‘Alaskan Bush People’: ‘Clear and Pheasant Danger’ (RECAP)


On the Alaskan Bush People episode “Clear and Pheasant Danger” (August 18), the Wolfpack’s first pheasant hunt turns into a competition in anticipation of a much-needed, post-Thanksgiving celebration. Later, Billy and Ami surprise the family with new additions to the ranch that will bring them closer to their roots.

This episode, titled “Clear and Pheasant Danger,” suggests some Tom Clancy-style covert military operations, perhaps involving long-tailed game birds. Having sat through this dull affair, I can tell you there is nothing of the sort. The pheasants pose no threat to Billy’s months-long dream of a sustainable ranch.

I suggest that the episode be retitled “No Time Like the Pheasant,” “Pheasant Company Excluded,” “Alfred Hitchcock Pheasants” or any such play on words in which “present” can be replaced with “pheasant.”

It’s Thanksgiving-ish at Brown Star Ranch. Everyone has been working hard/hardly working and the Browns haven’t had much time for fun, taking bathroom selfies or for “vigilante-ism.”

Doesn’t Noah own 20 capes?

Mother Ami makes her first real appearance of the season as she sits down with Billy to discuss all the hard work their kids are doing, their growing family (including a daughter-in-law and “one perspective [sic] of a daughter-in-law”), and which one of them loves the other one … more.

It’s decided that they will have some sort of post-Thanksgiving feast and the kids will go out to shoot a bunch of pheasants on land that Billy arranged for them to hunt (a.k.a. land on which Park Slope paid to have a guided pheasant hunting tour).

Meanwhile, Noah is preparing a feast of scrambled eggs and ham while lifting weights, because She Who Will Not Be Named likes to have her food perspired on.

Noah tells his wife that he’s going to set aside his baby-harming projects for the day and partake in the family fun by building a bobsled.

Then Noah’s wife tries to make him feel better by reminding him that muscles require a gut to feed them. It’s not a beer belly, it’s a gas tank for a sex machine!

Before there can be feasting, there must be terrible entertainment! As they’ve done in the past, the Brown kids put on a talent show for their parents.

First up, Birdy plays the wine goblets. We hear two seconds of it, and that’s plenty, thank you.

Next up, Gabe yodels and dances for our amusement. We get two seconds of it, and that’s plenty, thank you.

Rainy sings and plays the ukulele. We get two seconds of it, and that’s plenty, thank you.

Finally, Bam recites Shakespeare’s Sonnet 54. We hear two seconds of it, and that’s plenty, thank you.

Bam takes the rest of this episode off, because he hates all of this B.S. and is just here for the paycheck.

Birdy, Bear, Gabe and Rainy embark on the pheasant hunt. They set up camp and dine on grilled bison and wool sock.

The Browns have always been competitive with each other, and they make a contest of the hunt by dividing into teams. It’s Gabe and Birdy vs. Bear and Rainy to see who can kill the most birds. Bear talks about his competitive spirit and how he actually prefers losing over winning, which is what you always want to hear from your teammate.

That’s loser talk! He tries to explain his logic, but like so many things about this show, no sense can be made of it.

Morning comes and the shootin’ starts. Birdy blasts some birds, while Gabe gets nothing.

Bear and Rainy score some kills, and even Gabe starts hitting the mark.

Eh. That was dull. At least it was a way to eat up screen time and watch pheasants explode. Still better than listening to Billy. [Update: A few pheasant hunters noted that these birds were probably raised in a pen and then released on a preserve, which would explain why they were so slow and why one of them actually had to be kicked before it would fly. An AP story on South Dakota’s pheasant-hunting scene states, “Wildlife biologists agree that farmed pheasants lack the instincts, cunning and flight skills of wild birds.” So basically, these birds were so unfit for survival in the wild that even the Browns could shoot them.]

Noah has completed his “Accele-sled,” which he assembled out of a bed frame, some old skis, a snowboard and some seats. It also has a … battery?

Yeah, the stupid sled has headlights and taillights.

The sled is a huge failure. It cannot be steered and crashes shortly after takeoff. Should’ve installed some Martin-Bakers on that thing.

Bear tries snowboarding instead, and he faceplants beautifully. If he likes losing, then he must be the happiest man in the world.

Gabe and fiancée Raquell are cooking up the pheasants in a skillet over an open fire with some seasonings and a crap-ton of butter.

Gabe says that cooking is a great way for “outsiders” like Raquell to ingratiate herself into Billy’s creepy cult.

Gabe burns his hand on the skillet, and Raquell applies first aid to his boo-boos.

In the interstitial segment, Birdy and Rainy are making “cakes” for their goats. It’s further proof that goats will eat anything, even something prepared by these two halfwits.

We get the most unnecessary of Unnecessary Dramas when Billy calls Birdy and Rainy to look at something in the barn. We’re led to believe that something — probably El Chupacabra — got in there and killed all their livestock, and Billy wants to show his daughters the carnage.

Nah! It’s just Silly Billy playing a prank! He brokered a deal with a local rancher and got them each a horse. (He doesn’t tell Birdy and Rainy that they’ll have to work in the rancher’s fields all summer as part of the barter.)

Birdy gets a horse and immediately she wants to do stupid things with it.

Finally, it’s dinner time. Mother Ami loves the smell of the log table. Seriously, have you smelled the table? Smell the table. Why aren’t you smelling it? YOU MUST SMELL THE [email protected]#$%^& TABLE!!

We’re told that pheasant doesn’t taste like chicken; it tastes like pheasant. Bear is pheasantly surprised!

Then stuff gets weird. Billy says, “Little Kitten’s gonna have a kitten,” using his pet name for She Who Will Not Be Named. Agh! Not while we’re eating!

And then he mentions Raquell, the other new addition to the family, sitting waaaaaaaay over there. She Who Will Not Be Named takes a passive-aggressive shot at Gabe’s fiancée, calling her “a very quiet addition.” Perhaps Raquell just knows when to shut the hell up, unlike some other recent addition to this family.

Then Billy breaks into his spiel about the Good Lord rewarding him for being an idiot.

You see, Billy has faith that the Good Lord has faith in them that as long as they stick together (without Matt), they can dupe Discovery Channel executives into buying an 11th-ish season of this dumpster fire.

It’s time now for another edition of “That’s Matt!,” in which we take a social media look at Matt’s sober offscreen adventures:

Matt posted a picture of this little toy dinosaur on Instagram. It had 370 likes within 30 minutes. People on Instagram are just the worst.

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