‘Alaskan Bush People’: ‘Strength in Numbers’ (RECAP)
On the Alaskan Bush People episode “Strength in Numbers” (July 5), the Browns continue to deal with the devastating medical news they’ve received about Ami. The family comes together hoping to hear good news soon.
“Strength in Numbers” contains roughly 10 percent new footage, and of that 10 percent, only 1 percent is worth a damn. Here is that 1 percent:
Discovery could’ve just aired that GIF for an hour, and it would be far superior to what they actually put onscreen. If I did the kind of half-assed work that Park Slope does, I’d be thrown out on the streets or end up as editor in chief of Inquisitr.
This episode opens in Southern California, where Bear is chasing a little lizard up a tree. [DIGRESSION! We were recently in L.A., and my sons were having a blast playing hide-and-seek with the lizards that were sunning themselves on the curb in the park. We should’ve just done that all day instead of paying $428 for tickets to Disneyland.]
Bear and Gabe are trying to find ways to maintain their AWESOME levels of EXXXXTREME in SoCal, and that means digging a hole in the yard of the property they’re renting so they can light a big fire in a drought-stricken area prone to wildfires. Idiots.
Fortunately, they don’t actually start the blaze. Gabe wants to kill something and asks Bear if there are any deer around there to hunt. Bear just shakes his head. You don’t want to shoot L.A. deer, anyway, as they’ve been known to shoot back. “Ha-HA!” as Matt would say 1,000 times before this episode ends.
Let’s hear Billy bloviate on the virtues of the Bush life that he does not actually live. “Every day is the unknown. Every hour is the unknown,” he says. Every hour I spend with this show is repetitive and predictable.
Then we have to sit through a lot of recycled scenes from Season 1, in which we find Billy and the boys walking through the muskeg (i.e. a bog) looking for a place to build their new cabin near Chitina. The ground is too squishy to build on, and there are too many mosquitoes. “Those things also carry small animals away,” Bear says. I assume he’s joking, but who the hell can tell anymore? That leads Gabe to swat away at the imaginary skeeters. Let’s just watch that again, shall we?
Ah, that’s the stuff. Anyway, Bear says something vague about how their time in Chitina didn’t go so well. In case you’ve forgotten, it was fake and bad and ridiculous and this show shouldn’t have gone on after that.
There’s some Lost Footage of Billy performing a duet with Sir Elton John.
And then we get to see the boys being terrible at throwing hatchets.
“It’s important to be a little bit competitive when you’re living in the Bush or things can get boring,” says Noah. Oh, we wouldn’t want things to get boring! Have you ever seen an episode of your show, Noah?
I’ve seen every episode. I have known much suffering.
This episode is really trying to sell us on the idea of the “unknown,” as though there weren’t a small army of production crew members trying to eliminate as much of the unknown as they can. Our Dear Narrator says, “For decades, the Brown family has braved the infinite unknown of the Alaskan Bush by embracing their environment and adapting on the fly.” The only “infinite unknown” about this show is when it will finally be put to eternal rest.
Back in SoCal, Birdy is dying of heat and Bear is about to spontaneously combust. He likes to start fires, you know. Fortunately, someone left an old hot tub in the yard, and if they bail out all the slime and algae, they can fill it with water from the garden hose. Bear wants to fill the hot tub with ice to make it a “cold tub” and experience EXXXXTREME hypothermia!
You’d think that watching Matt and Kenny fishing for squid at night would be entertaining. It is not.
This scene devolves into Matt and Kenny igniting road flares and throwing them into the water to see if they stay lit or float. I like how the producers are trying to air as much footage of Matt playing with fire as possible, just to set the stage for Matt blowing himself up later in the season. Matt and Kenny catch no squid, but they do manage to haul in an octopus.
“The Browns’ well-rounded education has enabled their entire way of life in the wild,” says Our Dear Narrator, who must’ve needed at least 20 takes to say that without laughing. “We were home-schooled, and so we learned all the things that normal people in school learn, and we also learned extra-curricular activities, such as, you know, how to survive,” says Bam. Oh, that’s pretty smug, Bam, even for you. I have nothing against home-schooling, so long as the teacher isn’t a high-school dropout who ran off at age 15 to get married to some creepy dude in his 20s. Rainy successfully completed Ami’s course on Bush Chemistry, but failed the class on hats.
I wonder what kind of crazy B.S. Matt is up to now. “OK, what kind of crazy B.S. are you up to now?” Bam asks Matt. Matt is doing some serious jackassery. He makes a dragon out of random garbage, then tries to make it breathe fire by pouring gasoline into its head and igniting it. “Trust me, it’ll be cool,” Matt says.
It is not cool. The dragon’s whole head catches fire and falls to the ground. It’s one big metaphor for Matt’s existence.
Since my July issue of Moss Aficionado magazine hasn’t arrived yet, I’m glad Bear is here to provide some of the moss enthusiast perspective. “Moss would technically qualify as being a part of the Bush,” he says. I was not aware there was debate about this, but thanks anyway, Bear. “I definitely have a high respect for it and one of the main smells when you’re going through the forest is actually moss.” Bam respects the danger. Bear respects the moss. EXXXXTREME!
With Ami being sick and Billy being a useless louse, they’re relying on their kids a lot more to get stuff done. “It isn’t the first time that Billy has relied on his kids in times of uncertainty,” says Our Dear Narrator. We get a flashback to when Bam captained the Integrity for a hauling job at Gustavus while Billy stayed home with Billy Brown Syndrome. “I’m not saying that I wasn’t apprehentious [sic] and I’m not saying that I didn’t have my doubts,” Billy says about letting Bam lead the mission. Then Bam rammed the dock. “It shook like the whole world, literally,” Bear says. Yes, I’m sure it registered on the Richter scale in Azerbaijan. Stick to moss, you halfwit.
Here’s more proof that every creative decision Park Slope makes is wrong. All the interesting people get cut from the episodes. There’s a bit of old Lost Footage from Season 1 in which Bam and Noah are thrift-store shopping for some blankets to stave off the cold in their trapper shack. There, we get introduced to this guy.
He is Gary Shramick. He also goes by “Shrambuie,” which is a portmanteau of Shramick and Drambuie, in case you wanted to know how drunk he is. “Oh, really? Well, there you go,” Bam uncomfortably replies. Shrambuie meets Noah, who is dressed in his usual Noah attire.
He he. No, he’s not a preacher. He’s just weird.
Bam says, “[Shrambuie] just reminded me of Matt, ’cause he, like, always has a spear.” Matt seems well on his way to becoming just like Shrambuie. Shrambuie is pleased to have met Bam Bam and his brother Noah, the aspiring preacher.
Did you ever notice how Bam makes matter-of-fact statements like “It’s a staircase,” “It’s a turbine” and “It’s a cow”? “I might be doing it just so people know what it is,” Bam explains. He’s usually just saying it to express his indifference. Rainy says that people might find that very sarcastic. He answers, “Me? Sarcastic? Never.” Excellent, Bam. Escaping your family has served you well.
It’s time for Billy to show Ami how much of an insensitive asshat he really is. Ami’s in bed, and Billy sits down next to her. He boo-hoos to her about how much the Bush is a part of him and he’s sad because he can’t go back to Brownton Abbey. “Just the thought that we can’t go back there is kinda getting to me,” he says to her. Oh, so sorry your wife’s advanced-stage cancer is such a major inconvenience for you, Billy. Hey, Billy, YOUR WIFE HAS CANCER.
Then there’s more nonsense how Brownton Abbey isn’t just a set for a TV show, but it’s a spirit or some junk they’ll always have in their hearts and memories or whatever. “Browntown was a living being inside of all of us for a long time now,” Billy says.
So it’s like a tapeworm?
At last, this episode ends. It was so bad, it made Kenny weep.
As a public service to keep you informed of what’s really happening with the Brown family, we present this sublime photo shared on Facebook: