It got real on "Ultimate Survival Alaska" this week. The team of beloved Woodsmen were eliminated for not finishing their canoe trek to Admiralty Island. This means no more denim-overall-wearing Jimmy Gaydos from Fox. Jimmy slipped on some wet moss in the forest, injured his knee and had to be helicoptered to the nearest hospital. His teammates, Tina Scheer from Bar Harbor, Maine, and Yote Robertson from Dillingham, were also eliminated after they asked production to help Jimmy out of the forest.
The silver lining is that Jimmy was the Alaska Reality TV Fantasy Leagues' super scorer after he lit a fire using a shotgun and a cotton ball. The procedure for this is as follows: Put a cotton ball into the firearm; shoot the cotton ball into the air, thus creating a spark; have your friend catch the fireball, and create fire.
The Military Team won the competition again, after powering through the woods that took down Jimmy and out-canoeing everyone with their giant muscles. They did so without taking the shortcut that the Endurance Team and Mountaineers found. It was an old tram left behind from the timber days that quickly carried their canoes and gear across the island. This left me wondering if the teams are given different maps at the beginning of each challenge. Why wouldn't everyone choose that route if it was on their map? Had the Woodsmen known about the tram, Jimmy would still be teaching us his handy wilderness tricks for the next eight weeks. Why, National Geographic? Why?
The rest of the episode wasn't as exciting as past challenges. Sean Burch didn't almost die, and Marty Raney only caught a small fish using a water bottle this time. Which brings up my second burning question for National Geographic. As you may remember, last week Raney caught a 100-plus-pound halibut using a ski, and then shot it (and his boat). Only days later, they forgo a potential lead to catch more fish. What happened to all that halibut? Did they eat all 100 pounds of it already? Did they share it with the other teams? Did they dump it when they tipped their boat over in the last episode? Hopefully they didn't waste perfectly good halibut.
While we are watching beards grow longer on "Ultimate Survival Alaska," everyone on "Bering Sea Gold" has stripped down to their summer clothing and shaved their beards. Friday's episode was filled with drama between crew members of various rigs.
As I've said before, this show follows way too many people, so I'm still unsure who's who and which crew they are a part of. The highlight of this episode was when an underwater fight broke out between two divers over turf at the bottom of the Bering Sea. The winner was one of the Kelly brothers, who was being slowly poisoned by carbon monoxide due to some bad equipment. He lived to tell the tale but not without a little bit of vomiting and maybe some brain damage.
The show ended with several crew members at Safety Roadhouse near Nome after a hard day of work. I think "Bering Sea Gold" would be 10 times more interesting if they were to follow their stars around in their non-working hours. It would be fascinating to get a glimpse into the nightlife of modern day Nome gold miners. Then "Alaska State Troopers" and "Bering Sea Gold" could eventually merge into one super show.
Finally, a new Alaska reality TV rumor from the Catholic Anchor: Apparently BBC just filmed a show called "Extreme School" at the Holy Rosary Academy in Anchorage. The premise: They fly in a pair of 13-year-old British girls to attend the strict Catholic school for a week. It seems the girls aren't ready for the culture shift, and the show centers around their troubles following the rules. The show will apparently air in the spring overseas, and who knows if we will get to see it in Alaska. Hopefully we'll be able to find it on the vast Internet for review.
• Emily Fehrenbacher lives in Anchorage, where she reviews Alaska reality TV.