In Discovery Channel’s Alaskan Bush People Season 4 finale “Back in Browntown” (July 15), the family finally returns to Browntown to reclaim the bush, but the Browns struggle with the principles that make them a Wolfpack.
— Alaskan Bush People (@AlaskanBushPPL) July 14, 2016
We have reached the Season 4 finale of Alaskan Bush People. Say it with me: WOOOOOO-FREAKIN’-HOOOOO!
Last week’s episode was bad, the worst I can remember. So how would they try to top that for the finale? Well, they put together an episode that wasn’t so much bad as it was pointless. More accurately, it was Bush Pointless.
The Browns are in Pelican delivering the fire-practice rescue dummies and some other junk. Gabe and Bear deliver Rescue Randy and his homemade counterpart Mandy, who is a crude hodgepodge of burlap, duct tape and plastic bags full of sand. “But it’s better than nothing,” says Gabe. I’m not really sure about that, Gabearino. I think the Pelican Fire Department would be better off without you burdening them with your garbage. As expected, Mandy completely falls apart while Bear is carrying her.
Bam, who missed house arrest so much that he spent most of last episode below deck crying in the fetal position, has resumed his spot as the Wolfpack’s alpha dog. With Matt in the Bush Betty Ford Clinic, there’s no one to challenge Bam’s shrewd reasoning with their sheer stupidity. Bam, Noah and Bear are going to deliver some tractor tires, which should be a quick, simple job that they’ll no doubt find some way to horribly botch. “Everybody just needs to move coherently, all together work as a team,” Bam says. Perhaps Bam means “move cohesively.” The Browns aren’t exactly wordsmiths. Remember the time Ami said bears “ravished” their house?
Tractor Lady is very smiley and happy to have new tractor tires and the opportunity to be on TV. She also wants to know if the boys can install the tires. Tractor Lady has never seen the show, or she’d know better than to let the Brown boys anywhere near her tractor. More likely, someone with some skill did everything and it was edited to look like the Browns did it. I was not aware of this, but tractor tires can be filled with liquid ballast to give the tires weight and to adjust the tractor’s center of gravity if needed. So I learned something. YAY! They need to get the tires off the rims, and Bam starts gutting a tire like a fish and all this brackish fluid comes spilling out. Noah protests, saying that slashing the tires Jason Voorhees-style is going to make them more difficult to get off the rims. “That’s the problem. When I talk, no one listens,” Noah says. “Sometimes it seems like if all my brothers just kind of listened to me more, then the world would be a much easier and better place.” Yes, he said that. At least half of Noah’s body weight is ego.
Noah knows a trick he saw on the internet about mounting tires on rims by spraying flammable stuff around the rim and then setting it on fire. The resulting explosion stretches out the tire and it snaps back seated on the rim. Since I didn’t see a don’t-try-this-at-home disclaimer on the show, tonight I am totally getting a case of Milwaukee’s Best, deflating all my tires and then just going nuts on them with a can of starter fluid and some leftover fireworks. Here’s how NOT to do it:
But the Browns finish the job without burning off all their facial hair, Tractor Lady gets nice new tires installed and we’re treated to some ‘splosions in the process. Everyone’s a winner! Except Noah. Screw that loser.
Elsewhere in Pelican, we get to see the Blessing of the Fleet ceremony, in which a priest blesses the boats and prays for protection “from the dangers of wind and rain and of the perils of the deep.” I realize here that for all the Browns’ talk about faith, this is the closest we’ve ever seen them to doing something faith-based. I’d suggest the Browns have the priest sprinkle the Integrity with holy water, but the boat would probably burst into flames.
Rainy is getting, like, all teen angsty and junk about Matt being away from the family. “My only constant in my entire life is y’all,” Rainy says. “And that constant thing is kind of thrown out of whack now. It makes me question my entire world.” Rainy should take comfort in the fact that she has four other brothers who are just as weird as Matt. Birdy and Rainy howl out over the bay, thinking maybe Matt will hear it through Bush Telepathy or something. I bet they do it because they know how much I hate it. Do I hear Rainy’s Apple Watch beeping? Must be an iMessage from Matt.
Haven’t we had enough Noah already? We got rid of Matt (that’s good) but now they’re filling Matt’s screen time with more Noah (that’s bad). We get to see Noah and Gabe visiting a dump. (I’m convinced 70 percent of Alaska is dumps and junkyards.) Noah finds a scrapped phone booth, and is thrilled with the possibilities. “It’s extremely cool that I found a phone booth in Pelican. There’s no telling what I can do with this thing,” Noah says. I have a few ideas. Perhaps a dressing room for Bush Superman? A Bush TARDIS? Maybe a fun game in which they try to cram the whole family into it? Noah gets inside the phone booth and Gabe starts rocking it. Noah comes out huffing, “Glass and aluminum!” Gabe responds with, “Galuminum?” then gets slapped upside the head. This is where I pause the DVR, sit back and daydream that Gabe dislocates both of Noah’s shoulders. Ahh. That was nice. Noah doesn’t mind the ridicule, because “it means that they put their foot further into their mouth when I show them how it works.” We’re given a dull extended scene of the kids loading the phone booth onto the boat. Bear decides it’s a good idea to stand on the phone booth, and Noah chastises him. “Keep whatever EXXXXTREMEness you have away from it!”
After an uneventful journey, the Integrity returns to Chicago Bears Island. “The Browns are back in Browntown. And the Browns are here to stay. It’s just that simple,” Billy says. Now pack your stuff, kids! The Browns are going to Hawaii!
Bears are all over the place again, but “cutting off all access to their home” by literally sawing off the stairs managed to keep ursine invaders out of the house. Let’s hope that a bear used the zipline and is upstairs asleep in Billy’s bed like a Bizarro Goldilocks. Gabe, Bear and Bam reinstall the stairs, and Gabe doesn’t want to do it with the same pride in workmanship he displayed while chainsawing them off. “We’re not going to just prop it up there and hope it stays. We’re not cartoons,” says Bam Bam, the guy named after a Flintstones character. After securing the stairs with nails, Bear and Gabe test them by jumping on them, damn near breaking them in the process. But it’s all good. Whatever. Let’s go play with our bucking barrel!
I can only handle one Rainy/Birdy scene per episode, but they’re going to force another one on us. In this week’s Eating Weeds With Rainy & Birdy, they’re out scouting for bears and munching on some chocolate lily plants, which do not taste as good as their name implies. “Yeah, I feel like I’m just eating dirt,” Rainy says.
Because the scene about loading the phone booth onto the Integrity wasn’t dull enough, we now get to watch them unload the phone booth. The scene is saved by Cupcake, who goes EXXXXTREME and doggy paddles from the shore out to the Integrity. Now why can’t they give us more Cupcake and less Noah?
What grand plan does Noah have for the phone booth? He wants to turn it into a power station for all of Brownton Abbey. He installs a circuit breaker box in it where he can control the distribution of electricity, especially “because I run a lot more electricity, and sometimes my experiments get, uh, out of hand.” Noah is making a bold move here by consolidating the electrical power. He already controls the water supply with his Bush Plumbing. He could impose his will on the rest of the family by rationing or cutting off their utilities. Fortunately for them, the family doesn’t live there and Noah’s stuff doesn’t work.
The family is ready to do “the last major project of the summer,” even though this scene takes place in mid May. Gabe’s biohazard shack is still sitting out there getting exposed to the ebb and flow of the tides, and Billy wants to reel it in so Gabe can start pretending to live in it. We’re told that the shack weighs nearly 7 tons. A few episodes ago, the shack weighed 7,000 pounds. This shack DOUBLED IN MASS? So that’s where Noah has been storing his excess sense of self-importance.
The shack-moving scene is terribly boring. After realizing they can’t manually pull the shack, they decide to hook a rope and pulley up to the Integrity and use it to drag the shack across the beach. We don’t get to see the full setup because the shack is probably being towed by an offscreen truck or ATV. Their plan works, and Billy praises his boat, “The old girl’s pulling. She’s tough!” And then the engine grinds to a stop. DADGUMIT! Sigh. The inevitable Boat Malfunction. Then the boat starts drifting near a reef, and the Boat Malfunction gets parlayed with Fake Urgency. Billy discovers that a wingnut on the battery is loose. I think there are nine loose wingnuts on this show. HEY-YO! “Ninety-nine percent of the time, it’s just something small,” Billy says. And 100 percent of the time, it’s complete bullshit. I miss the days when Billy really wrecked his boats. The Integrity fires back up and almost pulls the shack into the trees. But Gabe says the spot is perfect, because Gabe has clearly stopped caring about things.
Flash forward to a month later, and it’s time for Matt to come back to Brownton Abbey clean and sober. “I miss his harebrained ideas he comes up with that are really cool in the long run,” Ami says.
Bam went to pick up Matt from the ferry stop in Hoonah, but Bam comes back without his passenger. Hey, what gives, B? “He just didn’t get off the ferry when he was supposed to,” Bam tells his dumbfounded and disappointed parents. Matt left no message or note with the harbormaster. They should probably just check their iPhones.
Now we get the usual season-ending spiel from Billy about how their faith and family togetherness helped them overcome all these fake obstacles. “We basically faced life and death, confinement,” he says. “We faced all of these things and triumphed,” though their only real triumph was a 0.7 rating in the 18-49 demo. And the season ends thusly:
Enjoy your counseling, Matt!
The Browns’ behind-the-scenes drama continues to be far more compelling than anything on their TV show, so as a public service, here are the latest Bush Days of Our Lives developments:
MeMaw’s Trip to Alaska was a circus. Ami’s brother, Les Branson, revealed himself to be untrustworthy to members of a closed Facebook group that previously supported him, and Les got booted from the group. Less Les is more, I guess. (Disclosure: I’m also a card-carrying member of that group.)
But Les is selling his snake oil to other rubes on Facebook, and there are reports that the Browns went to Texas, and were apparently only 30 miles from where MeMaw lives. Was there a reunion? And will any of this MeMaw stuff or their trip to Hawaii ever be shown on a future episode of ABP?
Finally, the Les Branson Facebook Fiasco did yield an interesting tidbit from the formerly secret Alaskan Bush People VIP group of which Les and Twila were both members. Kenny from the Junkyard is on Facebook!
Thanks to you guys for powering through another season with me!