This is the end, my friends. It’s here. And what can we say about it? What can we say about Sarah Palin? Nothing good, really. She has pretty nails. That’s about it.
Obviously, the weekend that the finale of Sarah Palin’s Alaska aired was a horrible, horrible weekend, and the Grand Dame of Stupid Remarks herself did nothing to make it better. Now, I think it’s pretty obvious that, despite her inappropriately violent propaganda, Palin isn’t to blame for what happened in Tucson. That was apparently the work of someone who was deeply disturbed and not getting the help he needed, to use a few cliches. But Palin has been fanning the flames with her Tweeting and Facebooking and, Holy God, when that “blood libel” video came out, I was nauseated. But I don’t really blame her. I don’t blame her for that or for this monstrosity of a show. Because I truly don’t believe that she has an original thought or idea in her head. She just repeats things that sound pretty or epic or feisty. Or she goes along with someone else’s grand idea. And maybe she Palinizes is a little bit and puts her own special shine on it. But it was never hers.
Anyway. I can’t really get any more disgusted with one person, so I’m going to make this recap — which is a double-header — short. TLC aired back-to-back episodes of SPA last Sunday, one of which was a clip show, so I’m gonna combine them and charge right through! And let’s face it. Ya’ll don’t really want to read two more of these, right?
The first episode of the night was called “Gold Mining and Oil.” And it starts off with reindeer. Sure. Makes sense. When you live in a tiny town, Sarah tells us, family is a big part of your social life. Today, the family’s going to spend some quality time together at the local reindeer farm. Oh, now that you’re not hunting them, they’re reindeer, huh? When you had a gun they were caribou! At the farm, a lady name Myra gets the kids all hyped up.
Either that kid loves reindeer or someone forgot to give him his Ritalin.
Myra teaches the family how to feed the reindeer. “Grandma, don’t get run over by a reindeer,” Sarah says to her mom, cracking herself up. They feed the reindeer and Sarah shows us what an animal lover she really is.
“There’s no gun! What do I do, Todd? What do I do?!”
Question. What is a reindeer farm for? What do they do with the reindeer?
There’s also a moose on this farm and a guy named “Tom” shows the family how to feed a moose a banana using his mouth. Sarah eggs Willow into doing it, too.
How undignified for that moose…
Now that that’s done… Sarah, her brother, her dad, Piper and Piper’s cousin are going on an adventure for gold! GOLD! It starts in Valdez, which is where the original gold rush began, Sarah tells us. It’s also where the Trans-Alaska pipeline ends. Piper guesses that the pipeline ends in the water, but Sarah says of course not!
They hop in some kayaks and begin navigating the icy waters around Valdez. Sarah’s dad says that only about 400 prospectors got rich out of the 100,000 who came to Alaska for gold. Sarah says she’s lucky her dad was a teacher, and sometimes she would skip school to go on field trips with her dad’s class. That explains a lot. She was off on field trips when she should have been in English class.
They row into a channel that has cut through a large iceberg. Their guide warns them to avoid the rocks that are balanced precariously atop the melting ice.
The perfectly family vacay: cold and deadly.
The row back to an ice cave and I agree with Piper — it looks pretty cool. Sarah recounts her first water memory: going duck hunting with her dad at 3 a.m. back when she was in the first grade. If she talked as much then as she talks now, I’m guessing those hunting trips were not successes.
They paddle up to a part of the iceberg on which they can leave their kayaks and hop out onto the ice. Sarah explains that this is very risky, but they want to take the same route that the prospectors took. Well. That’s a good enough reason to put two little kids and an old man in danger. Ugh. Bile rising again…
Ice, ice baby, too cold. Too cold.
After exploring an even more dangerous ice cave with an increasingly nervous guide, the Palins race their kayaks back, because competing is in their nature, Sarah says. I appreciate healthy competition, but it is like a compulsion for this woman. You gotta learn to let some things go.
Next they hop on a large boat to check out the end of the 800 mile Trans-Alaska Pipeline which stretches from Prudhoe Bay to the Valdez Marine Terminal. As they ride along, they check out the marine life and Sarah wows us with more wisdom. After seeing a seal, she tells her nephew that baby seals are called pups, and that she has a seal skin purse.
The purse was made by a woman in a town called Tatitlek. LOL, it’s pronounced “tuh-tit-lick.” Ha! Imagine going to high school there. I wonder what the mascot is. And what the other schools chant at basketball games. Feel free to speculate.
Sarah continues as they see some sea lions sunning themselves on a buoy: “people say that man’s activity prohibits wildlife from enjoying their habitat. No. They’re enjoying man’s activities right there.”
“Thank you, man, for bringing this buoy to us so that we may enjoy some peace and quiet from your loud, lacerating boats; your thick, suffocating oil; your giant handbags made from our skin and littered with gum wrappers, pennies and hair. Thank you, man. And thank you Sarah. We looooove yoooouuuuu. Arf arf!”
Whatever. I can’t even continue with this after that complete nonsense. She’s so stupid. Moving on… to Nome. Nome claims to be home to the world’s largest gold pan. According to Wikipedia, that may not be true, but we can pretend that it is for today. A little lie never gets in the way when Palins are concerned.
So, what are we doing in Nome? Panning for gold, of course. Sarah hopes to find enough gold to make a piece of jewelry for her mom in honor of her parents’ anniversary. When they get to Nome the family is met by a tiny man named Little John. Sarah’s dad insists on calling him Big John “to sort of flatter him.” Annoying runs in this family then.
“Welcome to Gnome. I mean Nome. What?! Okay!”
Lil’ John drives them to the Cripple River Mining Camp, which looks like an old western town. A couple of townies greet them and they jump on four-wheelers and head to the beach. When they get to the beach, Townie Tom shows them how to prospect and lets them know that the ladies are always the best. Sarah want’s to do a boys versus girls thing. “Let’s compete. Life is a competition,” she says, chipping away at her daughter’s mental health bit by bit.
Prospecting for gold involves digging up sand and dumping it into a machine with water running through it. The gold sinks to the bottom. Pretty early on, Piper catches tha fever. Tha gold fever. She’s running back and forth like a madwoman and tells her cousin she’s selling her gold for “somethin’ thousand.” Her cousin hopes for 80. Dollars. He’s keeping it real. When they shut off the pump, they’ve got a few hundred dollars worth of gold.
There’s microscopic gold in them thar hills!
After a hard hour’s work, they set up tents because they’ll be camping on the beach. Sarah says the family laughs that people call her a diva. “All diva all the time,” she says sarcastically, which is a line that she already used earlier in the season. Someone needs to come up with something new to program her to say. It makes even less sense when she’s saying it in front of several camera crews, a couple producers, the lighting guys, her hair dude, her make-up lady, and the caterer.
The next day, the Palins will be doing some underwater mining for gold since they didn’t get enough of the good stuff the day before. The kids stay on shore with Grandpa while Chuck, Jr. and Sarah go out on a boat.
Trailer park of the high seas.
They get to a ramshackle-looking vessel that’s essential a giant floating vacuum. There’s an underwater hose that’s used to suck up material from the bottom of the Bering Sea. That material is run through a machine that sifts out the gold and it’s spit back out the boat on the other side. Because Chuck is an experienced diver, he’ll be going below. Sarah will stay on the boat helping to pump hot water and air down to the divers below. She grinds her teeth and looks generally thrilled.
I, for one, would have encouraged her to jump right in.
Chuck suits up and gets into the water one of the crew members. They get to work on the ocean floor and Chuck says that he can see gold sprinkled around the sea floor. After about an hour of sucking the show ends the divers come back up and discover that they have some rather large chunks of gold.
Enough to make Lil’ John a tiny set of gold teeth.
Later, the family takes a walk and come across a herd of muskoxen in the distance. A muskox is a large, shaggy, horned buffalo-type creature. They’re known for circling the herd around the young ones when they’re threatened.
“If we walked any closer, we’d spook ‘em, you think?” Sarah asks. Of course, that only leaves one thing for them to do. They get closer and closer to the herd. The muskoxen look nervous and starts to circle around the babies. They keep moving in until the muskoxen take off running.
It’s fun for them! They love being chased by humans!
“That was cool. I feel like we’re on an African safari,” Sarah says. Exactly. Minus the heat and black people.
We’ve still got 15 minutes to kill in this show, so they’ve thrown in another random activity: a trip to the Anchorage Air Show. Todd Palin gets a hardon for aviation and has to attend every year. They sit in the stands and watch the Blue Angels. Sarah, decked out in a hideous silver trench coat, says watching them makes her want to cry. They meet one of the women crew members and a pilot and Sarah says she can die and go to heaven now. Everyone takes a picture with her. And that was the trip to the air show.
OK, we still have some raw gold on our hands, so we head over to the Alaska Mint, which turns your ill gotten gold into joories. They collected about $1,050 in gold and they’re going to create a ring for Sally, Sarah’s mom, and a plaque for Sarah’s dad. They choose images to stamp into the gold. The kids choose a bear paw for grandma and a sheep stamp for grandpa, because he leads sheep hunting expeditions. Wow. I didn’t know that was an animal that one hunts.
Some bear-type dude at the mint shows them how to use a torch to melt the gold. Piper gives it a try and then Sarah elbows her out of the way because she wants to do it. She says it was a special thing that she got to do.
“Outta my way tiny brats. I’m the chosen one. John McCain said so.”
After the gold is melted, it’s put into a giant machine which turns the gold into medallions. They select a ring for Grandma and a plaque in the shape of Alaska for Grandpa. They head over to their grandparents’ home, excited to give them their golden anniversary gifts.
In Alaska, you don’t need to go to a store for a gift, Sarah says. You just need to go outdoors. And have enough money to charter a plane, and hire a guide with four-wheelers, and then hire some more people to take you out on their boat, and then charter another plane to take you home. And then you need someone who can melt the gold and turn it into jewelry. That’s all you need. Easy peasy. Homemade gifts are the best kind, right?
Sarah and Piper hand over the gifts and Sally is shocked! “Isn’t that special?!” she says.
Chuck reads his plaque, which says “thanks for the Alaskan experience,” and pronounces them all true Alaskans. The end.
So the next episode is called “Follow Me There.” A word of advice: if a Palin wants you to follow them somewhere – don’t. It’s likely to be right off a cliff. “Follow Me There” is the name of the catchy song that plays at the beginning of each episode. And in this one, we’re taking a look at some of the Palins’ favorite moments from their summer adventures. I’m going to do a quick rundown of Sarah’s faves and then a we’ll be done with this campaign commercial. Sound good? Let’s go.
Sarah and her dad talk about their absolute favorite episode, which was the one in which she took like 20 shots at that poor caribou who was too stupid to live, literally. The thing just stood there while Sarah kept taking shots and missing. Sarah and her dad explain that the sight on the rifle had been damaged when Chuck fell on it. As we know, Sarah switched rifles and eventually shot and killed the caribou and was able to feed her seven starving street urchins with it.
“I did this for my children. And my over-inflated ego.”
They say it was the most controversial episode of the season and Chuck claims to have received a letter from a woman who said something to the effect of “you should buy your meat in a store where it’s made.” They have a good laugh over that dumbass and both roll their eyes. I don’t believe them, but whatever. TLC should change its name to The Lying Channel. Because I’m guessing half the stuff they aired on this show was fake, fake, fake.
What we didn’t see when this episode originally aired was that Sarah hacked the antlers off the caribou and hauled them to a taxidermist who mounted them for her. Because the caribou was so young, it’s a pretty pathetic trophy, but Sarah is proud to hang it on her wall. She goes on to say that some people may think the way Alaskans decorate their homes is unique. Or others might find their accents unique. And outsiders might also think it’s weird that she makes up words. Um, yes, it is weird for an adult to make up her own nonsensical language.
Her dad says he’s ok with it, and Sarah says that’s high praise coming from a school teacher. I know some school teachers who are morons, so I don’t put blind faith in the entire profession. And you never know, Chuck might have some sort of early onset senility, triggered by all those cameras and hot lights. I’m not a doctor, though, so there’s a chance that’s not it.
Piper’s up next to talk about her favorite moments. She doesn’t say much of anything, but she’s made up like JonBenet Ramsey. There’s no reason for a nine-year-old to wear blush. Plus, they’ve got cool colors on her when she clearly needs warm tones. So we have to suffer through a montage of Piper goofing off and being a brat, and it’s just like all those cell phone photos you have to flip through when you’re at a party and someone wants to show you pictures of their kids, and you feel obligated to look and make positive comments or “awwww” noises when you’re really bored and slightly uncomfortable, because these aren’t your kids and you wonder what would happen if you “accidentally” deleted them all. And then you have more wine.
Sarah and Piper talked about the time they went fishing and saw the bears fighting. Sarah says she was surprised because people thought the scene was fake – that camera crews had shot the bears fighting and then added the footage of the family. Hmmm… I don’t recall that being the controversy. I thought people were mad because she took her family too close to the bears. Like I think people were angry that she had a nine-year-old right next to some bears that were fighting. People weren’t like, “oh man, that was totally fake, that little girl never came close to being mauled!”
After Piper checks her makeup, she comes back to talk to her mom about big sister Bristol. They both think Bristol should have won Dancing With the Stars. More examples of that unique Alaskan thinking, I guess. We see some boring footage of fish and Sarah and Bristol. Then there’s some boring footage of Todd and oldest son Track.
And then there’s some never-before-seen footage… You’d think that maybe the producers were holding on to some really good tape so that they could whip it out at the end and finish strong, right? Buzz! Wrong. The never-before-seen footage is video of Piper and Todd helping a man at the department of fish and game count the number of salmon that swim by in an hour. Ugh. Worst, show, evar…
Sarah also says that she’s the Cliff Clavin of Alaska, which is the third time she’s said that this season. And it has yet to be funny.
So here’s a lil’ interesting thing that happened. When Piper was helping to count fish she used one of those little counters that you hold in your hand and click it and every time you click, a wheel turns and a new number pops up. Sarah mentions that Piper used to have one of those to count guests at the governor’s mansion back when Sarah was running the state. Sarah asks Piper if it was better counting fish or guests at the mansion, and they both agree that counting fish was much better. SLAM, voters and constituents of Alaska! Salmon are so much better than ya’ll.
Oh, this lady’s going to make a most excellent president one day, isn’t she? She’s gonna redecorate the White House with all sorts of animal skulls and skins. She’s going to make Todd Vice President, and name all her family members to the cabinet. And then she’s going sit on the South Lawn with a rifle and shoot at all the tourists who are lined up along the fence taking pictures. She’ll refuse to talk to the media and she’ll only sign bills if they’re posted to her Facebook wall. She’ll be besties with Kim Jong Il and she’ll go hunting with Vladimir Putin. She’ll build a giant fence along the Mexican and Canadian borders. And if, God forbid, there’s some sort of national tragedy, she’ll get on TV in her power suit and stare right into that TelePrompTer and tell us that it’s our faults for being a bunch of pussies. That we should just take care of ourselves and mind our own business and quit being so fucking nosy with our questions and thoughts and opinions. And that’s what life would be like under President Palin.
So. It’s Willow’s turn under the microscope. She wants to know why she didn’t get a new car when she turned 16 and Sarah says, get a job. Don’t be such a liberal, always with your hand out and your mouth open, askin’ for things you don’t deserve like welfare and unemployments and healthcare. Greedy.
Willow’s favorite adventure was driving the stock car. We also see her special, quiet, funny friend Andy who was around a lot over the summer, giving her nice feelings inside. They leave out the clip in which Andy ignored Sarah and answered to Willow’s sweet, sweet siren song, jumping the baby gate and running up the stairs even though going past the baby gate is strictly forbidden in the Palin home when there are cameras around.
Don’t worry, Andy. I still remember the time she cockblocked you on TV.
On with the Special Moments. We see Todd and little Trig playing around while Trig laughs his adorable laugh. The Gosselin camping trip, in which Kate Gosselin is quickly and effortlessly driven insane by the down hominess of the Palins.
“She said ‘blood libel’?!”
Sarah says that in the lower 48 states, people rely on planes, trains and automobiles. Life in Alaska is totally different. There, they rely on planes, trains and automobiles. Although, if you’re rich, you also get toys like four-wheelers and dog sleds. And that reminds us of the time that Sarah and Piper went mushing with those awesome huskies.
We’re at the final segment, thank jeebus, and it’s about the world’s greatest romance: the deep love between Sarah and Silent Todd, who has been by her side for 30 years. They met when he was a young basketball star who had just transferred to Wasilla High School. There have been times, Sarah says, when they lived paycheck to paycheck, and times when they’ve been overwhelmed by their blessings. Then there were the times when they got in over their heads in payments for four-wheelers and charter flights and legal fees, so they quit serving the people they’d sworn to serve and cranked out nonsensical books and a TV show instead.
The episode ends with a radio show Sarah has been invited on. She’s good friends with the DJs over at KWHL 106.5 in Anchorage. Bob and Mark want to know if Sarah’s running for president in 2012. Errr Ahh Errr… who knows? 2012 is still a couple years away. However, when she does decide, she’s going to announce it on KWHL. Because if you’re going to announce that you’d like to become the leader of the free world, you want to be sure to do it on the home for Anchorage, Alaska’s best rock! After the announcement, they should play a little REM. “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” would be a fitting tribute.
Oh, I just checked out their craptastic, poorly written website. They’ve got photos of cannabis, women in bikinis and a DeLorean. This announcement is going to be a hot mess. I can’t wait.
Anyway, some more gibberish is said, but that’s basically the end of the show, which is now officially over. Except for re-runs. So, what did you think? Are you going to be feenin’ for another season next fall? What were your favorite moments, if any? Have you heard any positive feedback at all? Hopefully, she now has everything out of her system and can crawl back under the iceberg from whence she came.
Thanks for bearing with me and reading the re-caps and participating in the comments! I complained a lot, but it was really fun. Now that my hazing period at TVGasm is over, I’m doing re-caps for The Bachelor, so I hope we can take the party over there!