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This week on Sarah Palin’s Alaska: Sarah demonstrates a lesson most of us girls learned in high school; all of us need that one friend who makes us look better. You know the one. You stand next to her and you look thinner or prettier or smart or more charming. You want her with you at the club, but you can’t go to the club with her, otherwise the bouncers won’t let you cut the line. That’s why my friends always offer to meet me inside the club….
The awkward, socially inept friend.
All you wingmen out there know her.
Anyway, this week, Sarah was joined by a friend who made her look reasonable and sane. And that friend was Kate Gosselin, from the TV show Kate Plus Eight. You’d think that someone who has eight children and an ex-husband with the body type and disposition of the stay-puft marshmallow man would be humble, unselfish and nurturing. But Kate Gosselin was a truly, truly awful person during this episode. The type of person who makes you say things like “people should have to apply for permits before they’re allowed to have children.” Has she always been like this? The only episode of Jon & Kate Plus Eight I watched was the divorce episode. And by then we already knew what a dick Jon was, so I was like, “oh no he di’int!” And my grandma, who was watching it with me was like, “you know they have eight kids, right?” And I was like, “giiiiirrrl.” And then grandma was like, “did you know they have eight kids?” And it turned out she’d accidentally taken too much of her medication that night. So I didn’t even watch the entire episode.
Anywho, the Palins are taking the Gosselins camping, because the Gosselins just so happened to be in Alaska filming an episode of their own show. You know, purely coincidence. Two families that happen to have shows on the same network end up in the same area, even though they live 4,200 miles apart. Really, though, what we’ve got here is a good ol’ fashion crossover episode. Since the dawn of TV, crossover episodes have brought together beloved characters of our favorite television shows. Who could forget the crossover/spinoff combo of The Cosby Show and A Diff’rent World? Or, the seminal triple crossover that gave us “That’s So Suite Life of Hannah Montana?” Or the crown jewel of bizarre and superfluous programming that brought together Jessica Fletcher and Magnum, P.I. and gave unto the world “Magnum on Ice, Parts 1 & 2?”
As this reality crossover begins, Sarah and her dad are going shopping. A special camping trip means she needs something bright, shiny and new — a gun! She walks into the gun store and all the tubby men are blushing from the neckline of their matching safari vests, to the very tops of their heads. They wipe the drool off their chins and avoid eye contact. Sarah tells us that, in Alaska, the local gun store is equivalent to the local barbershop in other places. If it’s like the barbershop in my neighborhood, it’s where you go to buy bootleg DVDs and fake gold jewelry and teeth.
Expert hunter and outdoorswoman Sarah asks which gun is best for bear protection. Answer: a big one. LOLZ weirdo gun store dudes. Something tells me ladies with prom hair and press-on nails don’t shop at the gun store very often.
“You’re gonna wanna grab that shaft firmly, little lady.”
After getting her new gun, Sarah and the Palins hike a mountain near Wasilla. This has been a family tradition for 40 years. The only interesting thing about this walk is that Sarah manages to climb the mountain and never stops talking. Even when the rest of the family opts to take a different trail.
“… so then Katie Couric attacked me because she has a personal
vendetta against me, being one of those media libs and all….”
They make it to the peak and a small aircraft flies overhead. Even though we learned in previous episodes that Alaskans take planes everywhere, Sarah believes it’s the National Enquirer doing a flyover. “Where’s Bristol?!” she shrieks, cracking herself up.
“I’m waving in a friendly manner to make them go away!”
She tells the camera that the view from the top of the mountain is worth being out of breath from talking and climbing. “On a really clear day, you can see Russia from here. Almost,” she says. This episode is full of LOLZ. Having your own reality show makes you seem intelligent and witty. Almost.
It’s finally the big day — the day when two great American dynasties come together to blind us all with the power and brilliance of two colliding stars. Sarah and Piper got their hair did for the occasion. They went to Wasilla’s House of Beauty & Day Spa and asked for the pageant queen special. Top stylist Rhonda — who studied the art of hair-doing at a first-rate beauty school in Dallas and came back with a passion for big hair and a coke problem — gave them the mama/daughter deal: matching chunky highlights, a bumpit, and a cascade of stiff ringlets.
In a few years, she’s going to be sooo embarrassed by this…
While Piper cheats on her math homework and uses a pen to scratch under her bumpit, Sarah hits her with the big surprise: they’re going camping with the Gosselins. Piper absolutely loves the Gosselins and their TV show, which she watches all the time and so should you and your family. Just then, the Gosselin van pulls up and eight little color-coordinate peanuts start to pile out like the circus just came to town and they’re the featured clown car. Piper is giddy. Willow does some serious texting.
Parent r leeving. Can u bring everclear & a
“Oh my goodness gracious,” Sarah says as the Gosselin kids start to invade her house. Kate Gosselin enters, looking supremely uncomfortable and like she got her hands on one of Kim Zolciak’s wigs.
It smells like cigarettes, Boones Farm & low self-esteem.
The first thing Kate does is point the kids to the terrifying bearskin rug lying on the floor of the Palin living room.
Somebody’s going to be keeping the nanny up tonight.
They immediately launch themselves onto it and rip out its tongue. Wow. That’s pretty disturbing actually. But not surprising coming from children who just got expelled for beating up adults at school.
Beat downs and bear tongues and latent rage.
That’s what little girls are made of.
Kate says that she admires Sarah Palin because she’s a strong woman who doesn’t back down. She doesn’t let the opinions of the rest of the world change her or force her to reflect on her behavior or revise any of her opinions. A true role model.
Sarah shows the Gosselins around the property. They check out the TV studio and the giant ugly fence that Todd build to separate them from their journalist neighbor. Sarah and Kate commiserate as moms who whore out their families for attention and are now angry that people pay attention because it’s not the kind of attention they wanted.
Before the families go camping, Sarah and Willow are taking Kate to a training course called “learn to return” so Kate can be more prepared and confident for the camping trip. The other option was a class called “prepare to die.” They went for the more optimistic-sounding course.
From the beginning, it’s clear that Kate has no interest in being in the great outdoors; but as Sarah says: “you need a partner with you who’s slower than you” when outrunning a bear. And in this case, Kate and her children will do just fine.
A perky, bearded guy who I’m calling Chip is running the course. He shows them a map with a bunch of dots representing bear-human encounters around the state. They’re going camping in an area where a lot of brown bears and humans have had interactions. Bloody, mutilated interactions.
Chip tells them that if they come across a bear, they should talk to it calmly instead of screaming and running away. He also uses Willow and a bear skull to demonstrate what happens if you lie down during a bear attack.
So… what’s a girl to do if she doesn’t want to get bit in the ass? Whip out her guns, that’s what. Now, Chip is going to show them how to even the playing field with some high tech weaponry. He hands Kate a gun.
We think he’s crazy for giving it to you, too.
The last part of the survival course is on the shooting range. Chip’s goal is to teach them to use the guns to scare the bears, not kill them. They start off shooting distraction rounds. The blanks are loud and nonlethal. “It doesn’t touch the bear?” Sarah asks, a hint of disappointment in her voice.
Even though she isn’t maiming or killing anything, she does enjoy shooting the blanks. “Yeahhhh,” she says after one shot. “That feels good. It smells good.” Sarah hasn’t said anything like that since the day she made Todd have his vocal chords and balls removed.
Next, Chip brings out the bean bag gun, which will allow them to hit the bear without seriously injuring it. Willow shoots the gun with her eyes closed. Kate can’t get the safety off by herself. Sigh. The real danger is always people, isn’t it?
Of course, they also have the option of shooting the bear — or one another — with actual bullets. This is the method that Sarah is most excited about.
Sarah manages to hit a fake bear in the kill zone and says she feels responsible for both families and is ready to take down every bear, wolf and squirrel in Alaska for them, so long as there’s a camera crew shooting the whole thing.
Next stop — Chuck Sr.’s place for a BBQ. We learn that Sarah’s dad used to be a science teacher, which explains all the dead animals we keep seeing at his place. Well, I guess that sort of explains it. He’s got antlers, skulls, wood, teeth, feet, quills, heads, furs…
It’s all a little freaky for Kate and she screams as she takes a look around at the walls of the den, which are lines with animal parts. In the backyard of Chuck’s house of horrors, they find a 15-foot tall pile of old antlers. And lunch.
The next day, it’s finally time for the big trip. The Palins hop a plane and start getting the campground ready before the little ones arrive. A couple of hours later, the Gosselins are getting ready to board the plane, along with a nanny.
The pilot asks if any adults will be coming on the trip. “Yes, hello, here we are,” Kate snaps. I can understand why the pilot would be overwhelmed. There are eight little people, a nanny and a pouty adult, all covered in rain slickers.
Eight little kids and one giant baby.
As soon as the Gosselins step off the plane at the campsite, Kate starts complaining: it’s cold; there’s no bug spray; it’s raining; there’s no building; this isn’t the olden days, so why bother?
Peepaw Chuck gives the kids some safety tips, telling them to never go anywhere by themselves and make as much noise as they want — it’ll keep the animals away. Kate says she’s less worried about bears and more concerned with staying warm.
Soon, the kids are running all over the place and the Palins are teaching them to fish and dig up old skeletons for Chuck’s home collection. Kate, meanwhile, stays under a tarp pouting and glaring at everyone with contempt. She says she’s miserable and the only reason she’s there is because the kids are having fun. Isn’t that what 85 percent of parenting is about?
“I’m doing this for my kids, who are being cared for by
someone else right now.”
“Sorry I’m miserable,” Kate says unapologetically. “Somebody’s gotta be.”
Really? Is that what she thinks? Somebody has to be miserable so it might as well be her? What a horrible way to exist. What a sad human being. What a depressing way to feel about spending time with your children. Now I’m sad. Thanks for spreading your misery, sad sack.
A desperate cry for help. Or attention.
The kids help gather firewood and then use rocks to make a map of Alaska. Sarah points to one place on the map and says if they were standing right there, they’d be able to see Russia over their shoulders. “Swear to god!” she says.
For the love of all that is holy, would somebody please agree with her so she can stop bringing this up? Or throw her, Katie Couric and Tina Fey in a cage with some folding chairs and boards with nails stuck in them. Winner of the cage match takes all.
After the geography lesson, the campers cook up some moose hot dogs and s’mores. And then Kate proceeds to lose her shit. There’s not hand sanitizer and no paper towels. That’s it! She spends thousands of dollars on her hair weaves, there’s no way she’s living like a homeless person — a person with no paper towels. She’s not going to be like some bum on the street, begging passersby for paper towels. “Please, sir, can you spare some Bounty? A rectangle of Brawny perhaps? Can you find it in your heart to give me even a generic brand? If only I had something absorbent and disposable, I know I could get back on my feet….” Papertowelessness is plaguing America’s cities, people!
Everyone watches quietly as Kate melts down. She “was freaking out quite a bit,” Chuck observes.
Finally regretting her actions.
Eventually, Kate calls it quits and, even though the Palins spent their morning setting up camp and entertaining her children, she’s hauling them out of there. She and Sarah do the awkward one-armed hug thing that you do with people you’re pretending to like, and then the Gosselisn march off into the never-ending sunset, eight little ducklings ready to follow their mama into the next miserable adventure she’ll refuse to have fun with.
The Palins remain at the campsite, watching the Gosselins take off with obvious relief. “She bitched the minute she got off the plane,” Chuck whispers, failing to grasp the concept of a microphone.
To her credit, Sarah tries to be diplomatic, saying she probably wouldn’t enjoy being at a red carpet premiere in New York. Is that what Kate Gosselin does? Go to red carpet events? Doubtful. And isn’t Sarah doing this because she enjoys being famous? Otherwise, why else would you have your own television show? All of these people are delusional. Except for Chuck. That dude’s alright.
Mee-yow! Am I right, ladies?
Soon after the Gosselins leave, the Palins crawl into their tents and prepare for sweet dreams. The sun is bright in the sky. The quiet gurgle of the nearby river fills the air. And in her tent, Sarah lies next to the ever-silent, sleeping Todd. She gently strokes the smooth, cold steel of the shiny bear gun at her side. She’s wide awake and waiting. Ready for whatever steps through those trees.
Danger lurks everywhere in Alaska.