Discovery Channel Alaskan Bush People Recap: “A Browntown Christmas”

A Browntown Christmas Discovery

See how the Brown family celebrates Christmas traditions both old and new in the special Alaskan Bush People episode “A Browntown Christmas.” In years past, Christmas was a time to reconnect with extended family, but this holiday they’re staying in Browntown and bringing old traditions into their new home, as they build and acquire food and materials that they need for the perfect holiday.

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Somewhere deep in the Alaskan wilderness, there lives a family cut off from mainstream America. A family so detached from civilization, they celebrate Christmas in late October, have it filmed by a TV crew, then get the footage edited in time for a mid-December premiere on Discovery Channel. These are the Alaskan Bush People, and this is the holiday we will call … Bushmas!

The Brown kids go hunting for the perfect Bushmas tree. Noah selects the tree, and Bear cuts it down with a handsaw. If Bear were truly filled with the spirit of Bushmas, he’d gnaw through that tree’s trunk instead. Zero EXXXXTREME Bushmas Points! Noah recalls one year the Browns didn’t actually have a tree, but they hung their stockings under a painting of a Bushmas tree. Bam has no memory of this. Bam has no time for you, Noah. Be gone!

Another Brown family Bushmas tradition is the Great Buzzkill, in which Billy reminds us of this from 48 years ago:

Yes, yes, we know how awful that was. There’s no denying that. “What I remember the most is my mom and dad were slow dancing to a Dean Martin song,” Billy recalls of the last Christmas with his parents and sister. “The next Christmas I spent alone in a parking lot and I was living in the backseat of my car.” Yes, Billy, you have our sympathy. Who should I write the check out to?

[DIGRESSION! In the George Dolan column on the front page, there’s a sentence that reads, “There’s no money and we’re out of mayonnaise.” I plan on using this. It could be the new “These pretzels are making me thirsty.”]

Billy just wants to make sure his wife, Ami, spends this Bushmas crying as much as possible. “I spent almost 40 years with her trying to give her a Rockwell Christmas, where we had our own house, our own everything, a real tree, just the whole bit, you know,” Billy says. Indeed, there’s nothing quite like a Rockwell Christmas.

“I want a big-time, real Christmas this year,” Billy says. Oh, please. As if anything on this show is real.

The Browns are dragging some old kith and kin from Texas up to Alaska to be on TV and celebrate Bushmas. We meet Cousin Billy, Cousin Dian and Cousin Cody. Bill and Margaret Fuller, who visited Brownton Abbey for all of 10 minutes last year in the episode “The Ballad of Billy Brown,” are back again to marvel at all the wonders of Brownton Abbey. Billy gives everyone the tour of the Alaskan Bush People set, including Matt’s stupid tire hut, the outhouse where most of them poop and that tent where Noah does disturbing, unspeakable stuff. Cousin Cody finds all of this fascinating, and he’d like to read the brochure.

Behold! Matt returns!

We know from last season that Matt went to rehab for alcohol abuse, though this episode doesn’t actually say where or why Matt was gone. Maybe the producers are still trying to figure that out.

No Bushmas is complete without the exchange of crappy gifts. “Bush Santa does give Bush-ish gifts like the stuff like him and Mrs. Claus like carved-hand themselves and all. And I always thought those hand-carved stuff was a lot better than, like, the plastic robot toys,” Bear semi-coherently explains. Bear is carving a long knife handle out of wood for Matt. Since it’s totally impractical, it might as well be decorative. Bear uses black powder to burn a bunch of Xs into the handle. Sure, everyone loves Xs! It will be a nice surprise, because Matt would never expect Xs! EXXXXTREME!

Meanwhile, Matt has some terrible gift ideas of his own. Remember those big water tanks littering the shores of Brownton Abbey? Matt’s going to render one of them permanently useless by bashing it with a rock.

When the rock plan fails, Matt goes for a rusty metal pole thing. “Sometimes you just need something that you can beat the crud out of something with,” Matt says, pounding away at the tank frame with gusto. Then Matt gets out the saw and starts hacking at the plastic tank until he’s cut out a sled to give to Bear. “There will definitely be EXXXXTREME Points going off in his head. Ding! Ding! Ding!”

The sled would be a nice gift if Brownton Abbey were ever covered in anything more than a light dusting of snow. Maybe the Browns brought the sled along with them when they hit the slopes of Vail, Colo.

It is a Bushmas tradition for the Browns to go on a duck hunt, so I guess we’re going to have to sit through some of that now.

[DIGRESSION! I got a Nintendo Entertainment System for Christmas around 1987. Those of a certain age know that the NES came with a Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt combo cartridge and the NES Zapper light gun. I had a terrible habit of snooping for presents, because the wait for Christmas is interminable when you’re 12 years old. I found the stash of gifts in the basement crawl space. One mid-December night when my parents were out of town, my sister and I took the NES out of its hiding spot, brought it upstairs, opened the box, hooked everything up to the TV, played Duck Hunt for an hour or two, disconnected everything, repackaged the console and accessories, and returned it to the crawl space. My folks were none the wiser until years later when my sister ratted me out. My mom could only shake her head in disgust.]

It’s Bear and Birdy’s job to burn up lots of screen time with this duck hunt, a Bushmas tradition dating back before the year in which Bear wore nothing but a loincloth (not to be confused with the year in which Bear wore nothing but a tuxedo). Bear and Birdy take the Rental Skiff out to blast away at some waterfowl, and of course they have to do this before the tide comes in because they don’t have enough rope and FAKE URGENCY! “We stalk up as slowly and as stalkily as we possibly can,” says Bear, inventing the word “stalkily.” But all the stalkiliness is for naught as the pair just open fire aimlessly at ducks, hitting none.

Eventually, Bear shoots down and punches a small duck that wouldn’t be enough to feed Rainy, let alone the Browns and their guests. Time is running out and the tide is rising. They shoot two more ducks that we don’t get to see onscreen — it’s a Bushmas Miracle! — and head back to the Rental Skiff. The success of the hunt was never in doubt for Bear, because “One, I never miss. And two, I’m the best.” And three, he won the Hoonah Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest for the second straight year!

Just to draw this subplot out a little longer with Unnecessary Drama, Bear and Birdy return to find the Rental Skiff floating on the high tide. Birdy wades out into the shoulder-deep water to find the rope. She finds it, and then there’s nothing more to see here. Please disperse.

Good Lord. This has already been the most tedious and tiresome Bushmas ever, and we’ve still got about 20 minutes left in this episode. Matt and Rainy kill more screen time by looking for spent gun shell casings to turn into Bushmas ornaments. “The Bush really brings Christmas out in people,” Matt says.

Another honored Bushmas tradition is shooting guns at stuff, so the Browns give their guests some firearms and let them squeeze off a few rounds at the targets. Cousin Billy is a Crazy Rich Texan with plenty of money to piss away. He puts a $100 bill on a target and he’ll award the C-note to the first person who’s able to hit it. Cody wins the cash. The contest was RIGGED! This goes all the way up to Putin!

I’m intrigued by Cousin Cody. Bear seems to take a shine to him, too, and Bear starts talking with some of the lines he usually reserves for the ladies. Bear shows Cody the treehouse and he shows him how to use sap to start a fire. “You ever do any howling or anything?” Bear asks Cody. I fast-forwarded through the next 30 seconds, because like hell I’m going to listen to howling. Cousin Cody is smitten by the seductive promises of the fabulous Bush facade. “If I didn’t love my job, I’d be out here with y’all,” he says. Cody’s probably better off staying in his current position as a servant of Lord Sauron.

Back in the house, Ami is slicing vegetables. (She’s not crying! It’s just the onions!) Ami and Diane spin yarns about the legend of Billy’s grandfather, Brownie Brown, who was once Sheriff of Borger, Texas. Brownie Brown’s claim to fame is supposedly refusing the chance to take out Bonnie and Clyde because he “didn’t believe in ambushes.” I’d love to tell people about all the crap I could’ve done but didn’t. I guess the Browns’ bullshit roots run deep.

That, mercifully, brings us to the end of this episode, as the Browns and their guests cram themselves on one side of the table and look at the food in front of them. Noah stares blankly at the floor, dreaming of all the things he’ll one day tell people he could’ve done but didn’t.

Billy closes out the episode as he usually does, pontificating about how his Bush ideals made his vision of a Bush Utopia a reality on a reality TV show. “My blood is half tree sap and half saltwater,” he tells his guests. Then Billy and the family board the first plane out of Alaska to spend real Christmas at the luxurious ski resorts of Vail and Aspen.

There’s no money and we’re out of mayonnaise.

41 Comments

  1. Am tuning in for this week’s ABP but, as usual, am more psyched about Ryan’s recap than I am to actually view the episode.

  2. I, too, was a Christmas present “peeker” One year, in all my smartness, I proceeded to my Mom’s bedroom closet and proceeded to write a Santa letter with everything and only things in the closet. Payback: everything ft taken back to Toys R Us and I ended up with a long t of socks, underwear and school supplies instead. It cured my peeking issue tho.

  3. Just so you know Cody is my husband, and the shot was real. He is a gunsmith and also a professional in the medical field for 26 years. Bill from Texas is his uncle. We are from Arkansas. And by the way we love the Saruman comment, we also noticed this a couple of years ago. It’s on his instagram and facebook, lol. Remember that even as you sit and bicker about what you think the Browns are, they are real, and kind, and they are a strong loving family. And they’re my family.

  4. I watched once upon a time a few years back. Has it really been that long? But it rubbed me raw from the start. I too have homesteaded, not in Alaska, but at 3200 hundred feet and there were definitely challenges and CHORES! Can you say a Real garden and canning and root cellaring and cords and cords of firewood? but I found this blog and quit watching early. I have enjoyed Ryans re-caps and Davids and other regulars, so here we go for another fun filled humor ride! Yee Haw! This is where the real entertainment is!

  5. Lordy, Lordy, Lordy…These people never seem to speak without pissing me off! Yet…I still tune in to watch these incompetents spew whatever “logic” they think will keep endearing them to their “followers”. Ryan, you are the REAL reason I watch these idiots! If not for your recaps, I couldn’t justify suffering through an hour of barely intelligible babble. Your recap, once again, was far better than the show. You can be sure I’ll be sharpening my talons for the upcoming season!

    • I use to feel that way CT about watching the show so I could read the recaps. It finally got so bad that I felt I needed to re-evaluate my life. Seriously, I had to look at why I was watching a show that was aimed at kindergartners and people in mental institutions, constantly repeated the same tired story lines over and over and over again, was not even remotely true in ant sense of the word but is a completely fabricated lie based solely to insult your intelligence. Of course they are criminals to put a big fat cherry on top of the poop sundae. I quickly changed my tune and thoroughly enjoy Ryan’s recaps and swapping a few posts with people without having to waste any precious time on what IMO is the worst show in television history.
      I haven’t seen an episode in forever it seems. I honestly feel as up to date as somebody who watches every episode the night it comes on. What have I missed… dragging a few supposedly long lost family members up to the set for a day of filming and some TV money? A new cow? Another fake hunting excursion? Matt or Noah try to fake build something at the directors orders? Seriously, what exactly is going to happen that is going to be even remotely new or interesting?
      I am completely convinced that this is a social experiment to see if you can put people on TV that get convicted of crimes, have a show that is openly known to be a big fat lie and have storylines and dialogue that have no depths to their stupidity and see if people will STILL tune in. Apparently Discovery and Park Slope Productions are the smart ones and I am the dumb one as they are making millions and I have to work everyday because right at 2 million people STILL tune in.
      Whew! Other than that, great TV program and hopefully enjoyable to all.

      • Very true. Reading Ryan’s recaps puts the show into perspective without the pain of sitting through an episode. I may join you and never watch another episode. I’ll bet my blood pressure will go down!

        • …every morning my mastiff goes outside and pinches-off a big steamy ‘Brown Family member’ of his own…and watching him is far more entertaining than watching Alaska Bush Retards…..How do I get him a show of his own I wonder.

  6. I found The Browntown Christmas on the Discovery site today.

    Duck Hunting: I kept wondering how Bear and Bird planned to retrieve any ducks without a good retriever dog. Then, watching them shoot with wild abandon, I was surprised they didn’t shoot each other. The whole we-don’t-have-enough-rope drama, which Bear called “Brown luck” I call “Brown stupid.” And just where was that traditional spaghetti everyone was yakking about?

    The Christmas Tree: The tree was twice as tall as fit into the house—so it was clear they whacked that thing in half to achieve the tree that was finally set up.

    My complaint continues: Birdie, please get your teeth fixed!

    Noah says “boat” with two syllables: “Boh-tah”

      • My son’s spelling and grammar actually improved quite a bit after years of texting. Matt should build a cell phone tower, and Noah can cobble together some arm-band cell phones and see if it helps. Or Billy could step up like a man and hire the “kids” a tutor!

  7. Did not know show was on—but, as “luck” would have it, it is on again tonight at 9:00 CST here in flyover land. I am aquiver with anticipation. 🙂

    • L48L is “sad” to report that the Christmas ep. last night was from 2014 and not the “new” one.

      • Hello L48L -Good to hear from you again.

        I’m crushed. I thought everything on the Bushbillies was real. Now you’re telling me that they recycled a Christmas show! Well, don’t be too sad because the “new” Christmas show wasn’t exactly epic. Ryan’s recap is much better than the actual episode. Can’t wait for the upcoming new season.

  8. Wow these ABP are so full of shit that their eyes are brown lol if these so called siblings are for real the best thing they could do for them selves is get as far away from the mom and dad as they can get and start a life of their own away from billy and mom they are not kids anymore what are they going to do when they get older and they have no social security or have not contributed to a 401 in their life one day if they are normal people you would think gee I would love to have a better life and a real family where people work for a better life and have some thing to show for it not just a tire house talk about social outcasts these girls are just playing camping every day what about growing up a little bit and thinking about having a real family and having a house and a job where people actually have to be social and not run around in the woods hoping to mabey kill a deer or catch something to eat and what about a hot bath or shower I’ve spent time in the bush in my youth hunting and being self sufficient to a point how do you manage to keep clean living in a dump some things are just a must and a necessity being clean I feel the best thing for them siblings is get away from the parents and grow up and take some responsibility for their own lives and quit dreaming and join the real world.

  9. What a shame Billy couldn’t come up with a “real Christmas tree” while living “30 years in the bush.” I wish Ami had clued him in that those millions of green things surrounding them were evergreen trees!

    As they say, “Mayonnaise will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no mayonnaise.”

  10. Brilliance Ryan, just more pure brilliance on your part. I’m also intrigued (honestly mortified) by Cody. He actually fits in perfect in the overall fake brown circus. I’m so excited about your upcoming recaps, honestly not the episodes, just your recaps. I don’t think an episode can go by without bumbilly playing the 48 year old sympathy card bc God forbid there are actually more deserving people out in the REAL WORLD that have far more current challenges and obstacles than the multimillion dollar Ringling bros. Barnum and brown circus. I’ve honestly lost any and every shred of respect for the discovery channel for continuing to fund and air these fumbling disgusting buffoons. Merry CHRISTmas browns, don’t spend all those millions too quick.

  11. You’re a trooper! I meant to watch that last episode but forgot about it. Glad the family came to visit, lol. Sound like another normal fake day in the bush. “There’s no money and we’re out of mayonnaise.” That is a really good one-liner, it sounds like a word of advice from that crazy old uncle in the family or something 😉

  12. Ryan, so glad they aired something even though it was nothing. This is your primer for the Browntown premier which begins January 4th or at least in the frozen wasteland of Phoenix that’s our start date.

    Glad you are back and hope you had a good summer and fall.

    And hello to David as well. Both of you the addiction we all have for great humor!!!!!!!☃

    Bob

    • Try adding satisfy somewhere in that last sentence of mine. Sorry about that too. Your first blog is my primer.

    • Well hello Bob. Glad you are along for the ABP ride with Ryan’s great recaps. I certainly wouldn’t want to miss a second of Billy’s first REAL Christmas at only 62 years of age. The Rockwell Christmas with your own house and all. This coming from a guy who claimed in an earlier season that the Browns had built so many houses that he couldn’t even remember them all. All those many houses are probably next to the 70 books he claims to have authored even though only one can be found. Truly amazing how he can just make up anything and people believe it like it is gospel.
      At this point if you had two TV’s next to each other and one had an episode of ABP on it and the other one was turned off I would sit and stare at the one turned off and think about how I could clean the finger prints off.

  13. So great your taking one for the team. Talk about a show about nothing… Seinfeld has nothing on ABP.
    No plot, no storyline, no real drama, horrible script, terrible actors, everything completely made up and BS spewing every time a Brown moves there lips. Yup, ABP is definitely back

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About Ryan Berenz 1966 Articles
Devotee of Star Wars. Builder of LEGO. Observer of televised sports. Member of the Television Critics Association. Graduate of the University of Wisconsin. Connoisseur of beer. Consumer of cheese. Father of two. Husband of one. Scourge of the Alaskan Bush People. Font of Simpsons knowledge. Son of a Stonecutter.