‘Alaskan Bush People’ Season 11 Premiere: ‘Wind and Water’ (RECAP)
In the Alaskan Bush People season premiere episode “Wind and Water” (December 4), the Brown family kicks off their most ambitious plan to conquer the mountain yet. Bear and the siblings throw caution to the wind on a critical first project disassembling and transporting a salvaged 50-foot windmill.
Yet another Alaskan Bush People season premiere. If you’re keeping score at home, there have been three (THREE!) seasons of this dreck in 2019.
This ABP season has me particularly salty. It’s rather vindictive for Discovery to dump it on us during Christmastime, when my attempts to find joy and cheer and goodwill toward my fellow humans will be rudely interrupted by rage and gnashing of teeth as a result of hate-watching this TV abomination. My plan to while away December lounging hearthside with a snifter of cognac and a Meerschaum pipe of black cavendish in the glow of the Christmas tree has been shot to hell.
Well played, Zaslav. Well played.
Brown Star Ranch sits on the outskirts of the town of Loomis, Bushington, where the Brown family (minus Matt) continues to pursue Father Billy’s monthslong dream of owning and operating a self-sustaining ranch that will only succeed at sustaining this contemptible TV show.
On the subject of places nobody else kinda wants, Brownton Abbey is for sale! You can own a big piece of land and an even bigger piece of TV history for a cool $795,000.
Billy gathers together the Council of Browns and declares that water is the No. 1 most essential resource for the ranch. It’s so important that he waited nearly a year and a half to actually do something about it.
Well, Billy knows a guy (of course he does!) who has a windmill. If you know where this is going, it’s because we’ve already been there. The Browns spent nearly an entire season trying to acquire wind turbine parts from various remote places in Southeast Alaska. The Browns assembled the thing, pretended to use it for electricity, then ripped it down when they fled Alaska. The turbine was placed on a boat and was supposed to be delivered to the Browns’ new homestead, but we haven’t seen it since and I’m sure we’ll never see it again.
Windmill B.S. wasn’t entertaining then, and it sure as hell isn’t entertaining now. Plus, I used up all my good windmill jokes six seasons ago.
Noah and She Who Will Not Be Named take their infant son Elijah out to Bush Disneyland to scour piles of junk for parts to build a concrete mixer. Noah is actually going to go through with constructing this castle thing that will inevitably be his tomb.
If there’s one shot that completely sums up this episode, here it is:
That is creepy and bizarre and I’m pretty sure someone on the crew set that up and the post-production gang (Shout out to Post!) had the wisdom and sense of humor to include it in the final edit.
Noah’s kid is cute and I wish him nothing but the best in life. Unfortunately, he’s going to have a hard time shedding the weight of his family’s reputation.
Alaskan Bush People is really making a play at its core audience of geriatric cat hoarders with a scene featuring Birdy making a pillow out of the clouds of hair shed by her roughly 20 cats. My eyes are swelling shut just looking at this.
I imagine she’ll use the cats’ regurgitated hairballs to make a bracelet.
Over at Bear’s conex compound, he’s preparing for the big windmill job by building a “small utensil” for exercise.
It consists of a plank of wood, some ropes and some pulleys, and he’s basically using his body as the weight to lift. “It’s like the Bush equivalent of a gym,” he says. “I crave the burn. I crave to be tired.” He craves to be the worst personal trainer in Planet Fitness history.
Bear’s contraption reminds me of this exercise thing my mom had in the early ’80s. It was just some ropes and pulleys and you hooked it up to a doorknob and moved your limbs. It’s this thing Morty Seinfeld used:
Bear uses his utensil until he feels his “blood veins popping.”
I think Bear just had an embolism. If that doesn’t kill him, his utensil also carries a high strangulation risk. The future episode in which they find Bear’s asphyxiated corpse dangling from the shipping container is one I definitely want to recap.
The Browns make the uneventful two-hour drive from Loomis to Colville to meet Windmill Guy. The windmill is in the middle of an open field, surrounded by a marshy area. The Browns were unprepared for this (except for Bear, who brought spare tennis shoes along), so they fashion themselves some Bush waders by duct-taping garbage bags to their legs.
The windmill is 30 feet high, so Bear and Gabe will climb up the metal frame, dismantle the blades and gently lower them to the ground with ropes. The whole process is incredibly boring.
Adding a bit of Unnecessary Drama are the storm clouds gathering. I really want that windmill to harness at least 1.21 gigawatts of electricity while Bear and Gabe are up there, but I know that’s not going to happen. In fact, the storm never comes, it doesn’t even rain, and we have just been teased by our old friend Magically Disappearing Weather.
The time comes to remove the motor, which is probably too heavy for Bear and Gabe to safely lower by hand with ropes. Father Billy to the rescue! “Father Billy bartered with a local farmer [of course he did!] for an hour’s use of a cherry picker,” Our Dear Narrator Asa says.
I, for one, welcome the arrival of the cherry picker. It will certainly ease the removal of the motor, and it will help end this tedious scene a lot faster.
Once the motor is lowered, they start dismantling the metal frame. There’s a whole bunch of the “we need to work as a team” nonsense that they spend 10 minutes of every episode trying to reinforce to us. Bear is removing bolts from the frame while the others use ropes to keep the metal pieces from crashing down on them.
They are eventually successful, and there’s a minimum of bloodshed. Bear claims to have lost “most” of his finger, which is an exaggeration if there ever was one. There’s a little blood leaking from Bear’s blood veins, and they make a Bush bandage for it. Bear will deal with the sepsis later.
They load up the windmill pieces on the trailer, and that’s that. No lightning strikes. No impalements. No cherry-picker explosions. All we get is the Browns bitching about how nasty the swamp smells.
Let’s go back to the Noah see-ment mixer subplot and see if that’s more interesting. Noah plans to attach a 55-gallon oil drum to a motor using plans someone on the crew got off the internet.
Billy has tasked Noah and Bam with pouring the foundation for the windmill. The two brothers have not worked well together in the past, with Bam being the pragmatic one and Noah being the pompous pain-in-the-ass one.
Bam gives Noah the business about fatherhood and marriage making him tubbier. Bam is annoyed that Noah is constantly bringing up the kid, and Noah thinks Bam is jealous. Bam thinks Noah will be either a helicopter parent constantly hovering over Elijah or a snowplow parent removing all obstacles out of Elijah’s way.
Noah and She Who Will Not Be Named will give Elijah more than enough adversity, I am sure.
Noah and Bam argue about mixing concrete. Bam would rather mix it manually at the windmill site. Noah would rather mix cement back at his tent where he can plug in the electric motor and haul wheelbarrows back and forth. I don’t know the distance between Noah’s tent and the windmill site, but I’m guessing the concrete would dry and cure before he could get there to pour it. Bam thinks working on the cement mixer is a waste of time, and I believe he is drastically correct.
Shut up, Noah.
Noah claims to have a deep understanding of concrete consistency.
I repeat: Shut up, Noah.
In the interstitial segment, Rainy and Birdy want to make ice cream. Here’s the recipe:
Half-quart of freshly squeezed goat’s milk
Three cups of sugar
One large can of Swiss Miss instant hot cocoa mix
Pour all ingredients into a large glass jar.
Shake vigorously until the mixture has the consistency of wet cement
Vomit into nearby bucket
And, uh, that’s pretty much it for this episode. Watching an hour of nothing but cement drying would’ve been more worthwhile.
In the four or five future episodes of this season, we’ll see the Browns getting ostriches and trying to keep bears from eating them, we’ll see Gabe and Raquell get hitched six months after they legally did, we’ll see a near accident with a cherry picker, we’ll see the Browns pretending to flee a wildfire, and we’ll see some really gross kissy-face stuff with Bear and Raiv3n. It is going to suck harder than we could ever imagine.
It’s time for the season premiere edition of “That’s Matt!,” in which we take a social media look at Matt Brown’s sober adventures in Southern California.
In an Instagram video dated November 25, Matt posts “The cabbage never saw it coming…” as the video shows a food processor pulverizing what appears to be red cabbage.
This video had nearly 20,700 views, most likely from only three or four individuals who are really into cabbage porn.
Join us next week for another edition of “That’s Matt!”
Alaskan Bush People, Wednesdays at 8/7c, Discovery Channel