Alaska News

Reality Check: On 'Alaskan Bush People,' Noah Brown's lonely hearts club

I caught up with the "Alaskan Bush People," because it's the best and worst Alaska show on television.

You may recall that the Browns bought a giant boat so they could start a hauling business, but the boat was a little too rickety to be seaworthy. The family works to fix up the boat and Billy says things like, "They've got to get the job finished. Finished right now," and yada yada yada, who cares, let's get back to Noah's relationship with Christie.

As we've come to know over three seasons of this reality TV experience, Noah is the sensitive youngest brother. And in this episode it was exemplified by his hand-built writing desk, which he sits at when he wants to be alone with his thoughts and poetry. But mostly he needs this writing desk because "a formal relationship should always be started via letter. When you write a letter somehow you put a little of your soul in that letter."

About a week after Noah pours his soul into a letter to Christie, they meet up for their second date in Hoonah to drink milkshakes. They talk about how their milkshakes are too thick, possibly requiring spoons. This is less like a second date and more like the conversation you have with someone after 50 years of marriage. But Noah saves their boring date by suggesting Christie meet his mom, Ami. As the lovebirds walk to the docks of Hoonah to meet the Browns, Noah says in a taped interview he asked her to meet his family because that's the how you move from dating to courting, "the difference, of course, is that courting ends in marriage."

Upon meeting Christie, Ami asks if she likes children. This second date is a nightmare. You'll be shocked to know that if you fast-forward about 10 minutes in the episode or a few weeks in real life, Christie and Noah have broken up. We find this out as Noah and his dad, Billy, have a heart-to-heart.

Noah is a real baby about the whole thing, saying things like, "I thought it was her, the one I was looking for," and "soulmates don't hurt each other." Then the craziest thing that has ever happened in the history of "Alaskan Bush People" happened -- I could actually relate to Billy Brown for two seconds.

As Noah is blabbing on and on about Christie, he says, "For a while I think the only heart I'm going to have is the one on my shelf" and looks up at the deer hearts he's saved in Mason jars on his shelf. And Billy just says, "OK, that's just creepy." For once, Billy isn't being aggro about finishing some project, he's calling out his weird son for being too weird. I loved it.


I know Noah will bounce back, and after "Alaskan Bush People" is on TV for another 10 years I hope to be invited to cover the "Alaskan Bush People: Wedding Special" after he takes his heart off the shelf.

Finally, there is a new show on Discovery called "Land Rush." It follows four Alaskans who have each staked their own land through the Department of Natural Resources' Remote Recreational Cabin Sites Program.

The show is so-so, but there was one scene that won me over. A gentleman named Danny Knowles and his unnamed friends stake land on the Innoko River. They are looking for a true wilderness cabin-building experience, using only what is on the property.

As we see Knowles and his two friends walking to their Bush plane, the narrator says they are "bringing only the bare essentials: guns, chain saws, a generator and a tent." But what we actually see is the three dudes carrying several cases of Coors onto the plane. Now that's a realistic Alaska Bush experience. Of course they're going to bring some banquet beer on this cabin-building adventure, they'd be crazy not to.

Like most things in life, I'll stick with "Land Rush" until they run out of beer.

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.