29 November 2013

How Alaskans View Alaskan Reality TV

From today's Anchorage Daily News:
... It was strange to go home to the Midwest for the holidays and have family members ask detailed questions about the crabbing season or if I'd ever been to Wasilla (not because of the Palins, but because of a "crazy episode of 'Alaska State Troopers'"). No other place, except for maybe New York City and Southern California, has the TV star power that Alaska has.

"Deadliest Catch" and "Alaska State Troopers" have become the flagship shows, but new programs chronicling the ordinary and extraordinary lives of Alaskans keep appearing. By my best count, there are currently 13 shows airing that take place in Alaska. This is the Golden Age of Alaska Reality TV.


... A lot of Alaskans I've talked with have a hard time getting into Alaska Reality TV because it seems fake. The most commonly given example is "Alaska: The Last Frontier," a show about the Kilcher family, who live just outside Homer. These people live extraordinary lives, and not just because they are Jewel's relatives. They harvest much of their own food and are all-around entertaining human beings. But the way the show is edited makes it seem as though the Kilchers will surely die if they don't shoot a moose or catch a halibut. We know that they can just go to the Safeway in Homer, but my Midwestern family doesn't know that.

It's like an astronaut going to see the film "Gravity" or a doctor watching "Grey's Anatomy." Instead of sitting back and enjoying the ride, they are probably looking at all the inaccuracies of space travel or daily hospital life. The trick is to put aside the skepticism and enjoy these shows for what they are: entertaining television. Because even when they're overly produced and heavily edited, these shows still tell interesting stories about the place we call home and the larger-than-life people who live here ...

Read the whole article here.

11 comments:

armedlaughing said...

As a firearms 'enthusiast', certified trainer, and citizen of this Republic, I watch police shows with a jaundiced eye.
As a former semi-professional magician, I do the same with magical performances.
Both have been largely ruined - the cops shows with their ignorance of the Constitution and proper modern pistol technique, the magic, well - once you know secrets it's hard to enjoy the performances for what they are.

gfa

Rev. Paul said...

I hear you, Guffaw. My family's long-since grown tired of me talking back to the TV when I see stuff like that. :)

Cathy said...

Well that was a good read.
Laughed out loud when I read that business about the Kilchers and the fact that if they fail to bring down a moose . . they can just go to the local Safeway in Homer :)

Rev. Paul said...

It's true, Cathy. The show is quite entertaining, but they're only a few miles from town. I've been there many times, and you'd have to try hard to go hungry. :)

Old NFO said...

Problem is, I'm never home long enough to actually FOLLOW a show... sigh... So I haven't seen any of them!

Stephen said...

Ah, that explains it. Safeway, that's a good one.

Rev. Paul said...

No worries, NFO - it's escapism, pure and simple. Not like you'd miss any life lessons by not watching.

Stephen, it's true. The only way the Kilchers would starve would be if they were unlucky at hunting/trapping AND broke.

Teresa said...

I can never get into "reality" tv. I can't suspend disbelief enough to enjoy the shows. LOL. Every once in a while my husband will stop at one of the shows, we are mainly looking at the scenery and ignoring what is happening with the actual "story", we have been known to tune in then mute the sound ;)

Rev. Paul said...

I understand and agree, Teresa; we have the same 'problem'. :)

Murphy's Law said...

With all of these Alaska reality shows going on and Alaska's sparse population, it's only a matter of time before everyone in Alaska is on at least one of them. (Except for the people in Anchorage, of course. Everyone knows that Anchorage is just a suburb of Seattle. But on a clear day, you can at least see Alaska from there.) ;-)

Rev. Paul said...

Now, ML, that's just mean. :)