It's Christmas -- 'tis the season of giving and family. And we got both from Discovery Channel's "Alaskan Bush People" Christmas special.
You might remember "Bush People" from when they had a bizarre unexplained interaction with their neighbors and left "the Bush" (yes, they had neighbors in the Bush -- it's a strange show). Or when they were charged with PFD fraud. Or simply when they decided to bring cameras into their lives so the world could hear their odd accents and see a family of nine sharing what could barely be called a tent in freezing temperatures and their sons hitting on ladies by asking if they "like to climb trees."
The Christmas special was really more of a 46-minute preview to season two of "Bush People." We did learn a few valuable things about Alaska's weirdest family, though. First, they can have Christmas any day of the year. There was still a cruise ship in Ketchikan, so I'm assuming it was August or September. Second, it's a family tradition to see who can chop through a log fastest. It reminded me of when my parents would challenge me to clean my room before the song "Born to Run" was over as a kid. Third, they love whole chicken in a can. And finally, they only give presents that they find in the wilderness. I think instead of allegedly stealing PFDs, the Browns should just open an Etsy shop of antler combs and homemade lip balm. Seriously.
While Discovery Channel giveth, MTV taketh away. The season finale of "Slednecks" aired on Thursday. The finale "took place" on the "summer solstice," although the crew already celebrated the Fourth of July a few episodes back. And it got dark. And the leaves were turning as they catapulted off a recliner into a lake. And I realize that me pointing out the inaccuracies of the "Slednecks" time continuum is getting old, and I shouldn't notice/care, but I. Just. Can't. Help. It.
I decided to interview Trevor Hash, 24, the helmet-wearing, green-apple-car-freshener guy who got engaged (!?!) in the season finale. I wanted to hear about his experience. After a few days of Twitter direct messaging and some emails with a MTV gatekeeping PR lady, we chatted over the phone.
The first thing to know about this interview is that it happened at 6 a.m. I didn't think someone who drank so heavily and was a self-proclaimed "fungineer" would be awake and coherent at that hour. But Hash was shockingly normal while getting ready for his job working in fiber optic telecommunications.
I found out many valuable answers to my questions: The blue helmet was purchased at a garage sale five years ago. "Best purchase I've made," he said. Leonard, the lovable quote machine, was really his boss for the summer. The reindeer living in his house for two days was legit. "Love is awesome. Picking up poop and pee for two days is terrible," he reflected. And he and Tosca are still dating, in case you were wondering. I asked, "Are you guys engaged for realz?" via Twitter. "For reals with a z," he responded.
Hash went to high school in Anchorage, where he grew up with TV but never had cable, so he hasn't really watched reality TV. He said the reason he decided to do the show is that he wanted an opportunity to do something out of the ordinary.
"My friends were like, 'Trevor, you are finally getting paid to do stuff you regularly do.' And I was like, 'that's fairly accurate.'" He said he actually built some of the stunts you see on the show, but sometimes production would help him with small parts and make sure they were safe.
I asked him about all the hatred for reality TV shows in Alaska, and if he'd experienced any of that. "Oh for sure… I think our show, people hate it! A lot of people are like, 'your show is so scripted and fake.' And I'm like, 'you can't fake being drunk.'"
He said there were bar fights because people didn't like the cameras being there, and sometimes it was even with people he knew from high school. It got to the point where they had to have security guards for the casts and the camera crews.
While I still think "Slednecks" is a dumpster fire, I did appreciate Hash's Taylor Swift-esque "haters gonna hate" attitude towards the whole thing. "Slednecks" has not yet announced another season, but if it happens Hash would be open to it.
Emily Fehrenbacher lives in Anchorage, where she reviews Alaska reality TV and can be reached at email@example.com (subject line: Reality Check).