In Discovery Channel’s Alaskan Bush People Season 4, Episode 2 “Driving Miss Rainy” (May 13), Noah stays behind to continue repairs to Browntown; the rest of the wolf pack embark on their riskiest haul yet with the aim of securing the skiff they need.
Future generations will study the horribly titled “Driving Miss Rainy” episode as an example of Alaskan Bush People at the peak of its shittiness. It contains every phony ABP trope, cliche and gimmick that’s been played out in various forms over the past three seasons.
On the Integrity, Matt decides he wants to get a little shut-eye, so he makes a hammock out of some rope and a blanket. “Wake me if anything happens,” he says, expressing the thoughts of everyone watching this show.
The Browns are doing another job that Haulin’ Paul Weltzin handed to them out of pity. In return for transporting his buddy’s Suzuki Samurai across Icy Strait, Paul will loan the Browns a spiffy new skiff for the season. They’re going to Groundhog Bay (not to be confused with the very bad February holiday or the very good Bill Murray movie) to pick up the Samurai for transport.
At the dock, Bam discovers that they’re going to need a new tow rope, which is something they should’ve thought of BEFORE they left. Gabe finds a rope, but it’s frozen. And here I thought “frozen rope” was just baseball slang. Gabe pours sea water over the rope to thaw it, averting a rope catastrophe. Gabe’s online tech school course in Rope Science just paid for itself.
Rainy’s in the Integrity‘s cabin complaining to her mom about how she’s tired of sitting around being the prettier sister. She wants to do some real work and not be a lazy slouch like her father.
Bear invasions have left Brownton Abbey with only 12 functioning arm-band radios, so Noah stayed at home to try and get things back in working order. He’s also staying behind to creep the bejesus out of visiting San Diego-area waitress, short-film actress and 2012 Miss California hopeful Karryna. Noah’s first order of business is to repair a hatchet by ruining a perfectly good monkey wrench in the process. “The hatchet broke. A bear probably stepped on it,” Noah says. Um, suuuure. My childhood would’ve been so much easier if I could’ve just blamed stuff on bears. Noah welds the hatchet blade onto a monkey wrench and turns it into a “monkey ax.” “I shall call it Damascus!” Noah says while proudly posing with his implement.
It’s a hefty tool, with the added weight of the wrench making it too unwieldy as a hatchet and too small for an ax. “All legendary weapons, it’s theorized that they’re made from Damascus steel, and like Excalibur, no one can move that ax,” Noah declares as he pulls the blade out of a tree stump. “Almost no one.” Douchebag.
In Groundhog Bay, the Browns meet up with clients Todd and Natalie. Todd needs the Suzuki Samurai shipped to Hoonah, but all the other haulers are busy and he’s desperate, which are the only logical reasons to do business with the Browns. “It kind of trickled down to us,” Billy says to Todd, instilling the client with zero confidence. Billy might as well make his marketing slogan be “Brown Family Hauling: For When You’re Desperate And Have No Other Option™.” I bet Todd is totally going to punch Paul the next time he sees him. Why Todd even needs this vehicle delivered to Hoonah is one of the great mysteries of our time. It hasn’t run in three years, and suddenly he needs it for his “business” in Hoonah.
Back on the Integrity, Ami starts having a flare-up of Ami Brown Syndrome. Her shoulder and neck start hurting, and Gabe urgently runs off to get Billy as though Ami were having a cardiac arrest. Billy comes in, assesses Ami, and says, “I’m off the job.” There’s no way Billy can work now. Someone has to sit and tell Ami to remain motionless.
Bear is eager to impress Natalie with his lumber-carrying technique and red leather jacket. I couldn’t decide if Bear’s jacket was more “Beat It” or “Thriller,” so I Photoshopped both and will let the people decide:
Noah wants to impress Karryna with his old-timey black-powder pistol and his skill at forging ammunition. We find Noah melting lead to make musket balls. I know very little about metallurgy, but I think everyone knows that lead is toxic and can cause brain and neurological problems, especially in children. (This explains a lot about Noah, actually.) So is Noah actually using lead or some kind of safer tungsten-alloy alternative? These are the questions that keep me up at night! “On a first date, you should make an impression that is something that will never be forgotten,” Noah says. “As long as she remembers that, from now on, when she sees a black powder gun, she’ll think of me.” Oh, I think Karryna will remember you anyway, Noah.
At Groundhog Bay, the Browns are ready to get the Samurai on the barge for its voyage to the bottom of Icy Strait. Todd probably wants to dispose of the Samurai, and making it the Browns’ responsibility seems like the easiest way to do it. Rainy is given the important task of “driving” the Samurai onto the barge, because you always want to put 13-year-olds behind the wheel of your client’s car. “Do the windows roll up? I don’t want my hair to get whiplash,” Rainy whines. My eyes definitely roll up.
Loading and towing the barge goes rather smoothly, but the progress is slow and Billy’s all Nervous Nelly about getting back to Hoonah before dark. “And you know darn well if we put that thing in the ocean, the Coast Guard’s going to be all over us,” Billy tells Bam. The only government agency the Browns haven’t pissed off yet is the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.
Karryna arrives at Brownton Abbey ferried by Some Guy With a Skiff. She’s easy on the eyes, even though she’s bundled up for the bush. Here’s what she looks like in her native climate taking selfies in restroom mirrors:
Noah shows her around Brownton Abbey, and then he takes her to his place, the former chicken coop. (But it’s not too bad. It’s just the feces there.) Then Noah goes over to the keyboard he found in a dump and plays Karryna an original song. “It’s one of my songs that has the most soul in it,” Noah says. Oh, so now he’s the Al Green of the Bush? As you’d expect, the lyrics — which I assume I can’t reproduce here without ASCAP getting all over my ass about paying Noah songwriter’s royalties — are terrible. They involve imperfect rhymes and broken hearts repaired by glue and some tape. It is the exact opposite of this:
Like every other girl who signs up for the ABP date gig, Karryna is polite, says the Browns and their way of life are “interesting,” gives a few uncomfortable glances and then gets the hell out of there once her contractual obligations are fulfilled. “It was quite a risk for her to come here,” Noah tells us. Noah calls this “date” an “experiment,” though luckily for Karryna, this date did not involve jars of formaldehyde.
Still fancying himself a fancy lad, Noah gives Karryna a gift of some seeds, telling her “Anywhere that you plant these, there’s a piece of Browntown there, and it will grow into a magnificent tree.” I’m no botanist, but I know that Browntown Trees are an invasive species and should be eradicated. “I don’t know if it will survive in your environment down there,” Noah says. “It’s a little bit like me, I guess.” And that will be all we need from you today, Noah.
Does the Hoonah harbormaster soil himself every time he sees the Integrity coming? The Browns are so close to having this job done, but then Matt and Bam argue about some nonsense. Bam shoots down Matt’s stupid idea, and Matt overreacts again because he is a delicate little tulip. Go back to sleep in your hammock, jackass.
They’re able to get the Samurai off the barge just fine, but the vehicle gets stuck at the bottom of the ramp. Bear goes up to street level to seek some help, and lo and behold, someone drives up in a pickup truck all eager to assist. It’s not entirely clear, but it looks like it might be Hoonah mayor Kenny Skaflestad with his ol’ smellhound riding shotgun. (I heard there’s an entire legion of Skaflestads in Hoonah, and maybe they all look like Mayor Kenny.) Nonetheless, the Browns get the Samurai towed up the ramp and the job is done. Bear leaves a note on the windshield for Natalie that looks like it was scrawled by a 6-year-old.
Back in Brownton Abbey, the Browns gather around the fire to spin yarns about their sea adventures and Noah’s epically bad date. They’re also really happy about their new loaner skiff. “That thing is awesome. It’s nothing like our old skiff,” Bam says. My ears are burning.
After disrespecting The Skiff, the Browns suddenly get sentimental about it. They decide to hold a funeral service for it. I should be touched by this, but I’m consumed with blind rage. Noah plays a little dirge on his flute until Billy cuts him off. A few words are spoken, and then Noah shoots a flaming arrow into a bale of hay inside The Skiff. Any solemnity or reverence intended in this half-assed Viking funeral ceremony is undone because the Browns are idiots and The Skiff is aluminum and will not burn.
“Burn well,” Matt says to The Skiff as the family walks away. HA! HA! YOU GO BURN WELL IN HELL, MATT!!
Next week, Matt further desecrates The Skiff by turning it into another bush hot tub. Noah tries to electrify moss. And some crazy guy with more assault rifles than teeth is going to defend his turf against outsiders. I hope Noah packed his black-powder pistols.