Three episodes into the new season of Alaskan Bush People and the question of whether its fake or not is simply no longer up for debate. It’s as if showrunners have given up on trying to hide just how scripted the Brown family’s adventures really are. There are a few signs of how fake the Discovery Channel show is within the new episodes, and they’re so laughable, I feel obligated to point them out.
If you happen to live in Alaska or pay a significant amount of attention to reality TV, the following information won’t be too shocking. Still clinging to your beliefs that Alaskan Bush People isn’t scripted and the Browns are exactly who they appear to be on TV? You might not want to read any further.
When it comes to scripted reality TV, there are a few things that tend to happen as seasons pass that should give away just how disingenuous the entire series is.
One of the most prominent staples of popular reality TV is the practically mandatory “makeover.” Consider the curious case of Joshua “Bam Bam” Brown.
He went from looking like this…
What’s more hilarious is the change between pictures two and three took place within a couple of years. Rarely, outside of a fake television show do we see such a drastic style makeover occur so soon. Please refer to the shocking before and after of the Duck Dynasty family for a more prominent example.
The reason these changes occur is an effort to make the stars an easier sell to their target audience. The more the Browns look like eccentric backwoods people, the more Alaskan Bush People fans will take their wacky antics and adventures to heart.
The second significant giveaway doesn’t come from the show. Instead, the massive clue comes from how Alaskan Bush People is perceived by native Alaskans. Alaska Dispatch News writer Emily Fehrenbacher has repeatedly aired her frustration with the disingenuous nature of Alaskan TV shows. ADN has repeatedly claimed these so-called isolated TV shows featuring “wilderness-loving” casts are filmed practically on top of one another.
“Maybe Discovery Channel will buy the BP building and the National Geographic Channel will purchase the downtown Legislative Information Office so the Anchorage skyline will be more reflective of what seems to be Alaska’s largest industry: reality TV.”
Such statements by annoyed Alaskans are rather hard to overlook.
Getting back to the series, one can’t help but notice how “bear-free” Browntown is as of late. Remember when this was a constant problem last season? We even had plenty of footage of a supposedly wild bear rummaging through camp and causing disarray multiple times!
So far this season, we’ve had one mention of bears and no sightings. Seriously, think about that. The Browns are supposedly so surrounded by these potentially dangerous animals, yet outside of the one reference, it’s “business as usual” and cleaning up Browntown has suffered no significant on-camera delays.
In fact, despite how many bears are allegedly in the area, the Alaskan Bush People stars had zero issues with leaving a very injured Noah at home by himself. Even more baffling, there was no concern whatsoever about bringing “a potential love interest” out to Browntown.
Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself, and we’ll see some bear-related surprise twist in a few episodes. Still, the behavior of the Browns leads me to believe the previous bear storyline was highly exaggerated for the purpose of ratings.
adndotcom: Bear tactic 3 on 'Alaskan Bush People': Find a baby bear and raise it to fight other bears. … pic.twitter.com/pE5F4YI4rI— Bernard Hickss (@CheesecakeAdm) January 6, 2016
Speaking of love interests, the Discovery Channel show was semi-busted last week trying to sneak an actress past audience members. With so many people who hate Alaskan Bush People following the show religiously, I can’t believe producers thought they’d get away with this one.
According to Radar Online, viewers identified the woman Noah Brown attempted to woo as actress Karryna Kauffman. Although Noah made much of their “date,” he used the occasion to talk about Christie, his other alleged flame.
The youngest Brown son even goes as far as to perform a song for Kauffman — about his ex.
Everything, from how the two met (which remains hilariously vague) to how they departed (cue the porpoises!), felt forced. However, when you’re struggling to introduce new twists and turns to a show destined to get redundant, these are the drastic measures showrunners often take.
The final, most disturbing giveaway is how this season features a chorus of recommendations. Everywhere we look, we have people lining up to tell us what great people the Browns are.
It’s understandable that the Discovery Channel wishes to protect one of their most successful shows ever. It’s not surprising they’ll look at every angle possible to make that happen. However, it seems a bit much that we’re only three episodes into the latest season and we have people going on and on about the nobleness and authenticity of the Brown family.
It’s weird for a couple of reasons.
First of all, we’re already a few seasons into Alaskan Bush People. This stunt is one you pull during to “getting to know them” phase of a reality television show, typically within the first few episodes. At that stage, these endorsements would be most relevant.
Second, it’s transparent. We know the only reason Alaskan Bush People keeps referring to how good the Browns are is so that people can forget about (1) their fraud scandal and (2) son Matt Brown’s DUI record or (3) the fact that they technically aren’t Alaskans or (4) the many rumors circulating the internet about the deceitful, bridge-burning antics of the Browns.
With that much negativity just a Google click away, perhaps the Discovery Channel hoped the word of these “real” Alaskan bush people might sway haters. Sorry, but that’s probably not going to happen.
Alaskan Bush People is very fake, and the signs have been with us since the beginning. Still, producers are tweaking so noticeably this season, I dread how fake things will look should the Browns return for yet another season.
Having said that, perhaps it’s for the best that everyone come to terms with how fake the show is. No one should be watching Alaskan Bush People and treating it as if it were remotely realistic. When native Alaskans are telling you these shows are well-edited lies, it’s best to take their word for it.
The bottom line is this: Alaskan Bush People is good for entertainment purposes but little else.
[Image via the Discovery Channel]