Alaska shows

October 11, 2015 at 5:45 pm Leave a comment

Okay, so I’m sometimes easily sucked into watching marathons on TV. I got hooked on Alaska, the Last Frontier, Alaskan Bush People, and even Living Alaska. I draw the line at the trucker and fishing shows, though. I can’t spend all my time watching TV! Which show is my fav? Hard to say. I watch all of them. Every episode. I DVR them, just in case I’m not home, because I don’t want to miss an installment. What are these shows? Reality TV for the most part, though some doubt the validity. I’m taking them with a grain of salt, but I do enjoy them, even if there is some scripting.

Alaska, the Last Frontier has just started a new season and it ends on a rough note. The show is about two brothers, Atz and Otto, and their families. Their father, Yule Kilcher moved to Alaska to escape Hitler’s reign and to create a life as a homesteader. So now, the sons are carrying on the family tradition with their sons and families, Atz Lee and Jane and Eivin and Eve. I like the dynamics and relationships and seeing the somewhat day to day living. It’s entertaining to see the interaction among all the family members, even when times get strained. In the end, you know there’s a lot of love. There is also a lot of mud, snow, and hunting. I’m not a big fan of hunting/fishing, but at least they eat and use what they kill. Otto raises cattle, so he doesn’t have to hunt for deer or bears. The group also have chickens, goats, and raise gardens for produce, which does get canned. You do get to see panoramas of Alaskan scenery. It is beautiful, but the cold winters are not for me.

Otto cracks me up. He has a great sense of humor and it comes out…like the time he had to move the outhouse, because a ‘poopsicle’ touched his butt. Okay, a bit TMI, but it was funny. He’s a creative guy who can fix just about anything. Every now and then, he gets a little crankly, but overall, he adds a lot of levity. I’m guessing he and Charlotte have no indoor plumbing. I was so surprised to see that Eiven and Eve had none. Eve grew up without it. Eivin did install ‘running water’, but it was a pipe connected to a creek. I was wondering how Eve was going to wash diapers without a decent washing machine. Otto and Charlotte did their laundry outside with an old wringer washer. They made it sound like ‘spring is here. Time to do laundry.’ Ga-ross! I need clean, so that wouldn’t work for me.

Side note: these families live not far from Homer, AK, and they do go to town for supplies. I’ve seen bananas at Eivin and Eve’s house and they are not grown that far north. Also, I have heard the senior members are millionaires, due to their land ownership. They do have lots of large equipment like backhoes, a barge, etc.  Also, Atz, Sr. is the father of singer Jewel and has been a musician himself. He and Jewel sing the show’s opener. This show has been nominated for an Emmy twice, for best reality series. I’m not the ONLY one who enjoys it.

Spoiler alert, if you aren’t aware of a significant member accident that takes place…skip to the next paragraph. I’m giving you a bit of space here, so you don’t see what I’m going to talk about, in case you really don’t want to know yet. What happened at the end of the season? Atz Lee was hiking and fell. He broke about 25 bones, including his shoulder, arm, ankle, hip, crushed ribs and punctured his lungs. He is on the mend, but isn’t leaving the cabin on two feet yet. We’ll find out more in the near future.  We also see the announcement of a new sibling for Eivin and Eve’s son Findley!

Update: Atz Lee is up and getting back to his old routine. Will he ever totally be healed? Not sure, but certainly functioning well. And, Eve and Eivin have a daughter, Sparrow.

Alaskan Bush People has drawn controversy, because they have basically been squatters trying to homestead property and it hasn’t worked out until last season, when they bought land on the most bear populated island in Alaska, Chichagof. Many think this is a fake show with actors, but I don’t buy that. This is a real family unit headed by Billy and Ami Brown. They have five sons and two daughters. I find all of them entertaining. Similar to Alaska, the Last Frontier, they try to live off the land. Again, I know they do buy items from town and for ‘living off the land,’ the fact that they have supposedly lost everything more than once, they do seem to have a lot of things.

This family seems a bit like a throw back, since the movies they reference are mostly from the past, due to limited viewing abilities. Gabe, the jokester does a mean Sean Connery. Like Otto Kilcher, Noah is the family tinkerer who can make something from nothing, like a generator, a dumb waiter, a dryer, and a shower. Matt the eldest is often goofy and acts more like the youngest boy, who is actually the rather staid and Medieval loving Noah. Throw the task master Bam and extreme tree climber Bear into the mix and it makes for entertaining show. The girls Snowbird and Rain (Merry Christmas Catherine Raindrop) often are background players, even though Snow can out-shoot her brothers when hunting. I really would like to know more about their daily diets. They do live away from civilization. From time to time they travel to town for pizza, supplies, and women. The last one is something I think will prove challenging. Billy and Ami want the boys to marry, but they aren’t exactly ready for civilized girls. There have to be some in Alaska, since these guys are close to the median age of the population. But finding someone who will want to live in Brown town might be elusive. A matchmaker did try. I was sad when tender soul Noah’s heart was broken by a failed friendship.

The back story on Billy is that he grew up in a well-to-do Texas family and was the sole member when his mother, father, and sister were killed in a plane crash on March 3, 1969 near Lake Travis, TX. Billy Joe Brown’s co-workers took over the company and 16-year-old Billy Bryan Brown was homeless for a while. I’m not sure how all of that happened. Billy has written a book about it, One Wave at a Time, but I haven’t read it.

I like this show, once again, because of the family dynamics and their bush lifestyle. Do they make it look easy? No. Living in a log trapper’s shack with moss for chinking or a tent or in Matt’s case, a plastic wrap hut doesn’t look look appealing. They are often wet from the seemingly constant drizzle and red-faced from the cool temps. They barter a lot of make ends meet and have plenty of mishaps, like the only source of transportation sinking or floating away. I do love the love this family shares. More. It’s what they say to each other when parting, short for “I love you more.” They are a tender-hearted family and it’s touching.

Living Alaska is an HGTV show that features families who want to live in the last frontier. Would I want to live there? Not really. I do get a kick out of people who move from North Carolina to frigid temps and think it’s funny…at first. I bet they don’t after the first long winter with very dark or sunny nights and 60-below wind chills.  The people who are shocked to hear a moose or bear might go through their backyard and eat their dog or worse…keep the kiddies in sight, shock me the most. They obviously don’t research places prior to moving. Hello, people, this is Alaska and you are in the animal’s territory. Those people need to stay in the lower 48. Oh, and if you build a house in Alaska, please add a door for the bathroom, a closet for each bedroom, and don’t forget the heated garage! Even I am shocked by the lack of bathrooms with doors or lofts that count as a bedroom. In the end for me, no worries. I plan to visit the last frontier, not live there. In the meantime, I certainly enjoy all these shows that show me what life can be when you’re trying to live off the land or seeing a setting with spectacular scenery and wildlife. Unlike most, I’d be photographing the fauna, not shooting.

My only complaint about these shows? I want more episodes!

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