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Reality Check: Those wacky gun shop clerks on 'Wild West Alaska'

  • Author: Emily Fehrenbacher
    | Reality Check
  • Updated: July 1, 2016
  • Published January 20, 2016

This week I have a quick reality TV round-up.

First, a new eight-part series called "Alaska Proof" aired on Thursday with an Anchorage kick-off party at the Lake Front -- the hotel formerly known as the Millennium. Episode one focused on the staff of the Alaska Distillery harvesting glacial ice and honey to get out a large order of honey vodka.

It wasn't bad. Scott, the master distiller, is quite the character, and I enjoyed that you can hear the producers prompting the cast/staff with questions. The entire program was basically an advertisement for the Alaska Distillery. It's a brilliant marketing move on their part, but Animal Planet wants to make sure that "Alaska Proof" is not a 30-minute commercial. So they put up a small disclaimer in the credits: "This program is intended for entertainment purposes only and not as an advertisement or endorsement of a product."

Speaking of advertisements for Alaskan businesses, I caught a bit of "Wild West Alaska" before "Alaska Proof." For those who have forgotten, "Wild West Alaska" is a seemingly scripted program that is way less about Wild West Guns, the store featured on the show, and way more about the staff going on contrived adventures gone wrong. It relies heavily on kooky, cartoony sound effects, and it's so bad that it's almost good.

They have segments like "Al-Ask-Us Everything," where viewers submit their Alaska questions. This week's episode was all about the team going rafting and fishing, leaving the two low-level staff members in charge of the store. "Hilarity" ensues.

With the national attention currently focused on gun control, you'd think there would be a natural, interesting storyline, but "Wild West Alaska" is not the show for such a plotline.

Next, for those of you who were fans of "Ultimate Survival Alaska," a great National Geographic competition that was canceled due to ratings and dollars, Grady Powell of the military team is now on a Discovery show called "Dual Survival." Remember -- he's the dreamy Green Beret who fell into a glacier.

Two reality television stars were palling around Iowa this week getting political. Sarah Palin endorsed Donald Trump, and apparently both "The Apprentice" and "Sarah Palin's Alaska" were produced by Mark Burnett. Coincidence? Probs not: Burnett produces everything. Maybe if Trump wins the nomination, Burnett will produce a reality show about the campaign.

Finally, rumor on the street (and/or rumor started by the Brown family attorney in a court hearing about the Brown family legal troubles): The next season of "Alaskan Bush People" will take place in an urban setting, so that Billy Brown can be near doctors to receive medical attention. I can't wait to watch the "Alaskan Bush People" go to Target. Subscribe.

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

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