"Alaska Proof" is getting weird. Straight up. Episode one eased us in with the harvesting of glacial ice and honey to make vodka at the Alaska Distillery, but then things quickly went off the rails.
In episodes two through four, the creations include: caribou antler vodka, which according to the show has aphrodisiac qualities; a spicy devil's club vodka, that is 66.6 percent alcohol by volume; and distilling under the northern lights, to make a lucky batch of $200-a-bottle booze. I think they might have been drinking when they thought of these ideas.
The cast of this show is solid. Scott, the master distiller, is a great character. Scott is always talking about whatever he's doing as he's doing it, which is an annoying trait in real life but makes for good reality TV. I would watch endless YouTube videos of Scott lighting things/people on fire trying to flavor vodkas.
In the devil's club episode, Toby, the owner of the distillery, told Scott "I absolutely hate it" while trying his first batch of the new vodka flavor. So he spends the next five minutes of TV, and probably five hours of life, trying to make his 66.6 percent ABV vodka taste better than lighter fluid. He ends up drinking so much he asks for a ride to the bar to share his creation. To put this into perspective, the smoked salmon vodka took 47 tries to flavor. I love Scott.
The most ridiculous plotline was when they kayaked across Eklutna to find the devil's club, as though it's hard to find. They can just come to my backyard next time, where there's less bear danger. Also, none of the new kooky flavors are listed on their website.
Breaking tangential Alaska news: One of the front-runners on this season of "The Bachelor" is an Alaska Airlines flight attendant. Lauren Bushnell is from Portland, Oregon, but lives in Los Angeles, where she works for Alaska Air. Think I'm just stretching this beat to try to add extra words to a column? Think again. This is the first time in two years of column writing that I've had any kind of legitimate reason to write about "The Bachelor" franchise.
Since I know most of you readers don't watch TV, let me fill you in on what's up in the mainstream reality TV world. "The Bachelor" is a very cookie-cutter show in which a man tries to find a wife by dating 27 women at the same time on national television. What could go wrong? This season they trolled audiences by casting four Laurens and a Laura, a set of twins and gave someone "Chicken Enthusiast" as an occupation. While this season's bachelor, Ben Higgins, is a boring dude from Indiana, the 27 women vying for his boring, everlasting love are anything but. At least check it out to see if Lauren B. (not to be confused with the other Lauren B. that goes by "LB") has been your flight attendant.
Finally, Jesse Lebeau (trick basketball player, author, TV commercial star) has a new TV show in the works. He has been to 23 schools and villages. "The Lebeau Show" will connect Alaska kids who are going through tough times with celebrities in LA. No idea when or where this will air yet, but it sounds surprisingly uplifting and not exploitative.
Emily Fehrenbacher lives in Anchorage, where she reviews Alaska reality TV. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ETFBacher.