On the season premiere of Discovery Channel’s Alaskan Bush People “All That Matters” (Jan. 4), a storm overtakes Chichagof Island and threatens the safety of the Brown Family as they set out on a journey to bring home a new addition to Browntown, while oldest brother Matt returns home for a fresh start.
After seeing how Bear makes his Bush Shampoo stew in last week’s season preview episode, we get another edition of Bush Cosmetology Tips. We learn that Billy has always cut the kids’ hair, which really does explain a lot. Today, it’s time for Gabe’s cut. Billy once gave Gabe a half-mohawk, half-mullet. Billy also once shaved lightning bolts in the side of Gabe’s hair. I also imagine that Gabe went for the hi-top fade a few years ago. Gabe says his current look is 1950s Punk Elvis Trucker. Mission accomplished, I guess.
It’s early fall on Chicago Bears Island. BUT WINTER IS RIGHT THERE! It’s harvest time for some of the Browns’ crops. (Notice that no crops are harvested from Matt’s stupid plastic wrap greenhouse.) Ami is pleased with the fertile soil that washes down from the mountains and makes the carrots especially sweet. Ami heaves a massive zucchini and moans, “That’s a heavy zucchini.” I had to listen to it a few times. She almost sounds like a sound bite from an Italian porn film.
Because it’s a new season and there might be some (zero) new viewers tuning in, we have to get reintroduced to the Bush Way and how it’s so much better than how you live. “I don’t think that most kids in the Lower 48 carry a 12-gauge to go to the bathroom,” Billy says. Clearly Billy has not been to Chicago.
The kids were all home-schooled by Ami, who married Billy as a teenager and didn’t finish high school. Birdy says that it was “actually really great” being home-schooled by her mother, because Birdy doesn’t know any better and thinks her mom is a Nobel Laureate.
And now it’s time for another round of The Browns Pretend to Not Know Stuff! Let’s meet our our contestants. First contestant is Birdy, who loves animals and is fluent in Cat. First question is for Birdy. Birdy, who won the World Series last year?
Our next contestant is Bear, who lists AWESOME and EXXXXTREME! as his hobbies. Bear, here’s your first question: Who are the Golden State Warriors?
Bear: “AWESOME! EXXXXTREME!”
Birdy, for the win: Who is Rihanna?
Birdy: “A sinker, or something.”
Sure. Whatever. You win.
Let us give a warm welcome back to Matt, who is back from his alcohol rehab stint and ready to recommit himself to the Bush. He’s come back to find a lot of answers to questions he has about himself, foremost is “What does a guy have to do to get a drink around here?”
Billy’s moaning about the recent lack of crabs in the waters off of Chicago Bears Island. Maybe if there weren’t 12 Discovery Channel reality shows about Alaskan crab fishing, there would be more crabs for the Browns.
Billy wants Brownton Abbey to rely less on the outside world and be more self-sufficient. The obvious solution is to get a cow.
— Ryan Berenz (@ChannelGuideRAB) January 5, 2017
Yes, Billy bought a cow. As my weird uncle used to say, “Why buy the cow when you can get the sex for free?” Not surprisingly, Birdy is exceptionally excited about this cow, since she’ll have yet another beast with which to communicate.
I am from and live in Wisconsin, so far be it from me to disparage cow ownership. The truth is that bringing a cow into Brownton Abbey for the sole purpose of providing milk is utterly (udderly!) stupid and makes zero practical sense. The resources and effort needed to keep the cow alive and producing milk in the Bush are far greater than the benefits. And unless Noah is going to invent Bush Pasteurization, it’s probably not wise to drink raw milk.
In his first display of sober wisdom, Matt says he wants nothing to do with this cow-hauling business. Instead, he wants to go out into the hills on a solo hunt to find himself and kill a deer to provide meat for the family. So Matt wants to go on a potentially dangerous hunt for meat despite the fact that Billy just bought a whole lot of living, breathing hamburgers.
I don’t understand what Billy starts talking about next. He’s either having another seizure or it’s further evidence that he has gone batshit insane. “You can flash forward a couple hundred years,” Billy says. “You got people in the Bush. You’ve got my family. The Browns have done the same thing.” These, my friends, are the ravings of a madman.
And when Billy’s not spouting lunacy, he’s just plain lying.
Here are the Browns struggling for survival in Hawaii:
Gabe and Bear are discussing the benefits of cow ownership when Gabe hears something in the woods, prompting a bunch of silly Bush Sign Language. They stalk stalkily and discover a bear minding its own bear business. While the boys claim that they “chased her out of our boundary,” the bear just kind of walks away on its own volition. Even the bears are bored with this crap.
Gabe tells us about how the Browns are such stewards of the land and the wildlife. They don’t just go around walking through the forest kicking squirrels. The squirrels appreciate this. The squirrels have a few other requests.
Matt’s going to go off and do his spiritual hunt/walk of Faith, because his mom has Faith in him, so he can find Faith in himself, and he has Faith in the Family’s Faith in him. I spent a whole Sunday assembling extensive flowcharts of who has Faith in what, whom and when. If you have a few hours, you can view them. They’re quite thorough.
Oh, good. More barge-building. The Browns are going to take the Dragon Samurai barge and construct a cow enclosure on top so Sabrina doesn’t end up as fish food. Rainy wonders how they might be able to make Sabrina more comfortable. Bam has a few ideas.
ZING! Bam proves once again that he’s the only member of the family with anything between his ears, and he admits that this whole cow thing is ridiculous, but he’s once again been overruled by his nincompoop kin.
With the cow enclosure built on the Dragon Samurai, the Browns are ready to set sail on this fool’s errand. When they get out into the bay, we get warnings of our first Magically Appearing Bad Weather of the season. There’s a storm a-brewin’ out there. (Is anyone else annoyed that they’re suddenly calling a storm a “blow?”) If you’re keeping score at home, Billy is now risking his boat and much of his family, not to mention burning expensive fuel, just to pick up a cow that they don’t need and can’t realistically use in the first place. He should be arrested (again).
Back at Brownton Abbey, the task of building a cow corral falls on Noah and Gabe. Of course, their corral is pathetic and won’t contain a cow, much less keep bears out.
How’s Matt doing on his spiritual quest? He’s doing just great! He’s already hiked 10 miles northwest of Brownton Abbey!
On the Integrity, the seas are getting rough. Suddenly it dawns on Billy that he shouldn’t be out in this mess, and he gives some spiel about his kids and “souls onboard,” and how he’s going to find an anchorage and not shipwreck over a stupid cow. Billy is remarkably foolhardy for a man who supposedly spent 34 years in the Bush and many of those years at sea.
First time for everything.
Let’s check in on Matt. Last seen, he was 15 miles northwest of Brownton Abbey.
Oh, that’s a shame. And Matt was just starting to get his life back together…
The storm is growing more intense back at Brownton Abbey. Ami keeps her mind off her family members’ impending doom by — wait for it — re-creating the Mosman Mayonnaise Candles. As legend has it, when Ami and Billy first came to Alaska, Ami found a jar of old mayonnaise in which the oil had separated from the other mayonnaise crud. She put the oil in a small dish, cut Billy’s jeans to make a candle wick, and set the thing on fire to make a candle. No, Ami didn’t invent this, either. Check out this instructional video from CrazyRussianHacker on YouTube. “This is very awesome!”
“The mayo candle is like a symbol of hope,” Ami says. “It’s light, and it shines the way.” And a sandwich just isn’t a sandwich without it.
The morning after the storm, Gabe and Noah go out to assess the damage and AWWW, SNAP! A tree snapped and fell on Gabe’s biohazard shack. So that whole pointless endeavor turned out to be for absolutely nothing. This is a metaphor for the human condition. This is the Brown Way.
The Integrity remains afloat after the storm, and Billy gets right back to exaggerating the importance of this Magic Bush Cow that’s going to deliver the Browns to the Land of Milk and Cheese. Get a load of this: “Getting this cow home, at this moment, it’s everything to us,” Billy says. “It’s the very beginning of living our life on our own. It’s the beginning of being truly independent, which is what living in the Bush is all about. The more self-sufficient we are, the more free we are. We’re out here because we’re free. The Bush is a simple life. It’s a hard life, but it’s a simple life. And that life starts right now.”
It starts RIGHT NOW? Then what the hell have we been watching for the past five-ish seasons? What the hell has he been doing out there for the past 34 years? Blow it out your ass, Billy.
Gabe and Noah decide to tear down the remains of the biohazard shack, but it proves more difficult than they thought. The solution, obviously, is to shoot at it with a cannon.
We’re told that the Browns picked up this cannon in Pelican for doing a hauling job. I imagine that exchange went something like, “Um, sorry, we don’t have any money, but can we pay you with a cannon?” (An Alaskan insider said that this cannon was actually purchased in Juneau by a producer.) I’m not sure what they were shooting out of that cannon, but it couldn’t have been much bigger than a golf ball. Of course, the cannon does nothing.
The Browns finally arrive in Hoonah and complete the cow transaction, which we don’t get to see because it didn’t really happen the way Billy said it did. They load Sabrina in the Dragon Samurai without incident, and the voyage back to Brownton Abbey is a success. Welcome to your new home, Sabrina. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.
Then Billy jumps back onto the crazy train, waxing all philosophical about this sacred cow. “But, in a way, this isn’t just one cow,” he says. “It represents, you know, the beginning of everything that we can do to be independent.” Yes, now that they finally have a cow, the Empire of Brownton Abbey shall grow and prosper for eternity.
… or whenever the ratings drop too low.