he is still running around like a 6 year old. Yay? Sigh. I think I am going to turn in early to my tent tonight. See you in the morning.
    Day 3) Yeah, ummmm, Bear, what if maybe you just sat down and took it easy today? We could just have a nice quiet day today. What do you say Bear?
    Day 4) Seriously Bear! Why don’t you sit the @#$% down for 5 minutes minutes! Give it a break already! My heading is just pounding. Anybody have a lethal dose of aspirin around here?
    Day 5) Ok film company get me the @#$% out of here right now! Do it right now or I am going to go get that gun with the crappy sight and practice on Bear. What do I need to do here to leave? Lose the immunity challenge, be the last person to get to the mat with Phil, be voted off the island, miss the final Jeopardy? I will do anything! If I am not out of here in 5 minutes, I swear I will burn Browntown to the ground!

    • Your stupid man get a life what do you think they just pretend to shoot and skin a deer or pretend to build a house general rule of construction by the way if its easy its not right. Ide rather have my kids running through the woods rather than sitting on there ass playing video games all damn day if anyones fake its you and your lousy comments

      • Well welcome aboard Mr. Blackthorn. Nice of you to stop by.
        Ok your question was, do I think they just pretend to shoot and skin a deer, or pretend to build a house general rule of construction (your losing me a bit on that last part but I can follow along)? DING DING DING DING DING DING!!!!!! You Mr. Blackthorn are our daily double winner of the day. I am sure we are going to set you up with a wonderful prize. Yes, I do indeed think they complete pretended to shoot deer and build that house. Look at the film of the deer shootings, especially Gabe’s deer. The editing is so crappy for this show that the scene where you see Gabe in the shot with the meadow in the background doesn’t even come close to matching the close up of the deer’s partial head and ears shot. One has short grassy meadow with no frost and the other has long weeds with frost on the top. It is to the point I embarrassed for them how badly they edit this, if you pay attention. Does this film company normally do work for the visually impaired? Also did you notice how clean Gabe’s hands are each time he supposedly field dressed it? Or how the fresh kill thrown over his shoulder never leaves a spot of blood on his cloths? It is just so weird. Also funny how we never see them cutting up or processing the meat back at camp, but we do see them continually eating canned food. Then there is the whole minor little detail of the locals in Hoonah (where they live in the Icy Straights Lodge each and every night with food, nice rooms, satellite TV and a full bar) saying that they didn’t ever shoot a deer. The owner of their lodge shot both of the deer and dressed it out. Then there is also that minor problem of the Browns don’t even have valid State of Alaska hunting licenses. Again all of these are minor details. So to review that last part to be clear, they live in a town with lots of people around that are reporting on exactly what is actually happening. This is because it would be way too inconvenient to go out in the wilderness and film this travesty of a show in private. Much easier to have everybody living in town while all of the town folks watch. Mostly because the wilderness is so SCARY! We wouldn’t want the rough and tumble Browns who claim to have lived for over 30 years alone in the wild to have to sleep in a tent for a month or so while they get paid to film a TV show. That is way past the line.
        Lets just get to the point on them building their house. It was a construction company for Juneau Alaska that built it. They would stop building for a little while so the Browns could get filmed in the construction site. What did you actually see the Browns do? Cut a couple of pieces of wood, nail about 5 nails, put a little bit of subfloor down, raise two walls, and hoist a beam up. The beam of course smashed Matt’s hand so yea, that went real well. Funny how the major parts of construction like siding, trusses, roof beams, doors, windows and other major parts of house… poof, they just magically happened. The few parts they did show the Browns were of course horrible. I guarantee 4/5 nails they pounded bent, the stairs were girl scout quality (No, sorry girl scouts that was an insult. You would have done better. Please don’t cut me off from your Samoas.), and it was so painfully obvious they didn’t know how to measure or space floor joists or level a wall. Again the nice people in Hoonah reported all of this down to the construction company. In fact the big laugh was that the Browns even being involved slowed everything down because they would invariably mess up everything they touched. All this from Billy who by his own words said he had built so many houses he could even count them all. Ummm, yea, sure there Billy.
        So if the bad filming, horrific editing, local people actually reporting on what is going on while seeing this with their own eyes, wide reports from the media, and Billy’s own words don’t convince you this is fake then I have no idea what to tell you. You kids running through the woods instead of playing video games is a great idea. Has zero to do with this made up, none of this ever happened show. This is as real as me filming on your front lawn, and telling the world that I am coming live to you from Mars. Despite you seeing me through the window filming, I will deny it because I am really on Mars. That is just as real as this show.
        I am also not sure how I am fake. What did I ever claim to be? What is my misrepresentation? I will let you in on a widely known secret though…
        1) I currently live in Alaska in a far harsher climate then where the Browns are
        2) Am born and raised in Alaska
        3) My current house is made of logs from right here in the state
        4) My current occupation is building and remodeling houses in Alaska
        So yea, what would I know

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    • Actually when I was younger I would have loved the lifestyle they portray. I did live in the so called woods/forest in Washington and in Oregon. My ex was not a big fan of steady employment so he only worked when he felt like it. I’ve lived on the banks of several different rivers and back woods cabins that did not have running water, electricity, or an indoor toilet. I had 3 children and we all took took a bath on the side of the rivers even when there was ice floating down the river and this was in the 1970s. My ex hunted deer and anything else that was legal to shoot. Me, I went on a diet of fish cause I don’t care too much for wild game unless it comes out of the water. Whether this show is real or fake it does kind of teach family values.

  4. I vote for Ryan and David as the next Siskel & Ebert.
    I’ve told everyone about this blog, we all want the show to go on only to read the commentary!

    • I call dibs on Siskel Ryan! There is no doubt there is more than enough material in ABP to sit chair to chair and break this down.
      I may be dating myself here, but I think we could definitely pull of a Mystery Science Theater 3000. We could definitely provide a good running commentary.
      We would definitely need an alcohol company to be the main sponsor though. Something classy like Keystone Light. We could go with something like… “Brought to you by Keystone, getting you through Alaskan Bush People since 2014”.

      • Yes! We could re-create Noah’s Holy Smoker and turn it into a Bush Tom Servo!
        Twitter is great for that sort of commentary thing. Wish I had started live tweeting from S1, E1.

        • Very true on Twitter. That is a great medium for a live running commentary.
          I was also thinking that Beavis & Butt-head would also work for this, with ABP clips instead of videos. I bet Mike Judge has time on his hands

  5. Show is fun to watch. Even if so fake, it is like a back in the day western type with a feel good to it. Who doesn’t need to have a feel good show.
    Fake is fake, most tv is fake. What is the diff?

    • Well there are different levels of fake. There is pretty close to the truth only we had to re-shoot a few scenes. Then there is the loosely based on reality, we just stretched the truth to make this a bit more entertaining. Lastly there is, we made this up so badly and lied about everything, that prison time might be involved with the cast. Our favorite Bush People are solidly in the latter.

  6. Another great commentary! I love the part “Good, Good…let the hatred flow through you”. That pretty much sums it up.

    This show has really lit a fire under some people. I also fed into the anger and stopped watching a while back. When I discovered the show is scripted and they don’t really live out there, I didn’t like being fooled.
    I had to tune in to see the finale. Had to see this house. I see it is still filled with bloopers. Like every time they show the tent, you could see that smoke from that stove they made, billowing out above the tent.
    Yet, when Billy wakes to the snow on the ground….there in no smoke billowing out. Clearly they did not really sleep there …..as there was no fire in the stove.
    If this show has any redeeming factor, it is that you can tell they really do love one another. Just look at Gabe’s face when he’s talking with his dad. I mean the whole world is calling Billy a scammer …. but Gabe looks at him like he’s the greatest man he ever knew. It’s kind of endearing. The love and the loyalty this family has for each other. You can tell at least that part of the show appears to be true.

    • There just seems to be so much bad editing in this show it is really crazy how they almost just don’t care. It is almost an affront to the audience. How freaking stupid do they really think the audience is? How lazy is the editing team? What is the average IQ of an Alaskan Bush People fan? I have so many questions and such little time.
      Here is my obscure observation from the last episode. I have to limit this because I think I could write 40 pages on all of the things that are poorly edited or just make no sense. When they enter the house there seems to be lighting in between each rafter lighting up the entire house. I can understand a lamp or two, but the entire house is lit up from above. Good to know that the Browns have cardboard walls but somehow are powering a bunch of lights in the house.
      I guess I see what you mean about the loyalty. I just see a scammer bringing his family down with him. Obviously at this point I just can’t really be positive on this whole charade.
      I think in the last week or two I have come to the conclusion that this show is just exhausting. I lack a better word for it. The story, the lies, the poor editing, the slow pace and especially the “fans”. I love a good spirited debate centered around facts and good observations. An intelligent discussion with somebody with different points of view can be very enlightening and broaden your perspective. Trying to rationalize with superfans about this show is akin to try and rationalize with a 13 year old girl at a Justin Bieber concert. I honestly am dead to the “I love this show! These people are AMAZING! I love the Browns and how much they love each other! I don’t care what the haters say, I know it is real! I wish it was on every day! Tell me how I can marry a Brown boy! I love Bear! Tell me how to send them money!” posts. This train wreck was actually kind of fun for a while. I think that time has past. Ryan, Discovery owes you something because without your posts there is no way I could go on. Its like the actual show is somehow required to watch, and I come here for therapy.

      • David,
        OK, I tried to be nice and positive. That didn’t work. Probably because I know it’s a lie. The truth is I lost my entire family to a man like Billy Brown. Maybe by writing this, I’ll give voice to that side of it.
        I started watching this show, because I believe in family. Maybe because I lost mine and it’s not easy being alone in this world. This show is not about family.
        I cringe every time I see Billy brag about “family”. How important “family” is. The love. The loyalty. It’s all bull. If he really believed in family, then he would have not take Ami away from hers. He would have joined in the family that he married, verses taking her way. Isn’t that what he is expecting from his kids when they find love? It’s hypocritical.
        What Billy is really saying is “MY wife…MY kids…MY family”. My guess is he took her away from her family…so he could have one. He is also not a responsible man…and he knew those who loved her would be voicing that to her.

        I have lived this with a man much like Billy in my life. He did not do right by my loved one…but they are so convincing, that if you even voice it, you’re dismissed. They are usually very sweet women who are easily led. When I saw Ami put her head down out of embarrassment when Billy kissed her on the new floor of the first house…it told the story.
        My story, I watched him keep my loved one on welfare, popping out kids they could not afford to insure the welfare check, because he refused to work. I watched those little children be sent to the store with food stamps to get HIM a loaf of bread for a sandwich, because he was too proud to go in a store with food stamps. He was also the one to say “My wife…MY kids…MY family”. When I finally voiced my disapproval of him, I got dismissed. I watched my mother go to an early grave just trying to suck it up…because she knew she had no alternative. She hated what he was doing…but she never showed it. It just welled up inside of her until the heartbreak killed her.

        It is coming out that Billy has scammed a lot of people more than he has ever “worked” for his “family”. The world has supported his family…not him. This show is just another scam to put money in his pocket, so he don’t have to get a real 9 to 5 and support his family. The really sad part is he has brainwashed his sons to think this is good. This is the way to live. It’s just my opinion, but that is what I see. He’s using his family to provide for him…but has them all convinced it’s the other way around. Even when people are laughing at them now.
        When they showed a picture of Ami as a child…it looks like she has brothers and sisters. Those kids will never know them. How sad.
        In truth, when I saw Gabe go hunting with his dad…and how he pumped up like a peacock every time dad praised him, I wondered how often that happens. It seems to me like a young man begging for his father’s attention…that he don’t get too often. Any tiny attention or approval and he pumps up. It was sad to watch.

        This fake town they are building should not be called “Browntown”. It should be called “Billy’s World”. Because that’s what it really is. If you do not agree, you will be voted off the island. It’s called isolation, brainwashing and control.

        The world is talking junk on this family…and Billy is pocketing from it. It’s just another way to make a living without really having to work. Sadly, at the expense of his family.

        These people won’t see it. You won’t make them see it. If you try, you’ll just be dismissed.

        Unfortunately, karma or patterns set, have a way way coming back. I see Rain one day meeting a man just like dear old dad…and he pulling her away. I saw it happen in my own life. The daughter being attracted to a man just like dear old dad and walking away from her family and continuing the legacy. Just like mom did. It does have a way of coming back and I wonder do these mindless women even see it. What message they are sending to their daughters.

        I want to touch on another thing. When Noah was getting Bird’s present. He was going through the tapes. He had one of Johnny Horton. He tossed it aside like he did not know who that was. Johnny Horton was a country singer back in Hank Williams day. Johnny sang mostly about Alaska and the gold rush. In fact his most famous song was “North, To Alaska”. I found it funny that Noah didn’t know who it was? Yeah…I think he was probably going through mom and dad’s old cassettes.

        I agree with the one post that Discovery should be sued for deception. If only because of what you said. There are young girls who are buying into this lie and actually want to go there. What if one of those young girls throws caution to the wind and heads out there? To find it’s all a lie. So there she is homeless in Alaska. Even worse…she’s at the mercy of this family.

  7. Greg……you are not alone in noticing that the deer sequences in ABP seemed a little odd. In both instances the deer were not shot by Gabe or Birdie either one. Both deer were shot by a local resident who is the owner of the Misty Bay Lodge for the sole reason that none of the Browns have valid hunting licenses. The deer were shot, dressed out, and placed where they were placed for filming purposes. And this is just the tip of the iceburg.

    • Sherry if it were any more fake, Gabe and Birdie would shoot the gun, then walk over and open the oven and take the fully cooked meat out of the oven on a tray complete with sides.

  8. The boat INTEGRITY has now arrived in Hoonah. The ABP Group has renamed it LACK OF INTEGRITY.

    • Still chuckling over the Browns purchasing a boat named Integrity. You honestly can’t write up stuff this good. Course the Browns seem to have the worst luck trying to operate a boat so it will probably end up at the bottom of the inside passage. Amazing that they aren’t better with boats with the 30 year fake fishing career and all.

  9. Did anybody else notice the deer shooting sequences where Gabe was supposedly shooting a deer? On the first shot where he “missed” the scope caps were closed. No possible way to see through the scope. On the second sequence where he “shoots” the deer. The scope is removed but the rifle has no iron sights. No possible way to aim the rifle. If it isn’t fake it’s heavily scripted and poorly edited.

    • I noticed all of that also with the gun and the scope cap. Funny part is I am not sure if anybody noticed, but Billy actually addressed this a couple of episodes later, the second time Gabe went fake deer hunting in his documentary style running commentary. He basically said that the last time Gabe went hunting it was his fault that the scope wasn’t working because he hadn’t sighted it in (I don’t know many hunters that depend on game for their survival and didn’t bother to have a good operational hunting weapon). My take was that somebody in the film company noticed the backlash from sites like this that pointed out how fake the show is, and how badly it was with the scope cap on that they had to try and address it. We make fun of the bad editing, and they awkwardly try to cover themselves in a later episode. Who knew ABP was so interactive. GO BROWNS!

    • Not all guns have sights. My ex used to file the sights off his guns/rifles so I don’t think they are really needed if you know your guns.

  10. Very good write up. I thought the show was fun to watch, mostly because of the stupid stuff the Brown kids kept doing. Didn’t believe much of it at all. If anything, I think it is a sort of re-enactment of the Browns trying to eek out a living for the past 30 years. Anyway, I thought it was harmless until I saw the many, many comments of folks who want to send them money. Whoa. That is when it quits being fun and starts being serious fraud. I also love to watch house hunters and property brothers, and I believe that most of those shows are staged as well. But pretty sure that even though there are probably scores of women out there drooling over the property brothers, few want to send them money.

    • Well hopefully the Browns took any money they were sent by fans and invested it in Prepaid Legal

    • remember grizzlyman, he wanted to live and commune with wild bears, a sleezy money man funded his fairytale(the bears will detect my love and not kill me), gave him cameras and tons of charged batteries for filming, had bush pilots put him away from help, the sleezy money man wanted the bears to kill grizzlyman for his own fame and fortune, by the second season grizzlyman had groupies(like the brown family), long story short, bush pilot comes to resupply and finds the dead innocent teen girl(bear chow), dead moron “grizzlyman”(bear chow), and i believe the park rangers had to kill the bear(i guess moron meat wont kill bears), my disgust and indifference stem from the dead innocent teen girl, discovery is on a similar path with the brown family. they seem like a ‘papa pilgrim debacle type t.v. show’, google papa pilgrim debacle, while thinking billy brown.

  11. I wish this show was on daily. I hope it never leaves. Admire the family and their love for each other and the Bush.

    • problem is when their first city girl groupie dies will you still love them, and just how does the brown family deal with puberty, who is teaching their girls about sex?, the boys.

  12. I have just one question Ryan since you are so insightful. What are your top 5 favorite shows on cable tv right now? It’s easy for anyone to criticize something as you do. Tell us what the best shows are in your opinion so we can learn something from the master tv critic.

  13. I haven’t said anything but I think it’s time I shed a little light on the Browns. Bill and I go way back, he even saved my life once… I’ll elaborate in a bit. I was homesteading about a mile from the Browns back about 15 years. We got to know each other and swapped whatever it was we each had extra of. Both of us had a need to get away from strip malls, tv shows about tv shows etc. and were generally happier away from the lower 48.
    It was easy to go months without seeing another person. Prepping for winter took too much time and the months went by too fast. Then when winter came we’d be cabin bound, again, for months. Bill and Ami read from the good book by the light of a 55 gallon drum turned wood stove.
    The boys were over all the time. Edna, that’s my wife, traded many a venison pie for chopping fire wood. Probably how Gabe got his muscles!
    As for how Bill saved my life… One time I had shot a moose and needed help dragging it back to the cabin. My tractor was down and I snowshoe’d over to Bills. Ami and the kids were all out picking berries so Bill and I were on our own. After an hour or so of dragging we finally got the big bull up to an old tree I used to dress it out. Just then, the biggest, angriest bear I’ve ever seen came out of the bush and he wanted that moose! There was nowhere to run to. I looked at Bill and we both had the same thought… Up the tree! I know, bears can climb. We were just hoping he took some moose and left. Anyway, I’m halfway up that tree and the branch I was on broke. Just then Bill reaches out and grabs my leg. The bear was on his hind legs, claws out and I’m hanging 5 feet above him. Bill just keeps pulling my leg and pulling my leg…Just like I’m pulling yours!!! Get a clue people! It’s all fake!

  14. Great review Ryan. Very very insightful and absolutely true to form, as usual. The ABP is a double edged sword isn’t it? The Discovery Channel will not let go of this show for awhile. They will capitalize on the five single boys and stomp that into the ground like they have everything else, i.e. season 1 and 2 with almost the same story lines. I say this because the ratings were so high because of its popularity with young women so therefore I think Discovery will cater to that and might even throw in a marriage proposal/wedding or something of that nature. Anything to keep those ratings up. And judging by some of the other shows on Discovery……the more ghetto the better. Class amongst the “acting” class of people has dropped to the pond scum level.

    I, for one, stopped watching the show a couple of episodes ago, but I do still get on the internet although I am not as “hardcore” as some of my fellow “sleuths” on the ABP group site. Also, I will keep reading your weekly reviews once the shows start back up in a few weeks.

    Got a big kick out of your “snarky snark snarked”……….don’t know where you pick up these phrases…….”fake fake fakey fakey fake”……..but they are so hilarious. I am one of your biggest fans and tell everyone I know about your reviews. One really good thing that has happened for me out of all of this is being able to meet such good people that I would never have had the chance to meet had I not stumbled upon your site and the ABP site.

    Keep up the great work, Ryan. Really did love the article today. Such good food for thought.

    This is Sherlock……..signing off for now.

  15. When are the Bush People coming back on ? I love watching them , why don’t you have more shows and longer . this is one of my favorite shows.

    • Your a ringer. Probably work for discovery.
      “When are the bush people coming back on?” Please sister. Your as fake as the show

      • Maybe she actually watches the show. I love the show and watch it every time it’s on. I’ve seen all the reruns several times and I’ll probably be watching it until it goes off the air. Of course I also lie Naked and Afraid, Swamp People, Mountain Monsters, Deadliest Catch, and Duck Dynasty to name a few. Right now I’m watching the The Last Alaskans.

  16. I love this show. It is so interesting to me. The family sticks together and really cares for each other. It’s not all fake and the accents are great. I’d rather watch a reality show like this rather than the Kardashians.

    • when is billy going to get the amish mafia to help him steal some ginsing from appalatian outlaws on his way to get the swamp monsters to breed with bigfoot so the ancient aliens will show where todd Hoffman should dig gold?

  17. Good commentary Ryan.
    I have wondered how Discovery is going to handle this show. On the one hand it is the number two show on cable on Friday nights (up to number one last week), and more importantly they are getting the ratings with the hard to capture young viewers that advertisers covet. ABP has to be a terrific profit center as reality shows have so much lower costs than scripted shows, especially one hour dramas.
    On the other hand this show has morphed into some bizzaro animal that is a raging controversy. While most buzz, good or bad, is something you want in entertainment in order to get noticed, this has a little different feel to it. While Discovery Channel is not necessarily the gold standard in all of television for virtue, they didn’t cut their teeth showing things like The Kardashians. Some of the criticism for ABP is that it is Discovery that is showing it. This is showing that in some circles Discovery is tarnishing their brand with this show. Honestly I don’t understand why they didn’t just put this on TLC (owned by Discovery Communications)instead of Discovery. If TLC is willing to air Honey Boo Boo, then all bets are off on having anything be below the line. Where I think they really are walking a dang fine line though with this is the pending charges against the Browns. These charges came about last year. Well before season two even aired. So you further raise questions among some people about the ethics or morals of this. I happen to be a Louisville Cardinal basketball fan, and have been for life. On Sunday a very key player for their teams was kicked off the team with no notice or news. For a day or so it was like, “what the heck just happened?”. Then it was reported that two girls charged him with sexual misconduct. I think 99.9% of the reaction I saw was, “ok that makes sense”. Also my reaction to the situation. This kind of behavior is just not tolerated in a post Ray Rice world. This situation reminded me of the Browns when it was happening (not minimizing the difference between theft & fraud and sexual misconduct) because much like the basketball player, the Browns are not convicted, just charged. Where the U of L cut ties with the player as fast as they could, Discovery has more than stuck with the Browns. The real question for me here is how far can they take this? Can they continue for another abbreviated season for another short while? Could they be showing new episodes in June while their trail is going on in a courtroom in Ketchikan? I would certainly not think the latter is very possible. Discovery has a pretty profitable and highly viewed show that has a HUGE elephant in the room with the ABP. Reminds me of one of those old movies where two guys are playing chicken by racing their cars at high speed at the cliff and the winner is the guy that stops last. Does Discovery continue to profit from this right up till June, or do they turn away now? It has to be tempting to take this right up till the line and squeeze everything you can out of ABP. As I have discussed in here before, I don’t think the ABP are a brand that you are looking at a great multi-year run. This will be like a meteor that flashes across the sky, then flames out quick. Forget about how fake this show is. The writing is so poor that they basically turned this show into the quest to build a house…, twice. So you really have nowhere to take the storyline.
    I think they milk the never before scenes into a few more episodes and then call it a day. Since from what I am hearing they have wrapped up shooting, there would be very little expense in making the existing film into a few more shows or specials. For me, how Discovery handles this going forward will be vastly more interesting than the ABP could ever dream of being.

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About Ryan Berenz 2080 Articles
Some things I like (in no particular order): Sports, Star Wars, LEGO, beer, 'The Simpsons' Seasons 1-13, my family and the few friends who are not embarrassed to be seen with me. Why yes, I am very interested in how much you like 'Alaskan Bush People.' #LynxForLife