‘Alaskan Bush People’: ‘Bird and the Bees’ (RECAP)


In the Alaskan Bush People episode “Bird and the Bees” (September 16), Ami prepares for a critical doctor check-up, but Billy has concerns about progress on the homestead while they’re away. A rogue bear destroys Bam’s new beehives forcing the kids to rebuild the hive and save the bees before it’s too late.

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“Bird and the Bees” really plumbs the depths of stupidity. This episode bends the logic and reasoning of even the most deluded ABP superfan to their breaking points. Worse, it’s boring, repetitive, boringly repetitive and repetitively boring.

How do you keep cool in the Washington Bush? You enjoy a lollipop while burying yourself. You know that method of torture/execution where they bury someone up to the neck, slather their head in honey and just let the ants chow down on them? The only fate worse than that is watching Alaskan Bush People.

Most of the time, mosquitoes are my sworn enemies. I am the compassionate sort who sets most spiders and bugs free, but I grant mosquitoes no such clemency. Screw mosquitoes…unless they’re bugging the Browns.

Noah says he wants to make useful things that improve the lives of others. Instead, he makes stuff like the “adequately named” Zapper Hat. This scene was already shown to us in the “Back to the Bush” episode. It was terrible the first time, and it hasn’t gotten any better since then.

I’ll spare you the details again, but Noah installs a bug zapper into top hat and makes Gabe read the Gettysburg Address while wearing it. Noah says that “Tesla would be proud” of this invention. More likely, Tesla would be trying to figure out how to obliterate Brown Star Ranch with his giant death ray.

Gabe says the “possibilities are endless” for Noah’s invention, so long as you’re an imbecile sitting alone and motionless in the woods wearing a glowing top hat.

Our Dear Narrator says that “the Browns’ North Star Ranch is at risk of unraveling,” though it was never raveled to being with. Mother Ami has to return to Los Angeles for a cancer checkup, which is one hell of a drive for a doctors appointment. Billy and Mother Ami will be gone for a while, and the kids will have to do all the work on building Billy’s Colossal Dream Barn. So, really, this changes nothing.

While Brown Star Ranch’s unraveling threatens to forever jeopardize the nine-member Brown family’s future dream of living self-sustainably, Rainy and Gabe find time to build a little screw village. There are many jokes available to me, but I’m going to go with “screwing around” because I am lazy and this scene doesn’t deserve the A material.

Elsewhere, Matt and Bam visit the dump to look for some food-grade scrap metal that Matt might be able to turn into a Bush Smoker. We’ve already seen about 17 different Bush Smokers built on this series, and one more ain’t gonna hurt anybody.

You know what can hurt somebody? Nosic [sic] fumes!

Hey, Bam! Look! You’re [sic] own dumpster, bro!

Matt finds a scrapped water heater tank and gets the same idea lots of people on the internet already had.

Back at Brown Star Ranch, work resumes on Billy’s Colossus of Husbandry. Mostly, it’s an opportunity for Birdy to stick more gross stuff in her mouth.

We find the Brown kids building a water level to ensure that the posts cemented into the ground are all the same height. (Here’s a good explanation of how a water level system works.) You don’t really need to know how this works, because the Brown kids don’t know either and you never see them measure anything with it. They’d rather suck filthy water from plastic tubing and make fools of themselves for our entertainment.

I haven’t seen anyone do that since college.

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Meanwhile, Matt is busy welding his Bush Smoker together, when suddenly…

A bear! The Lower 48 also has bears! This land of WASH-ing-TON is truly enchanted, what with its bears and mosquitoes and limbless snakes and such.

As we know from having previously seen this in “Unbreakable Will” and countless other previews, Bam constructed some beehives for Brown Star Ranch. Bees are good. They pollinate plants. They give us honey. They make for funny classic SNL musical sketches.

They also attract bears. A bear got into Bam’s hives and went to town on them.

According to Matt, a smarter-than-average bear took the compost barrel, threw it into the wire fence, shorted out the electrical system and got busy with the honey. According to Birdy, it was a total “massacure.”

Rather than going to tell Bam about what happened to his beehives, Birdy, Gabe and Matt take it upon themselves to rescue the bees. They make a beekeeper suit out of an old tarp, some duct tape and a motorcycle helmet.

Oh, yeah, bees can totally tell the difference between a moron wrapped in duct tape and someone coming to save their hive. When a manic, foolhardy simpleton is exposed to nosic [sic] fumes at a scrapyard, he morphs into the disappointment known only as… BEEKEEPER MAN!

I wanted to get the apiculturist’s perspective on this scene, so I consulted with a friend who has hives on his land in Klickitat County, Wash. I sent him the “Beekeeper Man” video clip for his critique.

“Interesting that they apparently bought a bunch of brand new Langstroth hives but forgot to buy a bee suit or veil at the same bee supply outlet,” he tells me.

How could the bees have been installed without a suit? “There are crazy guys who don’t use suits, but they use a lot of smoke,” he says. Given that Bam respects the danger at all times, you’d better believe Bam would be doing this with a suit. So why then is there not a bee suit? Because Bam didn’t build these hives and all of this is B.S.

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“I’m also a little suspicious of the bear throwing the compost bucket to short out the fence,” my friend adds. “There are smart bears, but electric fences are the gold standard in keeping bears out of your hives.”

So how then could a bear defeat this electric fence and ransack the hives? And why then is there video footage of the bear walking around the fence, yet there’s no video footage of the epic Bear vs. Bees battle? Because none of it happened and all of this is B.S.

Billy puts Bird in charge of barn construction while he and Mother Ami are in Los Angeles. “I’m gonna leave you the best crew I can,” Billy says. “And, uh, take Bear.” The best crew possible is a crew without Bear? AWESOME!

Birdy immediately starts displaying the confidence needed to command respect from underlings.

Oh, well, in that case. There’s a rather pointless scene of Unnecessary Drama in which Gabe is hoisted up by the skid steer so he can cut off the top of a post with a chainsaw.

But an emergency brings all construction to a halt. The Brown family’s future hangs in the balance for the 57th time this season.

What is it with the Browns getting their asses handed to them by spiders? At least this isn’t as serious as the time Billy’s Grand Vision was threatened because a cat peed on Gabe’s jeans. For her next trick, Rainy will attempt to bring Gabe safely down to earth without ramming the skid steer’s shovel into every post.

There are many options for jokes here, but they are better left to your imagination.

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During their weekly mother/daughter stone-stacking session, Birdy seeks wisdom from Mother Ami about how she was able to keep all of her pain-in-the-ass kids in line. Mother Ami tells Birdy that the power to be overbearing and stifling has been within her all along.

There, that was not at all creepy. Mother Ami tells Birdy that life isn’t all work, work, work, work, work, work, work and work. Birdy should still make time for fun things like talking to squirrels, rolling in dirt, drinking contaminated water and sticking random objects in her mouth.

Billy has a different opinion on the matter.

Birdy says her crew should take a break and cool off by building a dam like they used to back on P.O.W. (Prince of Wales Island), before Billy forced them to act like circus seals on TV. Ah, those were the days.

Bam welcomes the chance for a respite, since he’s tired of all the drama that he’s largely responsible for creating.

This dam-building thing is just Brown kids frolicking around in a turbid, shallow creek. Birdy gulps up the muddy water. Rainy dares her to swallow it, but Bam says that is really “ill-advisable.”

Someone tells Birdy that she swims like a dolphin. Birdy then does a dolphin impression, which is just a total massacure on all the senses.

Matt’s Bush Smoker is complete, and he did it without having to be airlifted to a trauma center. Billy is very pleased with Matt’s contribution to the family. It is much better than Bam and his stupid bees. Billy is literally blown away.

Behold! The smoker contains meat that didn’t come out of a can! Those look like some tasty ribs on the grill. I don’t know where these ribs came from, since none of the Browns have killed anything for food recently. Maybe this meat is left over from when the Browns shot that wild pig back in California a few seasons ago. Or maybe they just bought it at Walmart like everything else they own.

This Bush Smoker isn’t like the other 17 Bush Smokers the Browns built. This one is a symbolic Bush Smoker. It symbolizes Matt’s transformation from a reckless menace to a semi-functional crackpot.

…and then went over the CLIFFS OF INSANITY!

The Browns feast together on succulent ribs, using each other’s clothes as Bush Napkins.

Then it’s time for Father Billy, Mother Ami and useless imp Bear to depart for their long journey to Los Angeles.

The interstitial segment shows Bear doing his EXXXXTREME swinging shtick again, this time with a rope tied to a tree perched on the edge of a cliff. Bear swings a few times, nearly impaling himself on some tree branches during one attempt and slamming into the trunk in another. Shout out to Post for that!

Next week: The unraveling of Brown Star Ranch continues as the family members left behind in Washington descend into an anarchic, feral state in which they resort to licking rocks and eating mosquitoes for mere survival.

Bee kind to the bugs, yo!

Alaskan Bush People, Sundays, 9/8c, Discovery Channel