‘Alaskan Bush People’ Episode 2: ‘Rumble in the Bush’ (RECAP)


On Discovery Channel’s Alaskan Bush People episode, “Rumble in the Bush” (August 30), Gabe is attacked by an aggressive ostrich and loses one of his most prized possessions in the process. When the ranch gets hit with the first snowfall, the family builds a big bonfire to unfreeze the ground under their house site.

First, an update on the Palmer Fire: The wildfire that ignited on Tuesday, August 18, has burned more than 18,000 acres and has cost $7.5 million to fight. Officials believed 30 structures were burned, including families’ homes and buildings on the Alaskan Bush People filming location. As of Monday, the fire was over 90% contained, and fire crews were conducting mop-up operations. The cause of the fire is under investigation and is still listed as unknown, though the August 27 Gazette-Tribune print edition headline cites an official as claiming the fire was “human-caused.”

It’s shocking and disappointing that Discovery Channel allowed this episode to air. No one at the network thought it might be in bad taste to air an episode that glorifies Bear’s love of starting really big fires immediately after a really big fire burned down the show’s set and destroyed neighboring homes and ranches? It reveals just how tone deaf the network is and how very little it cares about the communities where its TV shows are produced.

“Rumble in the Bush” is infuriatingly bad, and that’s the kindest thing I can write about it.

It’s Halloween on Brown Star Ranch, but … WINTER IS RIGHT THERE!!

Birdy and Rainy are painted up like Ace Frehley and gathered ’round the old campfire when Noah and (I think) She Who Will Not Be Named show up in costume as Father Billy and Mother Ami. Noah’s got Billy’s “dadgummit” down pretty good, but he needs to work on the self-important blowhard part a bit more.

Bear is throwing himself a pity party, and he’s invited all of us.

Let’s establish the Bush timeline: Raiv3n broke off her engagement with Bear in mid September and days later announced to the world that she was pregnant. If this episode takes place around Halloween, Bear has been sulking for about six weeks, and he (and everyone else) knows that Raiv3n is carrying his spawn. Of course, that’s never mentioned on the show. I doubt that it will ever be brought up.

Birdy takes one for the team and forces herself to listen to Bear’s self-indulgent B.S.

Bear says he’s to blame for the breakup “a little around the edges.” This is the most responsibility a Brown has taken for anything, ever.

Oh, Bear. There are other fish in the sea. I’ll bet there are at least 3,000 ladies from among your Instagram followers who’d be happy to break out of their assisted living facilities and take you for a spin.

Snow caught the Browns by surprise, as it does every year. The livestock has not been winterized yet. There is much work to be done. But first: a quick 36 holes of Bush golf.

Suddenly, there’s a commotion down at the ostrich pen. Gabe is throwing down UFC-style with Hercules the ostrich.

Father Billy and Mother Ami stand outside the fence and cheer Gabe on. That’s about all the action they can handle for today, so they’re put back in storage in the trailer until next week.

I’m rooting for Hercules.

I scored the fight as a draw, but Gabe was a loser in one respect: His wedding ring fell off and was lost somewhere in the ostrich pen. With Hercules still itching for a fight, Gabe’s not going to enter the octagon for another beatdown.

The quest to retrieve the wedding ring will have to wait. There is more pressing Fake Urgency to attend to. This early snow is putting the future of the Brown family’s dream in jeopardy forever.

A cement mixer is coming soon to pour the foundation for Father Billy’s Convalescent Cabin, and if ground isn’t thawed and broken before the cement mixer arrives, then Fake Construction will be delayed for six months. This is nonsense, of course. It snowed a couple of inches, and the Browns act like they’re living on the permafrost.

The solution is to thaw the ground with a big-ass blaze fueled by all the trees they bulldozed to clear the land.

There’s even a nifty animation to demonstrate how fire can be used to melt ice. Park Slope probably spent $50,000 on this.

On the subject of cartoons, Rainy and Bam try out their magnet fishing technique in an attempt to retrieve Gabe’s ring from the ostrich pen.

They can’t see the ring (and Rainy doesn’t know how to work the binocular things), which means that Rainy is just casting this magnet out there on a rope and trying for the one in 500 million chance it will snag something other than ostrich poop. It does not.

Birdy knows that meat and jalapeños can soothe Bear’s achy breaky heart, so she goes out on a very important deer hunt. Birdy made all of the snow vanish along with any illusion of continuity. Birdy’s hunt is mind-numbingly boring. She runs into another hunter, she gets stuck in the fog, she hears a bunch of random gunshots in the distance, and she finally gets to pretend to shoot a deer.

About the only noteworthy event during the hunt is when Birdy finds some deer bones beneath a tree. She releases her inner Noah as she proudly gushes about her bone collection. She hangs bones in the “bone tree,” which serves as a warning sign to potential suitors that they should just stay the hell away.

Ah, yes. Do tell.

No, I’m not thoroughly creeped out yet. Go on.

That did it.

Let’s check in on Bear and Noah playing with fire, which is a really fun thing to do and not at all a serious hazard that could result in the destruction of 18,000 acres of land and put firefighters’ lives at risk.

Really? I’ve not heard. After gathering up a big pile of wood, Bear and Noah start dumping red diesel fuel on the wood.

This is a special treat for Bear, who usually does not need fuel for a fire. He can summon fire with the close proximity of his AWESOMENESS to wood.

Fire warms Bear’s heart and purges the anger from his soul. FIRE GOOD! RAIV3N BAD!

Noah invites Bear to the forge, that little shack where Noah pretends to hammer horseshoes and stuff. Bear is impressed that fire can be a useful tool if it is handled in a safe, controlled environment.

This lasts all of two seconds, then Bear starts acting like an obnoxious, juvenile ass. He takes a glowing hot piece of precious rebar and runs around pretending that it’s a lightsaber.

Has there ever been a TV series that was canceled in the middle of an episode? If not, this should be the first. Discovery Channel could suddenly switch to the movie Heidi right at this moment of the show and never acknowledge or explain what happened. They could deny that there ever was an Alaskan Bush People. That would’ve been the smartest thing to do, but alas…

Noah takes a stab at failing to find Gabe’s wedding ring. He’s got a satellite dish antenna from the junkyard and he fashions it into a shield to protect him from being pecked to death by ostriches.

Noah sorts through ostrich feces looking for the ring, but comes up empty. Gabe has lost his ring, and now Noah has lost his last remaining ounce of dignity.

Back at the future cabin site, Noah and Bear ignite the blaze. Bear, who looks like he just crawled out of the crowd of the Ted Nugent show at the state fair, is very pleased with the fire he caused.

Bear gets philosophical about fire being involved in the construction of a house, since it’s usually involved in the destruction of one. Once I get over how horrible this is, I might find poetic justice in Bear’s idiocy.

It’s Rainy’s chance to eat something gross during the interstitial segment. Rainy’s making “syrup candy,” which is just pouring maple syrup in the snow and letting it solidify into globs the size of golf balls. And she eats them. “I’m a little bit addicted to sugar,” she says, right before her pancreas explodes.

Gabe is ready for Round 2 with Hercules. Gabe patrols the fence perimeter looking for a glimmer of his ring.

Of course, Gabe finds it. He scales the fence into the pen and grabs the ring without getting an ass-whooping from Hercules. The Precious is back in Gabe’s possession.

Well, the ring never left Gabe’s possession. It was all Fake Drama. While Gabe is outside the fence looking around for his ring, the ring is clearly visible on Gabe’s finger. Usually when you pretend to look for something, that something shouldn’t be in plain friggin’ sight.

Here’s another shot:

As though we haven’t suffered enough, Billy blows his same old Brown family togetherness spiel, a fitting end to a sickening hour of bad TV.

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