Tonight’s “special episode” of Sarah Palin’s Alaska focused on showcasing Sarah Palin rugged “outdoors woman” as she took novice camper/ fellow reality show diva Kate Gosselin on a camping trip, but what resulted was more evidence that Palin is as clueless about the outdoors as she is about politics.
This was set up as Kate and her kids just happened to be in Alaska, and they were going on Piper’s next camping trip as her friends. Kate’s role here was that of the city girl who doesn’t understand the outdoors and needed to take a bear safety class, but this class was just as much for the pretend Mrs. Grizzly Adams as it was for Kate. Gosslin being the experienced reality show hand knew how to play for drama. This is a quality that has eluded the terribly one dimensional and wooden Palin from episode one. Don’t worry the children were never placed in any danger as the Palin men tagged along to protect them from Sarah’s incompetence.
Ms NRA didn’t know how to deal with the kickback of her weapon but much hoopla was made about her being a “good shot”. What this means is anyone’s guess, since the gun instructor told Willow that it didn’t matter if she aimed. Later in the episode, Palin sawed branches off of a tree limb with the machete coming at her body instead of away as she talked about how much she loved getting out into the wilderness for family time, which rang hollow as we all know that this trip was for show, being as they are accompanied by a reality TV crew.
Poor Kate was set up to be Sarah’s foil. Palin exploited this opportunity to let her mean girl shine, from terrifying the kids to shocking Kate. Palin could barely contain her internal glee as the rush of power surged through her as Kate grew more and more upset. Sarah claimed she was going to take care of Kate, but instead she made the entire episode about showing off her faux-toughness at Kate’s expense. At one point Sarah rolled her eyes at Kate and then laughed at Kate with Todd, suggesting that Todd was the smart one for getting away from Kate’s complaining.
After Kate leaves the camping trip for dry, warm ground, Palin says, “I suppose if you took me to New York to a red carpet event, I’d be like naw get me out of here.” Really? Is this the same Palin who has begged to be written about eating at The Place to Be Seen in New York? Or the same Palin who took to swag tents like a desperate wannabe? The same Palin who keeps certain paparazzi on speed dial hoping to get noticed?
This episode was supposed to set Sarah up as the rugged tough one, but the truth is that America already knows that Palin requires bendy straws when she speaks, a certain class of jet, has very expensive tastes in clothes when other people are paying, has a make up artist, hair dresser, stylist and personal assistant just steps off the set and never goes anywhere without a security entourage. Watching Palin play Rugged One trying to amp up the drama when in reality her security entourage is just off set and would shoot any bear with the bad sense to approach she who cares nothing for animal life would be like watching a train wreck if it weren’t so boring.
For all of her rumored charm, Palin falls flat in this series. When she’s not delivering deadpan narration, Palin wastes no time getting in her petty digs at Joe McGinness (again….yes…again…) and then two “we can see Russia from here!” digs (again…as if seeing Russia gives you foreign policy credentials….). Palin is overly made up and quite simply lacks the authenticity necessary to endear her to American TV audiences. Kate may have been whining, but she was real. Kate wasn’t pretending to be something she wasn’t. And that’s Palin’s biggest problem. Palin is so busy selling America on the Palin myth that every second of Sarah Palin’s Alaska (the edit of which Palin has control over as a producer) is so heavily scripted and stage managed for maximum political impact that she never offers us a glimpse of the real Palin.
Sarah Palin’s Alaska is not a documentary by any stretch of the imagination and it’s also not a reality TV show. In most reality TV shows, events are loosely scripted but the cameras are shooting all of the time and capturing real moments which are later crafted into the most dramatic narrative possible. Those raw moments are how the audience gets hooked on the show and the characters; they’re drawn in by the recognition of humanity being unveiled. The world was curious about Sarah Palin and she could have used this show to ingratiate herself to Americans, had she only trusted reality enough to let the cameras capture even a few moments of it. Instead, Palin let her paranoia and ultimate distrust of what she has to offer force her to hide beneath manufactured moments that never come alive. This is plastic Alaska, not rugged Alaska, and it’s beyond boring.
The only people who looked remotely real and genuine on this episode were Kate Gosselin and her kids and that is a new low, even for Sarah Palin.