Film and TV

In new season of ‘Alaskan Bush People,’ Browns travel to California after Ami’s cancer diagnosis

"Alaskan Bush People" is back for a seventh season. Since it premiered in May of 2014, millions have been fascinated by the trials (literally) and tribulations of the mysterious Brown family.

In case you've missed the show, have never read this column or are a tourist who only watches Netflix and happens to be reading this column because there is a four-hour time change and you are up too early, let me fill you in. There are nine members of the Brown family: two parents, Ami (mother) and Billy (father), and seven children who range in age from 15 to 35. According to the very serious Discovery Channel voice-over, these folks were born and raised far from civilization in the wilderness of Alaska. However, according to court documents and Google, they were born and raised all over the West Coast commercial fishing, being reality TV stars, etc.

The recent seasons have revolved around the family building their homestead, "Browntown," just outside Hoonah. But whether or not they actually live there is up for debate. We've watched the boys search for love with a series of terrified young women from Hoonah. And we've watched Merry Christmas Kathryn Raindrop "Rain" (youngest daughter) grow from an awkward little kid to a fashionista with an asymmetrical short haircut who does not fit in with her family at all.

Quick aside: I could probably write 500 words just on the wardrobe, makeup and hair of the Browns in the first episode of this season, but there is no time for that. Real quick though: In one scene, Rain is wearing what appears to be a yellow bridesmaid's dress, Snowbird has on a striped T-shirt with suspenders that have music notes on them, and in Billy's confessional he's wearing a shirt that looks like it was purchased at PacSun.

So let's get into this season. The majority of the storyline revolves around Ami, who is battling lung cancer. This is a very real, sad situation. The Discovery Channel starts each episode with a note explaining that the events of the episode took place nine weeks ago and the story is still unfolding.

Ami is in Southern California for her treatment, and all her kids are with her, except for Noah, who is tending to Browntown, and Bam, who fell in love with a producer and left the show. While most of the first episode focused on Ami's doctor visits and the family talking about their feels, there were still a fair number of cutaways to random acts of the Brown children being fish out of water.

For example, there was a random shot where human son Bear is punching a dishwasher pod as hard as he can on a deck for no explained reason. And another scene where he makes his mom "extreme juice" by punching fruit. In one scene, eldest son Matt makes a bow and arrow out of a PVC pipe and yarn that he made with their dog's hair so he can shoot squirrels that are running around on the power lines by their Southern California house. Typically, Matt's crazy experiments can only impact the nine residents of Browntown, but this one has the ability to leave thousands of people without power.


Finally, Noah (the youngest, overly sensitive son) is back in Browntown walking around with a gun and dreaming about his girlfriend. The most interesting thing that happens back in Alaska is Noah washing his one spare dress shirt and making his GF a weird shell case that describes their relationship.

We'll keep you updated on the Browns, and you can watch "Alaskan Bush People" every Wednesday on Discovery Channel.

Emily Fehrenbacher lives in Anchorage, where she reviews Alaska reality TV. You can reach her at or on Twitter @ETFBacher.

Emily Fehrenbacher

Emily Fehrenbacher lives in Anchorage and writes "Reality Check," a regular look at reality television set in Alaska.