In the special Alaskan Bush People episode “Made in the Wild” (July 29), the crew spends countless hours bringing bush life to the Lower 48 states. The luck of the Browns influences what airs on the show.
So the season finale of Alaskan Bush People was two weeks ago, but Discovery Channel dumped two new Lost Footage episodes on us, because apparently EVERYTHING about this show has to be deceptive. I don’t know what I did to enrage the Good Lord, but He’d better put an end to this season before I lose my few remaining marbles.
So how did ABP swindle us out of our precious time this week? With one of those “making of” episodes that shows the camera crew in action, so long as that action reinforces the show’s pretense. These episodes are incredibly pointless, because they’re full of stuff we’ve seen dozens of times already or stuff that is so dull it was deemed unfit to air in a series that is generally unfit to air to begin with. We’re not only scraping the bottom of the barrel here, we’re scraping the dirt underneath the barrel.
The episode opens up with Bear using tree sap as a fire starter. Using Drew Barrymore as a fire starter is also an option, but her availability is limited in the Alaskan Bush. A little Googling tells us that the heartwood of conifers contains terpene, a volatile substance that is used to make turpentine and also pine tar (which is also volatile, as George Brett can attest). Bear starts a fire and declares it to be “an EXXXXTREMELY AWESOME success.” This kid throws around AWESOME and EXXXXTREME so much now that the words have lost all meaning. You just can’t go around saying things are “EXXXXTREME” when they are merely adequate. If everything is EXXXXTREME, then nothing is. If everything is AWESOME, then nothing is.
“The Discovery crew films thousands of hours of footage over the course of a year. So much, that not everything makes it to air,” says Our Dear Narrator. Thank the Good Lord. Could you imagine watching thousands of hours of this crap? A thousand hours equals 41.67 days. I want to be struck blind after watching one hour a week for eight weeks. “Now, for the first time, new interviews from the family reveal new insights to never-before-seen Lost Footage from the past season and the challenges everyone has living wild,” continues Our Dear Narrator. I like to imagine that Asa, Our Dear Narrator, has never actually seen an episode of ABP and he just comes into a studio for an hour, reads what’s written down, then goes home to sip cognac and listen to Bach.
It’s hard being a crew member on this show. You need to be in top physical and mental shape to keep pace with the show’s rapid-fire bullshit. And then you have the family’s incompetence putting your life at risk at every turn. And then you’ve got Billy telling his family to bum-rush you, like when they were preparing for that fake storm. “Cameramen and all these people get in your way, knock ’em down out of your way! This does not matter about them right now!” It would be rude as hell if it weren’t in the script.
And then you’ve got to run around filming King Solomon the EXXXXTREME everywhere as he slathers himself in mud and does somersaults for reasons unknown. “A lot of the time y’all don’t even see half of the EXXXXTREME things I do. You only see the EXXXXTREME things I do that are caught on camera,” says Bear. I like to imagine what Bear will be like when he’s 85 years old. Will he still be EXXXXTREME just because that tattoo on his back, now wrinkly and sagging, identifies him as such? Will he have EXXXXTREME arthritis? Will he have EXXXXTREME hearing loss or EXXXXTREME loss of bladder control? With our luck, this show will still be on the air 60 years from now.
Of the thousands of hours of footage captured, there are only 700 hours of Noah being a narcissistic ass-munch. Take, for example, the construction of the barge that kept the Suzuki Samurai afloat. In some Lost Footage, Noah, Bam and Bear are discussing plans for the barge. Bear just wants to put the Samurai in the water, step on the gas and see what happens. “Once you come back from La La Land, would you grab me a popsicle?” Noah asks. Noah’s brothers are just as confused by this as I am. I am confused by Noah’s choice of attire for this project. He looks like an early prototype of Slash that Guns N’ Roses rejected.
Noah says that the barge must extend 3 feet beyond the Suzuki on all sides or it will flip. Bam is unsure that they’ll have enough empty barrels to accomplish that. “If we’re not able to get the full amount and it flips, then I do not take responsibility for the outcome,” Noah says. “I can only tell you what happens when a nuke goes off. It’s up to you to push the button or not.” Noah should just really give up on the nuke analogies. Our Dear Narrator says that the barge took a whole week to finish. Pfffft. I’m pretty sure three competent guys put it together in less than two hours.
In another scene of captivating drama, Rainy says she could beat her brothers (the strong ones, not doughy Noah) in a push-up contest. Bam gets down and gives a good number of push-ups. Then Rainy gets in there, and she starts doing something barely recognizable as a push-up. Maybe just stick to acting like a badass, Rainy.
Finally, we get some Kenny! Now, we all know that Kenny is really dead, killed by Matt and buried in the root cellar. Somehow, Discovery cameras are able to capture the spirit of Kenny, which often manifests itself as one of Matt’s drunken hallucinations. In this Lost Footage, Bear has come to the dump to look for a door for his treehouse. Kenny shows Bear the inventory, including what Kenny says are “lots of shot-up” car doors.
Bear finds an adequate red door. “It kind of just says ‘EXXXXTREME.’ I mean red’s the color of fire. It’s the color of blood.” Ah, yes. Excellent choice, sir. Shall I have it giftwrapped for you?
Our Dear Narrator says Gabe’s biohazard cabin took 20 days to move, resulting in hundreds of hours of footage. Twenty days? Hundreds of hours? I’m pretty sure I could move that thing by myself in less than 20 days. There’s something mystical about that cabin. It’s able to double its mass and alter the spac-time continuum. Bear is very pleased with how they all came together on the project, and he starts handing out EXXXXTREME Points to everyone like he’s Bush Oprah. “EXXXXTREME Points for you. EXXXXTREME Points for you. EXXXXTREME Points for you.” EXXXXTREME Points were mentioned briefly in a previous episode, but now we get some rules governing how they are administered. You see, if you’re just strolling around the woods enjoying the scenery, that awards you zero EXXXXTREME Points. However, if you run around the woods like an orangutan on PCP, you get 5 EXXXXTREME Points. EXXXXTREME Points can be redeemed for fabulous prizes at the counter up front. One thousand EXXXXTREME Points get you a fake mustache or a rubber snake.
The crew has captured thousands of hours of Billy getting sick or injured to get out of work, like when he injured his knee while walking through the woods with Ami (that’s zero EXXXXTREME Points). “Every time I’ve been hurt, it’s something stupid,” Billy says. “Every cotton picking time.” Can’t argue with that. Every time he gets hurt, it is something stupid. It was revealed Billy once tore his Achilles tendon while stepping off of a bulldozer. Now THAT injury is easily worth 5 EXXXXTREME Points.
Remember when Noah was trying to make hydrogen? Of course you do! In some Lost Footage, we see Noah futzing around with with batteries and wires and acids and SHE’S GONNA BLOW!!! OK, not this time. But never underestimate the persistence in which Noah tries to maim or disfigure himself. “You can never succeed at something unless you’ve failed about a billion times,” he says. Even the crew feared for their safety, though that was probably fake fear. “Brown Luck’s kind of like a magnet. If you stay around it long enough, you absorb some of the magnetism,” Noah says.
We get a little glimpse of Gabe at the dentist getting his braces, and Gabe’s offer to barter fish for orthodontia. The dentist laughs, saying that it would require a truckload of salmon. Dude, don’t joke about that. The Brown family would actually try to do it, and then you’d be stuck with like 10,000 dead fish at your office. You do not want to get Bear started on that project. He’s got a hunchin’ for some punchin’!
Earlier this season, we got to visit Excursion Inlet to meet Bruce, Wearer of the Green Pants, Provider of Frozen Pizza, Defender of the Salmon Cannery. Bruce is an interesting guy, and it’s really a shame the ABP producers dismissed most of Bruce’s stuff to the Lost Footage pile. I’d rather watch Bruce than see yet another stupid Boat Malfunction. Bruce could easily be on Doomsday Preppers, though his stockpiling goods is more out of necessity than some paranoia. Bruce has a whole freezer for pizza, though I see that one of the boxes inside reads “Bar-S Thick Sliced Bologna.” Bruce also has a massive stockpile of dry goods such as rice, flour and pinto beans, all in boxes that appear to be dated 1991. Bruce is really pushing the shelf life of a lot of that stuff. “If there’s an apocalypse, with what we have and what’s available locally, we could basically live here until we die,” Bruce says. Indeed, Bruce. You will basically live until you die. That is how it works. I’m just disappointed we didn’t get to see Bruce’s enormous stash of green pants.
In Hoonah, we find Kenny and Matt delivering a freshly caught octopus to some dude named Rayno. “She’s a little sticky,” says Kenny, as they hand the plastic-bagged cephalopod over to Rayno, who plans on using it for halibut fishing bait or throwing it on the ice at a Detroit Red Wings game. Rayno has Matt and Kenny slice up the octopus, making sure they get the ink sac out of the equation. Matt holds up the ink sac, which is squishy and looks like a black breast implant. That ink sac would make an excellent whoopee cushion. [DIGRESSION! The plural of “octopus” will always be “octopii.” Screw this “octopuses” nonsense. The plural of the James Bond film Octopussy is a discussion for another time.]
In loving memory. Goodnight, sweet prince.
We get to see some Lost Footage of Billy and Coach Wolff, who had the Browns haul away his gross gym mats a while back, go panning for gold. Watching people pan for gold is terrible, but it does give me an excuse to run this pic again:
In Pelican, we see Ami meeting up with a lady, Vicki, who has a special relationship with the local ravens. I think Vicki may have died a few weeks ago, but no one’s told her yet.
Vicki puts out what appear to be Cheese Balls snacks, and the ravens come right up to her to eat them. Now I have a craving for Cheese Balls, and I want to devour a 2-pound jar of them in one sitting. Pray for me.
Of course, there was plenty of Lost Footage from the Browns’ trip down the West Coast. When the Browns’ RV broke down one rainy night in Oregon, everything went just as scripted. What didn’t go as scripted was the production crew getting locked out of their truck.
The Browns stop in Ashland, Ore., where there are public drinking fountains spewing Natural Lithia Water, believed by some to have health benefits. Or it could contain toxins, but whatever. So why would anyone drink this noxious-smelling, foul-tasting, possibly toxic water? Because it’s FREE! And it’s fun to make people do it on a dare. Gabe says that it smells like “muskeg,” which is what we in the Lower 48 call a “bog.”
Elsewhere in Ashlandia, Bear is out “bird-doggin'” but mistakes some dude for a beautiful woman. Bear does end up talking to two ladies, but he doesn’t employ his filibuster strategy and lets the ladies walk away. BTW, how many 1980s leather jackets does Bear own? He started out this season with his new red leather Michael Jackson jacket, but now it looks like he stole a different jacket from that gang leader in “Beat It.” Have a look-see:
OK, stay with me. We’re in the home stretch of this thing. One of Billy’s old Bush Buddies, Randy Mac, is in Hoonah, and the Browns haven’t seen him in 15 years. Randy Mac can remember when Noah was just a young lad, so full of promise and not yet so full of himself. Randy drives this bizarre truck that has dozens of various electrical thingies on it. I do not know what Randy’s doing with this vehicle nor do I care to know. “I actually got arrested in it in New York City for looking like a terrorist,” Randy says. Ah, so that’s where Randy’s been for 15 years: in Guantanamo Bay.
Randy and Billy’s other buddy Trapper come to visit Brownton Abbey. Randy comes bearing gifts, some smooth-polished jasper and marble that he picked up from the Browns’ old property in Haines. Ami is just tickled. “I have a passion for rocks,” Ami says. Of course she does. After all, she married Billy.
And so ends this episode. Well, sort of. There’s one thing left, and I’ll let Bam say it: