‘Alaskan Bush People’ Special: ‘Chasing the Wolfpack’ (RECAP)


In the Alaskan Bush People special episode “Chasing the Wolfpack” (September 30), for the first time ever, film crews reveal the risk and reward of following the nine member Brown family in the wilderness from Alaska to the Pacific Northwest.

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Prepare for a whole new season with this list of memorable moments.

Yeah, I know it’s been about three weeks since it aired, but it’s taken me just that long to regain my strength and my senses after that epic beatdown the season finale gave me. Gathering up the will to write a recap of the behind-the-scenes “Chasing the Wolfpack” episode was no easy task. But I did it, and here it is. Now I can finally delete the Discovery GO app from my phone.

This is not the first time we’ve gotten to see how the ABP sausage is made. You have to go all the way back to the “Lost Footage” episode at the end of Season 2 (which Discovery magically changed to Season 3 because math is hard), for the crew’s perspective on their adventures bringing us some of the most enthralling images in vérité television.

I’m really disappointed that Asa, Our Dear Narrator, no longer calls it “Lost Footage.” I liked imagining that the missing ABP tapes were recently discovered in an archeological dig in the Yucatán, or that Geraldo Rivera found them in Al Capone’s vault or something. Don’t fret. To me, it will always be Lost Footage.

The Browns would like us to believe that they were hiding deep with the Alaskan Bush when some TV producers just stumbled upon them. Billy said producers found his family through a website Bam had created to promote Billy’s book, but there’s a lot of evidence proving the Browns had been actively trying to score a TV gig since at least 2009.

Also, the crew would like you to believe that the Browns are crazy independent and unpredictable and go wherever they want, whenever they want, and that makes it really hard to chase them around with cameras and microphones. No, the Browns go wherever the crew and the shooting script tell them to. Most shots are carefully set up. It’s the production crew’s job to make sure very little is left to chance. Sometimes a bear might appear or Matt might blow himself up with explosives and the crew has to change up on the fly, but that’s rarely ever happened on ABP.

That’s not to say that filming in rugged terrain or EXXXXTREME weather is easy. Take the case of poor Ray, a producer who got his foot caught in a snowbank. Despite wearing heavy boots, Ray somehow injured the plantar faschia area of his foot, requiring an ATV evac and a trip to the hospital. Methinks Ray contracted a case of Billy Brown Syndrome, which has been spreading like wildfire lately. Fortunately, Matt had supplies on hand for just this kind of emergency.

Matt’s “personal stash” here refers to the bandage and nothing else.

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The Discovery Channel series has blessed us with GIFs for every occasion.

The crew also had to adapt to the Browns’ way of life, and that meant pretending to barter for stuff. In this Lost Footage, we see producer/camera guy Alex Terrazas in negotiations with Gale, our favorite junkyard proprietor. Terrazas spots some nunchucks and a toy unicorn, and he offers Gale various kinds of fruit in exchange. After rejecting many fruits, Gale finally agrees to some red grapes, thereby completing the weirdest transaction in recorded human history.

Maybe you didn’t recognize him without the cigar, jacuzzi and fruity alcoholic beverage, but we finally get to see ABP sound guy and drone operator Cico Silva onscreen.

Cico (pronounced SEEK-o) is very adept at piloting the quad-copter aerial camera. What Cico really needs help with is driving his truck.

Cico looks incredibly chill for a guy who’s inches away from losing his Ford pickup to the floodwaters.

Cico gets his truck safely pulled out of the water, only so he can get it stuck in the mud later. Oh, Cico! What are we going to do with you?

Eventually they take the truck keys away from Cico and just wheel him around on a dolly.

Rainy has taken up an interest in sound recording, and she’s occasionally worked as Cico’s apprentice capturing audio for scenes that will get cut from the show. Where can I inquire about the free hugs?

If you ask me, handing any kind of production equipment to the Browns is just asking for trouble.

It’s not like Bear needs any more infantile ways to express his narcissism.

Go to the light, Gabe! GO TO THE LIGHT!

Even something as simple as a radio makes Matt drunk…with power!

The interstitial segment is about the “Brownisms” that the family uses to communicate. Cico says the crew filled up three notebooks with them. (Cico, I will barter for these notebooks! What’s your favorite cigar size? Is it Robusto?) While the show would like us to think the Browns have developed their own complex verbal and nonverbal languages, most of the time they’re just abusing English.

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Like when Mother Ami said bears “ravished” their house and water had “medicinal probabilities.” Billy once said he was feeling “apprehentious.” The kids have made “imprintions” on more than one occasion. My personal favorite is when Bam said Billy was “discoherent” after one of his seizures.

Thus ends our long, tedious odyssey through Season 8ish of Alaskan Bush People.

Time to boogly down at the discoherence.