‘Alaska’ Week 7: Kodiak Bears Survive a Visit from Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin's Alaska (TLC)

Sarah Palin's Alaska (TLC)

Sarah Palin saw some wild animals and didn’t even shoot them. That was just one of the highlights of Sunday night’s episode of “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” on TLC.

They were Kodiak bears, and Sarah, husband Todd and their eye-rolling 16-year-old daughter, Willow, went to observe them frolicking in the water from the safety of a hillside on Alaska’s Kodiak Island. Despite the fact that these bears appeared to pose no threat whatsoever, nervous Sarah expressed concern that none of their party was armed, though their guide assured her he was equipped with bear spray.

Elsewhere in the episode, the three Palins spent a couple of days in a remote logging camp, played “Eskimo bingo” (it’s a regular bingo game but played under a time limit imposed by a 10-minute timer), and went to a stock-car track in Kodiak. The episode was so rural in character you half expected Sarah to start drinking moonshine from one of those jugs with a cork stopper and “XXX” written on the side of it.

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A few other things we observed on this, the seventh episode of “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” (the eighth and final episode airs Sunday, Jan. 9, skipping Jan. 2):

Sarah’s a little thin-skinned: She twice went on the defensive in the face of criticism. The first was the attention paid to her coining of the word “refudiate” in a Tweet she posted at around the time this episode was being filmed. She first defended it as just a typo (substituting the “f” for a “p” by accident), and then quipped that it was her contribution to the evolution of the English language. (And she seemed to coin a new word in Sunday night’s show, when she tried to say the word “genuine” and it came out like “genu-waiian,” like a combination of “genuine” and “Hawaiian.”) She also attacked those who criticize her for supporting the Alaska timber industry. “They write me these nasty letters using their pretty little pencils on their pretty little stationery!” she said. “Where do you think your pencil and your paper come from, people?”

Alaska’s a little threadbare: Has anyone else noticed this? Sure, the natural scenery of Alaska is vast and it certainly is beautiful, but when you watch “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” closely, you get the impression that Alaska is a state where all the houses are built of rough, weathered plywood and all the roads are dirt.

Manly yes, but Sarah likes it too: This week’s manly pursuits undertaken by Sarah included cutting down trees with a chainsaw and also operating a crane-like “shovel logger” with which she lifted and loaded one of the great logs onto a flatbed truck.

Mama Grizzly and her cub: Throughout the episode, Sarah harped on her efforts to engage daughter Willow’s attention in the outdoor activities Sarah loves, but Willow paid more attention to her cell phone. Eventually, Sarah persuaded Willow to help the logging camp’s cook prepare lunch and Willow was seen half-heartedly chopping lettuce. Well, you would have thought Willow had brought home a straight-A report card from the way Sarah cheered over this lettuce-chopping breakthrough.

And now, just one more episode of “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” is left, unless Sarah and TLC can get together on a deal for a second season. We’ve loved covering this show so much that it should go without saying that a second season has our vote. What about you?

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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