“Please, don’t say it!”
I begged and then cringed at the inevitable Alaskan Bush People public service announcement. This is the third one I’d noticed, and there were possibly more to come before the season wraps up. I really, really wish it weren’t the case.
What am I talking about? Well, throughout the past several episodes of Alaskan Bush People, producers have had different individuals (allegedly) close to the Brown family show up to vouch for the clan. Perhaps the shadiest offender is Hoonah, Alaska Mayor Kenneth Skaflestad, a man who Alaska Dispatch-News tells us was elected in a “run-off” after winning by a mere two votes.
“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.”
I don’t know if it’s a case of Kenny trying to put Hoonah on the map or selling out his constituents by enabling this Alaskan reality TV show. All I do know is that he and a few other people seem to have been commissioned by Alaskan Bush People producers to “humanize” the Browns by going on and on to the audience about what great people they are.
And I for one am sick of it.
As I said when I last noticed this PSA garbage, this is the kind of disingenuous stunt you pull during the first season. Alaskan Bush People is well into its fourth season, and the audience already knows who these people are. At least, they already know who the “Wolf Pack” is as carefully edited and coached by show runners.
The saying goes that you don’t get a second chance at a first impression. Nor can you bring in random strangers every other episode of Alaskan Bush People in a blatant effort to wash away the stench of a fraud conviction.
The Discovery Channel, understandably, was puzzled at how to get the Browns’ “wholesome” family image back after people learned (1) they’d defrauded the state of Alaska out of thousands of dollars and (2) weren’t in Alaska during a period of years before their TV show.
Of course, this could have been nipped in the bud with a couple of simple explanations. For instance, stating that Billy’s health was a constant problem that made bush life difficult. Or perhaps playing up the fact that they left Alaska to promote the father’s book, One Wave At A Time. While these justifications are eye-roll worthy themselves, they are FAR more organic than what the producers are currently doing on Alaskan Bush People.
The series’ narrator keeps reminding us — in case we somehow forgot — that Billy and son Bam Bam are going to be leaving within a few weeks for prison. Even though that’s not what happened and the Discovery Channel couldn’t be bothered to edit in a disclaimer or update to clarify that fact.
Instead, the network doubled down on its “feel sorry for the Browns” by trying to paint the Alaskan Bush People cast as the last pioneer family in Alaska, who are always being threatened by “The Man.” On top of these self-congratulatory speeches, the show would occasionally bring in other people to further this propaganda that will never hold water thanks to all the evidence on the internet to the contrary.
Yes, Alaskan Bush People show runners, I get it. You want to protect your cash cow. You want everyone to see the Browns as sympathetic losers who don’t know when to quit. Those sort of people are easy to cheer for. However, you’ve spent half the season shoving damage control in our faces while not considering that certain revelations could make this backfire drastically.
And now I have to listen to your coached guest stars go on about the virtues of the Brown while remembering they pretty much milked an estranged relationship and dead granddaughter for ratings. I’m sorry, but no matter how many random Alaskans you line up to extoll the virtues of Alaska’s greatest bush people…that is a hard pill for me to swallow. The reality TV family not living in Browntown much of the time may be harmless and laughable, but that sort of selfish behavior is indefensible.
I can only hope that with the 30 days of glorified probation behind the Browns, we are no longer treated to these fake testimonials. Alaskan Bush People doesn’t need these forced PSAs; it instead needs to find a way to make itself more interesting fast.
[Image via the Discovery Channel]