'Alaskan Bush People': 'Field of Dreams' (RECAP)

Ryan Berenz

On Discovery Channel's Alaskan Bush People episode "Field of Dreams" (Feb. 15), Billy bites off more than they can chew for a last minute barter as the family tries to secure their stores for winter. A rogue bear is playing havoc with Browntown.

Here's an episode tailor-made for those of us who like to watch the Browns fail at stuff. I really think the producers are making this show more palatable to the very large segment of the audience that hate-watches it. There's some satisfaction in watching the Browns try to execute impractical ideas and seeing them collapse and crush their other impractical ideas, even if we know that collapse is all part of the act. Maybe that's why Bam wanted out. He was sick of watching his family being portrayed as incompetent boobs for our amusement.

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The episode opens with Gabe, Rainy and Birdy taunting Sabrina the cow. Gabe seems to think Sabrina can be made to do tricks. "They have, like, circus cows, right?" he asks. They're playing the who-do-you-love-more game, and Rainy eventually wins. Then Sabrina lets out a long, powerful stream of urine just to show her contempt for them.

[DIGRESSION! I had a wonderful high-school history teacher who urinated on the Berlin Wall (presumably on the Western side) beneath a guard tower to show his contempt for it. My point is that peeing on something is a great way to show contempt for it.]

Noah says he can't fix the wind turbine that came gloriously crashing down in last week's episode. He didn't seem to try very hard. As Brown luck would have it, Brown family benefactor "Haulin' Paulie" Weltzin says he knows a guy, Wes, who may have some wind turbine parts. Billy tries hailing Wes on his boat, "The Dirty Oar" (Ha! Get it?), for a few days before finally getting a response. Wes has some turbine parts, and Billy offers lumber in a barter. As Brown luck would have it, Wes is building an "outbuilding" and is in need of 7,000 board feet of lumber. This is a tall order, and Billy knows it, and he makes a counter-offer of 5,000 board feet. Wes agrees to 5,000, but only if they can deliver in four days, because Wes understands the principles of Fake Urgency. "I'm extremely concerned about how much wood he wants," says Billy. Yeah, maybe you shouldn't commit Matt's barely functional Bush sawmill to mass-production of lumber.

And why is Bear wearing a sleeveless man fur?

Billy's hellbent on this wind turbine thing that he's been talking about forever but we're first hearing about in Season 6ish. Since his original tripod apparatus couldn't withstand Bear and Gabe's overzealousness, much less a wind turbine, Billy rethinks the concept. He buys four 60-pound bags of ready-mix concrete so Bear can punch them open. The good people at Quikrete took notice and posted this on their Facebook page:

Alaskan Bush People Cast Mixes QUIKRETE "Just Like Mixing Hot ...

Who needs a #concrete mixer when you have siblings and a few bags of #QUIKRETE? The cast of Alaskan Bush People gets it....How will you mix it up?

Posted by Quikrete on Thursday, February 16, 2017

Quikrete: For people who want their terrible ideas to set hard in approximately 20-40 minutes.

Rainy alerts Billy to some beaver activity near Brownton Abbey.

Maybe Billy could put this "Ambitious Beaver" to work milling 5,000 board feet of lumber in four days. The beaver is not the issue, though, as Rain spots a bunch of chewed-up salmon meat along the creek. Billy says there's definitely a bear around who didn't get the memo about hibernation. The Browns will have to be careful. Good thing Matt built that bear-proof meat shed!

Oh, so sorry. Matt's meat shed got ripped open like it was made of plastic wrap. A bear helped itself to the meat, leaving behind the skins, hair, teeth and eyeballs.

Even though I know there was no meat in there and there was no real bear break-in (Wouldn't they have footage of it from the trail camera?), I still very much enjoy the look of Sad Billy.

And if that didn't cheer you up, here's another one:

Matt's going to remedy this problem in the most entertaining way possible: With a visit to Kenny from the dump! Matt skiffs it into Hoonah (it takes 90 minutes this time) and meets up with Kenny, who is just giddy as all get-out to see his buddy. We discover that Kenny keeps severed deer heads in his truck. Matt then butchers the line from Hamlet:

Kenny has no idea what Matt's trying to allude to, but he laughs anyway, because Kenny laughs at anything. Then Kenny regales us with what has become known throughout Hoonah and surrounding areas as "The Legend of the Great BA-GOOM!":

Well, it’s the only way I can protect it out here, ‘cause the bears are freaking running around, you know? I was supposed to go goat hunting and moose hunting, but, like, a day before my partner got chewed up on that mountain up there by a bear. Yeah. Oh, yeah. Good thing there was two people, you know what I’m saying? He had to end up shooting a bear and killing a bear when it was trying to bite him in the head. It had him pinned down and it was gonna, you know, PBHT!, finish him, and his partner BA-GOOM! Yeah. That’s why I didn’t go goat hunting and moose hunting over there.

May the Good Lord bless and keep you always, Kenny. Matt finally gets down to brass tacks and tells Kenny that he's in the market for a freezer. "Does Kenny take the best stuff from the dump and squirrel it away in his backyard? Of course he does!" Matt says. "I mean, he gets there before the place even opens up!" As Brown luck would have it, Kenny’s got a freezer in the dump that he doesn't need.

RELATED: Channel Guide Magazine's AWESOME And EXXXXTREME Alaskan Bush People Archive

And now it's time to make your skin crawl, as Asa, Our Dear Narrator, says that "Noah takes some time to advance Browntown in a different way." Jeez, they're not going to show us THAT, are they? "I feel a lot stronger for Noah than I probably should at this stage in our relationship," says Rhain, who plays the part of Noah's woman with sickeningly feigned gusto. They take a little canoe trip and set out a blanket on the shore, where Noah breaks out the orange cream soda and the cookies. To Noah, this counts as third base.

Bear is busy punching and collecting ice for the new freezer, while Birdy and Gabe are milking Sabrina and sitting in feces.

"I was wondering what was warm back there," Gabe says. Well, that's OK. I didn't have much of an appetite today, anyway.

"Sabrina, the family's most important achievement of the winter, has slowed milk production and the family is concerned for her health," says Asa, Our Dear Narrator. Of course, had they bothered to read this newspaper article that says "her milk was drying up," they might have known that, you know, her milk was drying up. "This isn't just one cow. It represents the independence of Browntown," exaggerates Billy. Perhaps Billy can barter the cow for some magic beans. "This cow, it's a necessity if we're gonna grow, if we're gonna continue to live the dream," continues Billy with his craziness. I haven't seen anyone with so much riding on a cow since Edward G. Robinson in The Ten Commandments.

Let's check in on Matt and Gabe, who have cut about 2,000 feet of shoddy-looking lumber, not even halfway to the 5,000 feet that they need to fill their end of the barter. Matt's saw is literally a piece of garbage, and I'm wondering how the Barter Fairies are going to bail the Browns out this time. They also have a gas problem, in that the sawmill is rapidly chugging down the fuel. Matt went to the dump in Hoonah. Noah shuttled Rhain back and forth from Hoonah. Billy bought sacks of concrete in Hoonah. And NO ONE THOUGHT OF BUYING GAS in Hoonah? Brownton Abbey deserves to swallowed up by a giant hellmouth.

Noah's hard at work on an incredibly stupid, ineffective project. He's making an electric fence using PVC pipe, chicken wire and an old battery. (Read this nice how-to on electrified bear fencing at your leisure.) Noah gets Bear to be his guinea pig, and Bear touches the fence twice, getting a nice shock. "The first one stopped my heart and the second one started it back up!" Bear says. The fence may have enough juice to zap Bear, but I'm not sure that it's going to have much effect on a large bear. I hope the bear shows its contempt by peeing on the electrified fence.

The Browns are concerned about their sacred cow, so Billy gets a veterinarian, Dr. Sabrieta Holland of Knik River Veterinary Services from Palmer, which is way the hell over near Anchorage. (They failed to blur out all of the identification on Dr. Holland's clothes in every shot.) Palmer is 531 miles away from Hoonah as the crow flies and would take almost 23 hours to drive/ferry there. Palmer is an insanely long way to go for a veterinarian is what I'm getting at. Dr. Holland says the first thing they need to give Sabrina a pregnancy test. "Texans know how cows get checked for pregnancy," Billy laughs, as we have to watch Dr. Holland go shoulder-deep into Sabrina to determine that she's not pregnant. Sabrina's an older cow, and if she doesn't have a calf every now and then, she won't give milk. Dr. Holland suggests that they set Sabrina up on a date with a bull on the next island and see what happens. So the Browns arrange for Sabrina to go 15 miles away "to spend 20 days with the local bull." Now, I'm wondering if it doesn't make more sense to have Sabrina artificially inseminated. So here I am Googling stuff about bull semen and Google is suggesting I search for "bull semen in energy drinks" and this research is going lots of places I don't want it to.

In the all-important interstitial segment, we find Rainy, Birdy and Ami making jerky, and trying to remember the ingredients for Teriyaki seasoning. Rain dumps a ton of mesquite powder into a bowl, resulting in lots of high-pitched sneezing from Birdy. And there you have that.

Desperate for fuel to keep Matt's scrapyard sawmill running, Billy sends Bear to the Integrity to siphon every last drop of gas out of its generator. Then Billy dispatches Imperator Furiosa to get guzzoline from Gas Town and bullets from the Bullet Farm.

Next week, the season finale!: The family's barter "ends in disaster" as Wes is none too pleased with what Billy brings to the table.

Where's your messiah now, Billy?

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