‘Alaskan Bush People’ Season 12 Premiere: ‘Life in the Extreme’ (RECAP)

Alaskan Bush People Season 12 Premiere
Discovery Channel

Alaskan Bush People

Life in the Extreme

Season 12 • Episode 1

On Discovery Channel’s Alaskan Bush People Season 12 premiere episode, “Life in the Extreme” (August 23), the Browns scramble to pull off an “extreme” wedding on the mountain.

Before we can commence with the facetious recapping festivities, there are serious matters to discuss:

As of Tuesday morning, the Palmer Fire has burned more than 17,000 acres and forced evacuations throughout the area. The fire is 49% contained. There were a total of 606 personnel involved in fighting the fire at an estimated cost of $4.6 million. The cause is still unknown. The Washington Department of Natural Resources is responsible for conducting an investigation.

The fire is believed to have originated on Federal land, near a road that was being heavily traveled at the time by the Alaskan Bush People filming crew.

Firefighters dispatched aerial units to contain the fire early, but reports of a drone flying above the area forced the aircraft away from the airspace. With firefighters unable to drop water or fire retardant from the air, the fire spread.

Many families who live on Palmer Mountain have lost their homes. Efforts are underway to raise funds to help those affected.

Major structures on Brown Star Ranch were reportedly lost in the fire. Livestock (Longhorn steers, horses, goats, ostriches, etc.) could not be evacuated safely and most were cut loose.

The Browns don’t live on Brown Star Ranch, but Billy will try to capitalize on Losing Everything Again and make sure you know he’s a victim in all of this. It’s what he does.

It’s inconsequential to speculate on the future of Alaskan Bush People while the fire is still burning, but it’s going to have to be addressed at some point. If the Park Slope production crew started the fire through negligence or hindered firefighting efforts by flying drones to capture footage for the show, they should be held accountable.

If Park Slope is accountable, then Discovery Channel should have a deep examination of conscience and decide if profiting from a disaster caused by one of their productions is something they want to do. If Discovery continues to profit from it, then they should be held accountable also.

As philosopher John Stuart Mill said in 1867, “Let not any one pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part, and forms no opinion. Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.”

On to the recap:

Bear is frolicking in the snow, spouting some nonsense about Star Trek. We are witnessing a man spiraling into the depths of madness.

In the solitude of his dark tent, he turns the video camera on himself and stares into the abyss. The abyss stares back.

It’s early fall on Brown Star Ranch, but WINTER IS RIGHT THERE!

Gabe and Birdy waste time having a “rock race.” They’re rolling rocks down a hill and seeing which rock hits a rusty metal milk can first. This is what passes for entertainment in the Washington Bush. This is also what passes for entertainment on Discovery Channel.

There’s Fake Urgency on two fronts. Billy wants his kids to build him a fancy two-story cabin so Gabe, Noah and their respective spouses and kids can live with him and be miserable. The foundation for this cabin must be laid before winter, which, as we mentioned earlier, IS RIGHT THERE.

There’s a short scene of Noah and Billy playing around with their tractors and pretending to level the land for the foundation. Well, Billy has done his part. It’s back to the couch for him.

There’s also the Fake Urgency of Bear and Raiv3n wanting to get married posthaste before either one of them can realize just how stupid this is. Raiv3n is already preggers at the time this scene was shot. She looks terrified and wants to run away. Bear looks totally dumbstruck in love, poor fool.

They’re planning the wedding reception in the barn and trying to figure out where to put the horse and relocate the chickens to where they won’t get stomped on by the Browns’ terrible dancing. It’s sad/funny watching them work out the minor details of a wedding that ain’t happening.

Billy and Mother Ami are sentimental about Bear getting married. This is Bear’s first “serious” human romantic relationship, and it’s all happened so fast. Remember the days when the producers brought in fake dates to pretend to like the boys?

Bear’s pyromania is just disturbing now that their whole mountain is on fire.

Fake Urgency sends Gabe and Bam out on a Very Important Hunt to shoot a deer for the nuptial feast. The brothers wear blaze orange (finally!) and head out into the woods. Gabe brought face paint so they can camouflage themselves at Mardi Gras.

Gabe and Bam decide to camouflage themselves with mud, which leads to the topic of Predator and Gabe doing an Arnold Schwarzenegger impression that manages to insult Austrians, Australians and people with good taste in movies.

Bam was tired of being cast as the villain, so he’s got a softer, kinder, gentler edge to his character now. He’ll listen and think about his siblings’ ideas before saying how crappy they are.

After walking around in the woods for hours, they come upon Rainy’s little trailer house that Rainy probably hasn’t set foot in since it was built. Gabe suggests that they go inside, turn on the oven and hope a deer just pops in.

They build a hunting blind, which is just a little makeshift structure where they can sit for hours and wait for a deer to walk by. Where I’m from, this activity usually involves drinking a lot of beer and shooting the breeze. They’ve mastered one of those two arts.

Gabe makes a deer call out of sticks and grass, but blowing into it only produces a flatulent noise. Bam demonstrates:

They don’t kill a deer, but they kill an awful lot of screen time.

Elsewhere, at a time and place where it’s not raining, Noah is making the Fake Urgency of the cabin his top priority, and he enlists wife She Who Will Not Be Named, infant son Elijah and sister Birdy to go with him to the scrapyard to procure some rebar. They encounter scrapyard guy Jason, whose role consists of standing there with a blank expression and reciting the line he spent all night rehearsing. Jason has some rebar for which he’s willing swing a fake barter deal. If Noah cuts through that piece of metal over there, they can take all the rebar they want.

People can rest assured that when they barter with the Browns, they’re getting a square deal.

All of the LOLs.

Noah gets out his welding torch while he leaves the job of loading the rebar up to his sister and his wife, who refuses set the kid down in a car seat for 10 minutes. Noah forgets how acetylene works because he’s got his torch’s fuel mix all messed up. Unnecessary Drama via Equipment Malfunction.

Noah encounters more Unnecessary Drama on the road back to Brown Star Ranch when the poorly secured load of rebar in the trailer comes loose and the trailer blows a tire. Noah acts like he’s a genius for being able to use an rusty old jack to replace the tire. Gold star for Noah.

Birdy, She Who Will Not Be Named and Elijah start hiking down the road looking for rogue rebar. The future of the family forever hangs in the balance because one missing piece of rebar could put Father Billy’s monthslong dream in jeopardy. All the rebar is rescued, the tire is repaired and this inessential scene can mercifully end.

Having failed to harvest a deer, Gabe goes out to the middle of nowhere to display his Bush culinary skills. He’s making a casserole recipe that’s been in Father Billy’s family for generations and not one that was plucked off Paula Deen’s website by an intern that morning. It involves a bunch of spaghetti, some chicken, a few fresh vegetables and some unlabeled canned goods from Mother Ami’s Magic Bowl. Unfortunately, Gabe is unfamiliar with the pasta/water procedure and cooks up a dish of inedible garbage.

The wedding is still days away, so I’m not sure why Gabe is cooking this now. Does he plan on letting it spoil it in the fake meat locker shed? My guess is the production crew just tossed it to the goats.

Bear is busy preparing his Connex house for his bride to move in with him. This involves building a stone wall so that Raiv3n won’t be able to escape.

Bear is also practicing to serenade Raiv3n with some gnarly shredding on his electric guitar that — thank the Good Lord — is not hooked up to an amp.

In another interstitial segment from the “Crazy Stuff Birdy Eats” collection, Birdy is eating a lightly seasoned raw white onion. She’s filling her nutritional requirements of iron for the whole month. Noah’s going to weld her.

All is going well with the ill-fated wedding preparations. Birdy and She Who Will Not Be Named (Birdy calls her “Alisha”) are putting Raiv3n’s feet to the freezer.

And then … Black Screen of Fake Doom!

Some production crew members turn on their cameras and start chattering to each other about Bear going missing. Birdy declares a level of EXXXXTREME emergency usually reserved for outbreaks of Billy Brown Syndrome. She pleads with the camera crew for privacy.

This scene ripped right out of Bachelor in Paradise would be really intense if it weren’t so damn funny.

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.

Congratulations go out to Matt for this important achievement. As such, this is the final edition of “That’s Matt!” We wish him continued success, health and happiness.

Alaskan Bush People, Sundays, 8/7c, Discovery Channel