Discovery Channel Alaskan Bush People recap: The Wild Year

Alaskan Bush People Billy Gnome Ryan Berenz

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

In Discovery Channel’s Alaskan Bush People “The Wild Year” special episode (Aug. 7), the Browns reflect on the events of Season 2, answer viewer questions and talk about some previously unseen footage from the series.

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

We get this “The Wild Year” clip show for the final “new” episode of Season 2. All I can say is THANK THE GOOD LORD, DADGUMIT!

We have all suffered through so much together this year. In fact, Discovery says 50 million of us have been subjected to ABP  (they must’ve counted Sherry twice). There is no need to throw sand in our already weary eyes or further afflict our addled brains, so I’ll make short work of the old repeated stuff.

Remember when the Browns were building that cabin in the Copper River Valley way back in Season 1? Man, that was awesome.

And then tragedy struck. “Confrontations with the locals made them fear for their safety.” “I have seven kids. I want to leave with seven,” says Billy. “This land is not worth dying for.” So they got a boat and headed back to Southeast Alaska.

And then tragedy struck. Their boat, the Opal, sank at the dock in Ketchikan.

And then tragedy struck. The Browns were forced to work for money. Matt contributed by making and selling rings and trinkets made out of utensils. (So if Misty Bay Lodge is all out of forks, you can blame Matt.) Eventually, they earned enough to get out of Wretchikan. Billy purchased two boats, the Lorcan and the Osprey, and Used Boat Guy threw in a free skiff. Used Boat Guy has to be kicking himself, because that skiff grew up to be The Skiff, the finest vessel ever to displace water and the only boat worth a damn in the Browns’ fleet.


And then tragedy struck. Viewers had to watch the Browns build yet another cabin, this time on Chicago Bears Island. Matt put on a little sideshow act of building his own hut. Well, was not so much a hut as was a hole in the ground under a tree trunk.

And then tragedy struck. A spider chased Matt out of his hole in the ground. Then Matt decided to build a home out of plastic wrap.

And then tragedy struck. The plastic wrap house failed at the first rainstorm. Matt insists that his plastic-wrap house was still his best creation. He eventually builds a house out of tires salvaged from a junkyard.


And then tragedy struck. Gabe and Matt got swept out with the tide at night during the whole crab-pot debacle, and search and rescue was called to stop them from floating out to Russia. This scene was so brief in the “Welcome to Browntown” episode that it just seemed tacked on for unnecessary drama. Well, it smells even more like B.S. in this episode’s “lost footage” of the event. All we get to see are very dark, obscure shots of the film crew looking distressed. When we actually do see a search-and-rescue boat, it has fishing rods on the stern and no visible markings of an emergency vessel. The only evidence there is of a S&R team is that someone is wearing something with reflective “POLICE” lettering on it. If any Alaska friends can explain how this could not be fakery, the comments section is all yours.

And then tragedy struck. Ami, desperate for grandbabies and lacking in sense, calls in Susie the Matchmaker to set the boys up with some fertile wombs. “We live together as a clan and we’re hoping to build Browntown as a clan,” Billy says. “And we know it sooner better than later they got to start finding wives.”


And then tragedy struck. Bear is paired up with a nice girl who is not EXTREME enough for him. Gabe has an awkward phone conversation with a girl we never get to see. In a scene that was cut, we find Gabe interrupting his father hard at work (!) chainsawing stuff to give the urgent news about his love life. “She was really nice,” Gabe says. “I know she put a lot of time and effort into it, but these girls are looking for, like, a serious relationship. I don’t want to waste anybody’s time. I want to be sure what I’m getting into, basically.” I know that Ramona is very sad she won’t be having any Brown grandbabies.


And then tragedy struck. In a previously unaired scene, Noah decided to do some Tai Chi at the playground in an effort to impress his date Christi. “I’d say that Tai Chi was a good move,” Noah says. “It showed physical prowess. It’s always good to try to do something like that to break the boundaries and the borders.” If you look closely above the garage of Christi’s grandparents’ house, you’ll see an Oakland Raiders logo. I think you’re better off, Noah. You don’t want to get involved with Oakland Raiders fans.

Now, on to some really important, probing, not-at-all-vetted questions from viewers:

Viewers really want to know if the Browns will be cutting their hair anytime soon. “My hair is AWESOME,” Bear says. “Why would I cut it?”

Viewers really want to know if the Browns know that they’re FAMOUS! “They tell us we’re famous,” Ami says. “I feel a little bit like one of the wildlife animals, like people can walk up and take pictures with,” Gabe says. “It’s like a picture with a bear or an eagle or something.” You know you’re FAMOUS when a tourist who just stepped out of People of Wal-Mart wants to take a picture with you. “I was unaware I was famous,” deadpans the arrogant ass Noah. “I haven’t cured cancer — that’s the kind of fame I was looking for.” Eh. Might have to adjust your goals, Noah. Maybe stick to turning soda bottles into arm bands for portable cassette players.

Viewers really want to know about the boys’ tattoos. A few of the boys have crosses tattooed on them, because as the Bible says, “Verily I say unto thee, gettest thou ink done and thou shalt be spared of the burdens of wisdom and truth.” Matt had other ideas. “I always wanted to get a tattoo that said ‘Made in Alaska,’ like an action figure that says made in the USA or made in Japan,” Matt says. “So now I have ‘Made in Alaska’ tattooed on my butt. I know. I know.” No, you don’t.

Viewers really want to know why the adult kids don’t move off on their own. “I never get that question from Alaskans,” Matt says. “Up here in Alaska we realize that a large family means teamwork and survival.” And basic cable TV shows!

Viewers really want to know what new inventions Noah is working on next. “I’m working on a power station design, so I can supply the entire Browntown from one spot,” Noah “Tesla of the Bush” Brown says of his “Power Vine” idea. He’s got compact flourescent bulbs strung up on fallen tree branches as light posts. I hope his power station is just Bear riding on a stationary bicycle from dusk till dawn.

Viewers want to know just how ignorant the Browns are about popular culture. “I have no idea who won any Super Bowls,” Bear says. What is One Direction? “Straight forward,” Gabe says. “The Lord’s path.”

Viewers really want to know how the chickens are doing. The chickens are great! You see, chickens lay eggs, and eggs can be prepared in a variety of ways and then eaten for food which is then digested. “I’m extremely glad the guys thought up a coop to keep them in,” Billy says. “We’re going to keep an eye on them so the bears don’t come in and take their fill.” I think Matt should be forced to pull overnight chicken-guard duty.

Viewers really want to know if Birdy will marry them. “I don’t marry people I don’t know,” Birdy says. “My name is Snow and I am looking for my Prince Charming.”

Viewers really want to know how the new shipping business with the Integrity is going. “Well, the transport business is … it’s going,” Billy says. The Browns have gotten a few odd jobs by going door-to-door in Hoonah and soliciting dudes in ugly sweaters holding their cats. I imagine the exchange went something like this:

Matt: “Hey hey, sir! We’re the Brown family! Maybe you’ve seen us on the TV. We’re FAMOUS! Anyway, we’re wondering if you have anything you need hauled by boat, like any empty fuel drums or goats. We’re FAMOUS and on TV, but we’re desperately poor and really need you to give us some pity work because we need to pay for Mom’s teeth, and Dad’s Coma Fund is getting low. We’re trying to start this unlicensed, uninsured marine shipping business with an outdated, underequipped and barely seaworthy boat and a barely competent crew of man-children.
Ugly Sweater Cat Guy: “Get the [expletive] out.” [Starts to close door]
Matt: “No! No! Wait! OK, you don’t have anything you need shipped. That’s OK. Let me ask you another question: Do you by chance have any daughters of childbearing age? You see, we’ve got this crazy mom and — ”
Ugly Sweater Cat Guy: [Slams door]

Viewers really want to know what the Browns will be up to next. “The big push right now, though, is a garden,” Billy says. “That’s probably going to be 90 percent of our summer.” Wow. Can’t wait to watch 16 hours of gardening in Season 3. At least the Browns will have no shortage of fertilizer. HEY-YO! Bear goes around like a human weed-whacker with a branch trying to clear space for the garden in the most inefficient and ineffective manner possible.

Viewers want to know if any of the kids plan on ever leaving Brownton Abbey. “One of these days I’m going to have to go down south, because I think that’s where there are real girls,” Bear says. “I mean like California. You hear about California. It’s supposed to be chock-full of pretty girls, so I think that would be a pretty good place to look for some beautiful women.” Valley Girls wouldn’t find Bear nearly EXXXXTREME enough. (BTW, all of the Browns have already been to Los Angeles.)

Viewers want to know what Brownton Abbey will look like in the future. “It will probably look like some sort of gnome village,” Bear says.

Alaskan Bush People Billy Gnome

“There’s so many of us that by the time we all have kids, it’s going to be a population boom like nothing else,” Matt says warns.

And that, friends, concludes Alaskan Bush People Season 2. You can all begin trying to repair the damage done to your psyche in preparation for Season 3.

Much love to y’all.




  2. I have come to know this show as the “Alaska Deuce People” I can’t believe that these people find it so easy to depend on others; Alaska or not! Their dental program is not working. Billy does everything to avoid working for a living. He should be ashamed, as what he has done to his children.

  3. Ryan,

    Just watched episode 16, and I see that ABP are up to their usual antics. Then I found your recaps, and I have to tell you I was laughing out loud…I love the Skiff…those photos are the best!! Can’t wait for the new season to start just to read your recaps!!

  4. Ryan, you should be director, producer and writer for the ABP. The only thing funnier than the show its self is your brilliant recap of each episode. Can’t wait for November to get here!!!!!!

  5. Laughed out loud when I read
    “(I’m asking for a friend.)”

    I would support a crowd fund for sending Ryan to Alaska to get the real story from real Alaskans.
    I also have no idea how crowd funding works so someone is going to have to lay it out for non-techies like me.

  6. Hi, Ryan. I read your coverage of the Browns in the tiny village of Meyers Chuck, which is where I skiffed to school from further out in the bush when i was a kid. As usual your take was hilarious, but I had to tell you that this episode might not have been as fake as usual. You thought it was a bit unlikely that their good friend would show up just in the nick of time to give them a tow.

    This happens more often than you might think because the population of the area is so tiny and always going somewhere, doing something on the water. I just wrote an example in my own life in my blog (, “the importance of skiffs, part 2”). So, it can happen–possibly by accident–that the Browns are being real. I mean, it is a “reality” TV show. There has to be something real in it some of the time…right?

    I can’t wait for the new season to begin. You’re going to still be covering them, aren’t you? Or what’s the point of them going to the expense of another season?

    • Hi Tara! I suppose it’s possible that something could accidentally be real on ABP. I have no doubt that Alaskans would answer a call to assist someone in need. This incident just seemed especially fakey fake fake.
      We’re told by Discovery that the new ABP season premieres Nov. 11 (was originally Oct. 28), and yes, my recaps will be back!

  7. Ryan: I want to say I to have read all your recaps, and they always put a smile on my face. I have watched APB (swallowing in shame as I say it) primarily because my mother took me on a cruise to Alaska as a birthday gift, and I have actually walked the streets of Ketchikan!

    I was an Illinois girl walking the streets of Ketchikan who was supposed to be enjoying the scenery etc., shopping in gifts shops.. but found myself scouring the streets looking for XTBear, Matt, or perhaps Noah walking the streets. I mostly wanted to see Noah in his Tombstone movie prop coat so I could say I met a genius or perhaps have him recite me a poem.

    My daughter once walked through the living room as I was watching APB, she is a young teen girl currently in the boy crazy phase, and she stopped and looked at the t.v. as one of the Brown Boys were talking and she simply said, “Ewe”. I looked up at her and said, “Look at that brother, he is Gabe, look at his muscles”. She said simply, “Mom. Ewe. No. Stop.” Nevertheless, occasionally she will sit on the couch with me and “hate watch”. I enjoy her commentary. Once I tried to ruffle her feathers by telling her to call Susie the Madame and hook herself up with a Brown Boy. She said to me, “Wait, their last name isn’t Bush”? I said, “No, it is Brown. The show is called ABP but Bush isn’t their last name”. My daughter says, “Oh, I thought it was kind of really random to name your poor little girl Rainy Bush”. I choked on my damn low fat diet-whatever-bar I was eating. I said, “Seriously? You thought their names were Rainy Bush? Birdy Bush? Bear Bush? Bam Bush”? Of course my mind was in the gutter but she just looked at me wide eyed and said, “Yeah, I wondered why they called their island Browntown”. I wanted to tell her maybe they called it Browntown because that was the color of all of their teeth. She constantly feels sorry for their teeth (or lack thereof). She asked about sending them Crest White strips, I told her if they put them on their teeth and then pulled them off their teeth would likely come off with the strip. I must ad this show has brought me closer to my adolescent daughter. She laughs and says, “Mom you are mean”. I must ad another “funny” to this post, I also have an autistic child in my family whom is around often, he saw Birdie on the screen once, stopped and said with an alarmed look on his face, “Why does she have a shark tooth”? I paused the frame, and sure enough her tooth does resemble a shark tooth. Leave it to a child to notice that first off. Then he says sternly, “I don’t like sharks, I don’t like her”. I said, “Well, I don’t like any of them”. Fast as a whip he says, “You don’t like them on account of their hair or because of what their teeth do”? I said, “What do you mean “on account of their hair and what their teeth do”, explain that”? (Bear in mind he is a little autistic boy) He says, “Some of those hair looks like gramma’s clown wig and her scary witch wig for halloween and some of their teeth looks like sharks or like Captain Crunch”………….”Oh” I say. He walks away. I intend to have him over more often when ABP is on.

    This season I think the award should go to Ami for one of the dumbest comments ever made on ABP. When she recently said, “I am being treated like a common criminal”. #1 Ummmm, well isn’t she a common criminal? With multiple felonies awaiting her in her future perhaps? #2 They weren’t treating her like a “common criminal”, the Trooper merely invited her to a local restaurant to talk. I am sure meth dealers, drug lords and other criminals would like this red carpet treatment.

    I anxiously await more commentary Ryan, and enjoy your recaps so much.

    • Hee hee, your comment cracked me up! This is like when I had my cousins from Montana over and put ABP on in the background. When they left, they were like, “I hope you’re not expecting me to start watching that, Beth.” lol

  8. Dear Ryan, I am not a fan of the show, I’ve never seen the show, but I am addicted to your column. I’ve lived in rural SE Alaska for nearly forty years and I would have to say that if you took a vote of real Alaskan bush people I think you’d win honorary Alaskan way before anyone in Brownton Abbey.

    I didn’t get Internet until July of this year, so I have a lot of catching up to do on your recaps. I wanted you to know that your hilarious, spot on commentary has helped inspire my blog on what it’s really like growing up and living in the bush. I just posted our Coast Guard rescue adventure (www.alaskaforreal) and it was nothing at all like how you describe the Browns facing a supposed search and rescue situation.

    ABP sounds like crackling good “reality” television, but thank you for really keeping it real. Can’t wait to read all of these.

      • Thanks, Ray. My latest post on my blog ( has some bear action in it, also some frequently asked questions about bush living. Did you try the Spam spaghetti? I’ll do a salmon recipe soon.

        Still loving your APB articles!

  9. By the way, the bible does mention tattoos, so a cross tattoo is not exactly Kosher.

    New American Standard Bible
    ‘You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the LORD.

    King James Bible
    Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.

  10. Ryan: Thanks for the clarification. How correct you are in that there are so many who watch the show because it is so totally ridiculous. Reminds me of The Three Stooges and how insanely popular they were. The only difference is…..they were not flim flam men who preyed on the American public for their own personal gain. They truly were entertainers…….and actually, very nice human beings.

  11. Ryan: I’m a bit slow on the draw …….. especially in the middle of the night. I get your remark. You had some fun at my expense. Ironically, I haven’t watch the show in months……..but I have never missed a single one of YOUR recaps !

  12. Hey Ryan: as always, the recap was hilarious……saw the shout out but am not sure what it meant: (they must have counted Sherry twice)……please explain. Thanks.

    • I wanted to give you a shoutout, but it was clumsy. Sorry about that. I wanted to make a joke about how the people who only watch the show to make fun of it (like you and me) are the biggest portion of those 50 million people.

  13. Ryan this is so good I read your recap twice. smh Season Three-Gardening? Gnome Billy is inspired, I laughed out loud many times, thanks for that. The whole hater cult that surrounds this show is so much fun. Almost makes me want there to be a Season Three. NOT

  14. There is an article in the Alaskan dispatch dated 8/12/15
    about the fishing license fiasco.
    It says that when they all applied for there fishing license ‘ s in Oct of 2012 they hadn’t lived in Alaska long enough to qualify for a resident license. Billy had a residence in Colorado and Texas and didn’t move to Alaska till August of 2012.
    Kinda dumb to get in trouble for resident violations this close to there other hearings.

  15. Thanks for the giggles. That gnome billy was priceless. I have to be honest though. Trooper blurry face was the funniest thing ever. Ok i enjoy the show sometimes but if i hear grandbabies one more time i will scream. It seems to me that poor Birdy was the mother figure to that younger girl. Is she going to be in charge of the grandbabies also? Just sayin….

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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