Alaska News

Reality Check: 'Alaskan Bush People' look for love, Sweeney's out of 'Ultimate Survival'

I never thought I'd say this, but this week's episode of "Alaskan Bush People" was auh-mazing. While building "Browntown" to accommodate all the grandchildren that the Brown children are going to have when they magically become socialized and find wives and husbands, the Browns meet the mayor of Hoonah (the closest community to their property).

Aside: I did some Googlin' and found out that Kenneth Skaflestad is, in fact, the mayor of Hoonah; he won a runoff election by two votes. My guess is he wasn't just stopping by to meet the weird family with a TV show, but he was registering all the Browns to vote. Early prediction: He will win his next election by 10 votes. Eleven votes if the youngest Brown is 18 by then. The show mentions Skaflestad has just been elected, which tells us the episode was probably filmed some time in late October 2014.

Anyway, when he comes by to visit, Mayor Skaflestad says he'll trade windows for the Brown's wood cutting services so they can get wood to the elders before the winter.

So the Brown children travel to Hoonah and the magic begins.

"I really only go to town for one reason, and that's girls. I'm hoping there might be some extreme girl who loves to play with fire, climb trees and crawl through the mud," says Bear while rubbing tree branches on himself to substitute for cologne.

The Brown children get their work done in town and end up at a pizza place talking to a table full of women who are conveniently mic'd. As always, Bear starts with his typical pick-up line about climbing trees, then tests out some new material about playing with fire and running really fast. The women also chat with the more normal, socialized Brown boys (this is a very skewed spectrum of normal we are working with here) and somehow (producer intervention) end up visiting the Brown boys on their homestead.

One of the women brings her own gun for shooting drills with Matt -- typical first-date kind of stuff. Bam's move is to ask if a woman likes Yeats, to which she responds "Bill Gates?" Then he launches into a very uncomfortable poem, like a high school kid auditioning for a play. Her response is a sassy "You're still single?" Thank you, woman in the pink raincoat from Hoonah, for saying what all of America is thinking.


Then it's time to go through Bear's obstacle course, which involves crawling through mud, swinging on a rope, and running really fast.

Pink raincoat girl then says, "I have honestly never had someone want me to do an obstacle course the second time meeting them. Kind of a crazy way to prove yourself." Pink raincoat girl is what is missing from this show: a normal person to react to the weirdness around her.

All this occurs while Billy and Ami are plotting out their homestead design to accommodate dozens of grandchildren. Bear decides their dates aren't extreme enough for him, and the girls escape. I mean, head home. If you or someone you know is acquainted with the pink raincoat idol of Alaska reality TV, please please please have her email me at I have one thousand questions.

On "Ultimate Survival Alaska," it's now official -- Jim Sweeney, the crabbiest Alaskan on the Lower 48 team, is done with the show. He left after an expedition near the infamous "Into the Wild" bus. For maybe the first time in the show's history (this is not fact-checked, like my intimate knowledge of Hoonah politics), the teams were given motorized transportation to complete their journey.

That is, all but the Alaska Team, who rode horses -- you know, because they are more extreme and in touch with the land. The rest took Argos or ATVs. Sweeney first complained about the expedition, saying it wasn't Alaskan, then hurt his back riding an Argo and decided that he couldn't go on. Luckily, his teammates, Cluck (the shoe-giving kayaker with a heart of gold) and Kasha (who only gets screen time when mediating conflicts between her teammates, so I know nothing about her) will continue without him.

In conclusion, I watched four hours of these two shows this week, and this is all I have to show for it. Pink raincoat girl, please tell it to me straight and get my life back on course.

Emily Fehrenbacher lives in Anchorage, where she reviews Alaska reality TV and can be reached at (subject line: Reality Check).

Emily Fehrenbacher

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