... 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 ...
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