Alaska News

Reality Check: The 'Bush People' go wife-hunting

"If the guys can't find ladies on their own, then Mom's gonna help them" -- Ami Brown, the soft-spoken matriarch of the Brown family.

This simple but terrifying premise was the start of the most amazing, overly produced episode of "Alaskan Bush People" to date.

Let me set the stage for you. The five Brown sons, ranging in age from 22 to 32, have supposedly been living in the wilderness with their parents their entire lives, leading us to believe they've never talked to women before, except for a few chance encounters here and there over the years.

In order to grow Browntown, which is now the largest suburb of Hoonah, the boys need to go find wives so Ami can have grandchildren and Billy can have more workers. They've struck out meeting locals for two seasons in a row because weirdo Bear keeps challenging them to finish obstacle courses, Bam starts whispering creepy poems and generally it seems like a cult initiation more than a date.

Obviously, the Browns need some help -- from Alaska Men magazine matchmaker Susie Carter.

In this columnist's humble opinion, they should just go on a publicity trip to New York and get on Tinder, and some hipster would think it's ironic to hook up with the stars of "Alaskan Bush People." But instead, Susie Carter comes to Browntown and asks each son what type of lady he's looking to wed. Bear's ideal girl is someone who would howl back at him when he howls. Noah will go for any woman who can play an instrument and doesn't have a Brooklyn, Texas or Boston accent (my Tinder plan is foiled). Matt will take any non-lazy woman willing to live in a house of tires. Bam just wants anyone who will put up with him. And Gabe is looking for someone with a sense of humor.

So with clear direction and reasonably low standards from these lads, Susie tells them that she will find them consorts and send profiles to the post office in Hoonah. The first Browns to find matches were Gabe, the big, funny one with giant sideburns, and Bear, who obviously starts his phone conversation with his future wife Sarah with his old standby, "Do you like to climb trees?" Sarah is the manager of a sewing embroidery shop by day and a tree climbing enthusiast by night, so that relationship is already showing promise.

While the episode clearly had a heavy producer hand, I'm already invested in these relationships working or at least seeing them crash and burn.

Oh, and Matt built a house out of tires because he's 32 and needs a "more serious house" to impress his future soul mate. I'm sure in 20 years a hunter will stumble on a stack of 200 tires in the middle of the wilderness and think, "Who brought these tires out here?" I would like to volunteer to barge every tire to Los Angeles and leave them on the doorstep of the Discovery Channel as a gift from Alaska.

If you'd like to figure out which Brown is your soul mate, you can take a creepy quiz at

Emily Fehrenbacher

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