Do the Alaskan Bush People get paid? We asked! Read our interview with the Brown family.
In the Season 2 finale* of Discovery Channel’s Alaskan Bush People “Never Give Up” (July 24), the
Browns encounter obstacles on the way to completing their first cargo haul job on the Integrity. The family finds something shocking when they return to their home.
*There’s a “Lost Footage” special on July 31 and a season recap episode on Aug. 6. We’ll try to cover those in some way. Stay tuned.
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 Integrity has a rotten hull plank, and it threatens Billy’s pity deal to haul overflow cargo for Paul, the Grand Poobah of Hoonah freighting. Billy decides to go for the quick fix and just fills in the hole with epoxy. Hey, would that stuff also work on Ami’s teeth?
So while the Bondo Boat’s hull patch is drying, Billy sends the boys to pick up the cargo for the job: lumber, furniture, livestock and school supplies. By furniture, we mean the front end of a ’51 Mercury that has been chop-shopped into a desk. By livestock, we mean two small goats. And by school supplies, we mean some new gym mats for a school’s wrestling team. Because of the tides, the Browns have a short window of time to leave. And here I thought there might be some kind of goat emergency.
Leave it to Matt to screw things up. Matt jumps off the boat onto the dock and his tooth necklace comes up and hits him in his “good eye.” Matt goes to the doctor, where a nurse tells him he has a scratch. He comes back wearing an eye patch that looks like it was cut from a black T-shirt.
That’s just awful, even by this show’s standards.
Billy’s ready to cast off with the Integrity, but then there’s … yet another problem with the boat. Sigh. The wheel is spinning freely, meaning that Billy can’t steer the boat. They suspect there’s a hydraulic fluid leak somewhere. When Billy says “hydraulic fluid,” it sounds like he’s saying “hot dog fluid.” Noah checks the hydraulic lines, but there’s no steady leak. So where did all that hot dog fluid go? It shall remain one of life’s great mysteries. Billy replenishes the hot dog fluid, and the boat shoves off.
After some unnecessary drama at South Inian Pass, the Browns arrive at Elfin Cove, a small harbor town with no cars, no police and no school. There’s even more unnecessary drama about the rocks and shallow water in Elfin Cove due to the low tide. They drop anchor, and Matt and Gabe deliver the goats with The Skiff.
The goats are going to a nice hippie family. The dad’s name is Taiga, and he’s got long blond dreadlocks. He’s got a cute little toddler named Ronin. Seeing Ronin with the goats is Cute Overload. Matt and Gabe feel the need to stick around and make conversation with them, because “You don’t want to just throw goats at them and leave.”
Back on the Integrity, Billy decides to stay in Elfin Cove for the night instead of trying to make it to Pelican against the tide. So the kids take The Skiff out fishing. Bear catches a fish and starts humanely punching it. It’s been a while since we’ve seen this display, and it was a little shocking to some ABP newbies on Twitter. Bear punches the fish in the head repeatedly, since he’d rather have it die quickly than to slowly “die of oxygen.”¯\_(ツ)_/¯ “I have not yet seen a fish big enough that I would not try to punch it,” Bear says. I wish you guys could’ve heard me explain Bear’s fish-punching logic to my 4-year-old son just now.
Rainy hasn’t gotten much screen time lately, so Billy lets her steer the boat. This is the bush equivalent of the daddy-daughter dance. Rainy says Billy is the greatest dad ever. Oh, you think you’re better than me?
Then the teaser before the commercial says the Browns return to Chicago Bears Island to find their home destroyed. WHAAAAT? Did the government do it again? Did those guys who shot at the Browns in Chitina try and finish the job? Did Ami’s mom send some hired goons? Oh, I can’t wait to find out how they explain this shit. But we press on …
The town of Pelican has a bar and a liquor store but no grocery store. This sounds like most towns I know of in rural Wisconsin. There’s one school and one teacher in Pelican and it serves 12 students of all grades. The Browns are delivering new gym mats for the two-member wrestling team. They’re finally replacing the mats that have been there for 40 years and must smell like a musty, sweaty singlet worn by a months-long rotted, bloated corpse. No one told the Browns that they were also supposed to haul away the old gym mats (thanks for leaving that out, Paul!). At least Coach Wolff lets the Browns use his four-wheeler ATV to haul the old mats back to the dock. Like any wrestling coach worth his salt, Coach Wolff is a hard-ass. “The strong survive here. The weak, they go back down to the Lower 48,” he says.
Now for the delivery of the car desk. The Browns get the luxury of using an electric hoist on the dock for this job, which really speeds things up and saves us from having to watch another boring manual hoist. The Browns get an ATV and trailer on loan to haul the desk. Hey, all the machinery and stuff is pretty nice, ain’t it? Of course the Browns would give the job of driving the ATV to the village idiot with one eye and no depth perception. It’s the Brown Way.
The desk is delivered to Chris, who just saw Crocodile Dundee and absolutely loved it, and Chris’ buddy, who just got back from playing Smokey in The Big Lebowski. Chris is going to use the desk as a picnic table for his “hot dog match” and build a cooler inside of it. Chris should check if the desk is low on hot dog fluid.
The Browns are swelling with pride over this mission accomplished. Jeez, Billy delivers some goats and suddenly he thinks he’s freaking Captain Phillips or something. Noah repurposes the old gym mats as padding for the floor of the boat. I fully expected Matt to build Matt’s Gym Mat Mansion with them, but whatever.
The Browns get close to Brownton Abbey, and they think they spot people on the beach. After getting our hopes up, they discover that it’s just a bear. When they arrive at their home, they find that all their trash has been trashed. Noah’s meat smoker is destroyed, and so is the shower and the stupid bicycle battery charger. OH DEAR GOD, NO! NOT THE CRAP THAT DIDN’T WORK ANYWAY! “Things were ravished and eaten,” Ami says, clearly not knowing what “ravished” means.
The lesson: A bear can ruin a bunch of garbage, but he can never ruin the love.
You guys are smart. I don’t need to write a long screed about this bullshit ending. A) The cameras that once caught a bear walking through their yard at night didn’t catch a bear ransacking the whole place. B) A bear didn’t actually ransack the place. C) If they’re going to make something up, couldn’t they make up something better than this? D) We sit through 16 hours of this crap this year and this is how they reward us?
This show has gone from being kinda fake to being ridiculously fake to just openly and aggressively hating its audience.
Digression! I’ve spent so much time writing about this show, and sharing thoughts and laughs with some very fine, funny and smart people, that I would be truly sad if Discovery Channel gave Alaskan Bush People the ax it so rightly deserves. (I think we’re going to have at least another whole season of ABP. I hope to have some kind of an answer on that next week during the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour.) I love that such a terrible TV show can bring people together from across the country to throw rotten fruit at their TVs through Twitter and these recaps. It’s been a blast, and I hope we’ll keep the good times rolling when the show returns.