No living creature on land or sea died in the making of Sunday night’s episode of ‘Sarah Palin’s Alaska’ as Sarah and family took fellow TLC star Kate Gosselin (‘Kate Plus 8’) and her eight children on a wet and wild camping trip.
It was a “first” for the former Alaska governor’s TLC reality series, which drew howls of protest a week earlier for its frank depiction of a hunting trip in which rough-and-ready Sarah fatally shot a caribou. In previous episodes, she was seen clubbing halibut to death and gutting and beheading salmon.
In the episode Sunday night, however, you might say the only “victim” of Sarah’s lust for the great outdoors was Kate Gosselin, who crabbed continuously about the chilly, wet environment of the remote, riverbank campsite the Palins chose for their planned one-night stay. Kate’s children didn’t seem to mind the adverse conditions as they scurried about the site collecting rocks, attempting to fish (none were caught, a “reprieve” for the animal kingdom that is rare for this series), toasting marshmallows and taking in the flora and fauna under the tutelage of Sarah’s father, Chuck, and brother, Chuck Jr.
Meanwhile, Kate was seen huddled under a tarp shivering. “Sorry I’m miserable,” she said, “but somebody’s gotta be. . . . This is cruel and unusual punishment.”
“Why would you pretend to be homeless?” she said at one point, revealing what she really thinks about camping out.
Watch The Promo For Sarah And Kate’s Camping Trip:
After a lunch of hamburgers and hot dogs grilled outdoors (of course, these happened to be moose hot dogs, as if Alaskans have no access to regular franks), Kate decreed that it was time for the Gosselins to return to the dry, warm shelter of civilization and they decamped before getting a chance to sleep over. That left only the Palins, who gathered around their roaring campfire and seemed to enjoy themselves even more after Kate left. When it was time to turn in and the Palins were snug in their various tents, they were heard saying good-night to each other in such a way that you couldn’t help but be reminded of ‘The Waltons,’ which was probably the point.
Though no creatures met their demise in the episode, guns and dead animals remained front and center. Husband Todd Palin told Kate that the bearskin rug on his living room floor used to be a bear until it was killed by Sarah’s dad. And Chuck Sr.’s house was like a museum of wildlife, with its animal skulls and stuffed animals. There was even a sculptural stack of bleached antlers about 20 feet high in the backyard.
And though they never had to fire on any wildlife, nearly the entire first half of the one-hour episode was devoted to Sarah and Kate receiving instruction in how to defend their broods from bears, which were supposedly numerous in the area in which they were due to camp (though none were seen).
The anti-bear prep program included a trip to a gun shop (which Sarah called her father’s “second home”) and a lesson with an expert in bear defense who had the ladies firing various shotguns at bear targets. Sarah loved this activity; predictably, Kate did not.
“Out in this territory, anything can happen, but it’s nothing my shotgun can’t handle,” said Sarah, sounding like some kind of Annie Oakley figure from the period in history in which “territories” preceded “states.” (For the record, Alaska became a state – the 49th – in January 1959.)
Next week on ‘Sarah Palin’s Alaska,’ the Palins pack a ton of outdoor fun into one hour – racing ATVs, firing guns, whitewater rafting and “mushing” (that’s sledding with a team of dogs).
And now, there are only three episodes to go in ‘Sarah Palin’s Alaska.’ Can you believe it’s almost over?