Monday, 15 November 2010

Sarah Palin's Alaska - Episode 1 - A reader's review

New Yorker cartoon
Sarah Palin's Alaska - Picture by "New Yorker"

By Leadfoot_LA and Bella, age 7

My daughter and I had the chance to spend 10 days in Alaska in 2007, before it gave us Sarah Palin. She was 5 at the time, and has fond memories of the time we spent there, visiting Ketchikan, Skagway, Anchorage, Denali National Park and staying up until midnight to see that there was still daylight. So I asked her to watch Sarah Palin's Alaska with me, and share how it compares to what she remembers. Below are my impressions of the show, clouded by all I know about Sarah, and Bella's (not her real name) impressions of the show, unclouded by any knowledge about politics.

It becomes clear very quickly that this is Sarah's attempt to pre-empt what will be said about her during the 2012 election cycle. She is mad about all the truths circulating, and she wants to present herself the way SHE wants people to see her. The third line in the show, "I am the mother of 5," is a lie. (Okay, technically it may be true, but she only birthed FOUR.)

The credits begin by introducing the members of her family in this order: Sarah, Todd, Piper, Bristol, Willow, Track, Trig, Tripp. What did she do -- list them in order of preference?! She could have at least gone in order of age! These credits are played over some cheesy Christian rock sounding song with the lyrics, "Come on, follow me there." Gag.

Palin family

Long shot of the Palin home. There is some sort of antler with "Palin" on it nailed to a tree. The entire front yard is concrete, with a small SUV (a Rav-4?), Todd's Dodge Ram and a black Escalade scattered all about. Inside, Piper and her cousin McKinley make cupcakes in the kitchen with Sarah. Sarah again mentions that she has 5 kids, but says Piper has been her sidekick since the day she was born. Piper calls Sarah, "Sarah" and Sarah lets her. Piper eats the batter from the spoon and Sarah tells her not to put it back in the bowl because it is disgusting. Bella says you should never eat raw cupcake batter because it has eggs and eggs have salmonella. That risk escapes Sarah. McKinley says "Sarah, your daughter is insane." Sarah ignores both the disrespect, and the insult.

Next up is the concrete slab scene that we have all seen. Sarah and Todd talking in hushed tones about the new neighbor who is writing a "hit piece." Shots of the 14-foot fence. Sarah wants to send Todd and his buddies to the Mexican border to solve our nation's immigration problem. She says that reporters have no right to say she is over-reacting. How would they "fill" if "some dude, who was out to getcha" moved in 15 feet away from their kids? Bella says Sarah talks funny.

Sarah, Todd, Piper and McKinley get on a float plane to go to a lake to fish. Sarah says that there are no roads where they are going, so they must take the plane. She says that because these small planes are so common in Alaska, the state leads in plane crash fatalities. She then puts her 9-year old daughter into the plane, along with her small neice. (?!) This plane is one that they hired. It is not Todd's plane, which is nowhere to be seen. Todd does not fly this plane. Piper and McKinley think the plane ride is very cool. Piper says her mom is addicted to her Blackberry, and does a spot on impression of Sarah saying, "Hold on Piper..." Sad. Bella says Piper is cute -- I have to agree. She is the stand-out star of the show.

Now comes the fishing scene with the bears. Sarah narrates while wearing both a cross pendant AND an American flag. Piper stands in the boat. Bears come out of the woods to fish. Cubs follow. Sarah says, "this is SPEC--TACK--U--LAR, Todd!" She does not put the letter g on the end of any words. "We are fishin. This is frustratin. You are kiddin me." It is really starting to bug me. Piper pouts because she can't catch a fish. Todd catches one for her and Sarah says he's "bringin" home the bacon -- "that's how it should be." What? Is she trying to say she's pissed he quit his job so she could support him? Bears fight. Sarah narrates. She of course makes this moment about HER by saying "nobody is going to mess with my cubs."

Sarah Palin with gun - TLC show

Whenever they show Todd they put "Sarah's husband" under his name, like that's his title. That must annoy him. They arrive back home and Sarah says Piper spies the new neighbor next door, even though Piper doesn't say a word about it. Sarah says, "is he taking pictures?" He is sitting on his deck reading -- not even looking in their direction. Haha. Sarah says, "keep walkin" and then pronounces that they "one-upped him. Had a good day. He's stuck in his house." None of which seems to be accurate in the least.

Back inside the house, Willow has her friend Andy over. Sarah says, "Willow, go over there with Todd and figure out what buttons to push" before she goes next door to do her Fox segment. (WTF?) Willow says, "sorry, no can do." I like Willow. She is a rebel. My money is on Willow to blow the lid off babygate. Sarah says Willow is interested in "socialization." She means socializing. Am I really going to have to correct this woman's grammar for 8 weeks?

Bella asks why Sarah has dead animals hanging on her walls. She notices a bird and an elk (I think). I tell her that some people do that. We prefer animals be kept alive, in nature. She turns her nose up at the TV and gives Sarah a disapproving eye.

Willow wants no part of Sarah pretending that boys aren't allowed upstairs. She says, "MOM!" but the subtext is "You stupid woman, Bristol and Levi boned all over this house while you were busy pretending to be governor and running for VP. I can do what I want and we both know it. STFU."

Sarah does her Fox News segment from the turret. They make it appear that she and Todd do the whole thing by themselves. He gives her advice on what to say in the segment (nothing of any substance). He is the producer, director, cameraman, everything. Not another person is shown.

Now they all hop in their quarter of a million dollar RV and head up to Denali. Sarah's Dad (who creeps me out) tries to recall a family trip from when Sarah was young and she twitters away on her Blackberry the whole time he is talking. They go to mountaineering school to learn how to use caribeeners. Willow looks like she thinks it is lame. Sarah says she has been "doing boy's pushups" so she is super strong. She calls Todd Captain America because he climbs 4 feet off the ground. Piper pouts that she can't do it, so they let her climb the rock-climbing wall inside. Chuck is sad he never climbed Mount McKinley.

Sarah Palin in yellow

Todd, Sarah and Willow hop in a bush plane to head up to Ruth Glacier. The weather is too bad, so they are forced to turn back. When it is time to try again the following day, Willow says her back hurts and she is staying home. Sarah and Todd head out alone. Willow, no doubt, immediately calls Andy and they go upstairs. Meanwhile, out on Ruth Glacier, Sarah has to step over 100-foot deep crevasses so she doesn't fall to the center of the earth. She whines and whines about how hard it is to climb a rock face, but that she Will. Not. Quit. Because she is NOT A QUITTER, doncha know?! Todd has a look on his face that says he is just repeating this over and over inside his head: "20 million dollars, 20 million dollars, 20 million dollars." Then, out of nowhere, he says, "let's go, juicy." Yes -- he calls her juicy. I don't even want to know. Bella is bored by this scene. She says, "mom, why do you keep rolling your eyes?" I tell her I'm annoyed with Sarah. She says, "yah, she doesn't seem very nice."

Sarah has now faced death three times in this episode (bears, crevasses, scaling a rock wall), and all three times, she won. They make it to the top. The episode ends with Sarah saying, "how are we going to get back down?" I wonder, "how will I make it through 7 more episodes?"

"Well, that's it," I say. Bella says, "Mom, I have a joke for you. Why is Sarah Palin from Alaska?" Why, I say? "Because she is so cold."

I'm not sure I could have said it better.


Note by Patrick:

Many thanks to Leadfoot_LA and her witty little daughter for writing this terrific review! I love it when children see through Sarah Palin!

Today, Phil Munger posted a follow-up HERE.

This is my "favourite ridiculous moment" from the Gawker collection:

Our reader sleuth also sent us the transcript of the open live chat which happened yesterday here on Palingates during the show! It's very funny, so if you have missed it or would like to read it again, I made it available for download HERE.


10:05pm ET / 3.05am GMT: Well that's it. To recap, this is what we learned: 1. Todd doesn't speak, 2. Sarah never shuts up, 3. Sarah might run for president. Or she might not, possibly because she is too busy attending to her mammoth collection of colourful sportswear. 4. Baby gates don't keep boyfriends out. 5. My God, that voice grates.
So did we learn anything new? The survey says: not a damn thing. The idea that this is just the first episode in an eight part series frankly boggles the mind. I'd rather watch another programme on this channel, Paralysed and Pregnant. Wink!

Probably the most outrageous review has been published in "" ("bad language" alert!).


Next Sarah does some "writing" and "researching" (they must have edited the crayon out of her hand in post-production), but her work day is, like totally ruined dontcha know, by "some dude who's out to get us." Really. That's how she described the journalist who lives next door. Don't worry, those Palins are a resourceful bunch of dickholes, so Sarah's husband surrounded their property with a 14 foot wall to keep all those nosy hippie nerd types out. "That was a good idea what we just did," Sarah said about the fence. "Others could look at that and say, 'Oh this is what we need to do to secure out nations borders.'" Right, because we should base our international policy on friggin' Todd Palin's drunk weekend projects. How is this b!tch not president yet? Is the black guy still in office?

Another reader had a great idea: Azure Ghost produced a list of Sarah Palin's appearances in 2009 and 2010, together with links! This is a fantastic tool for doing research. Many thanks to Azure Ghost for this pleasant surprise and the hard work!

I also made the two lists available for download:

Azure Ghost commented:
Anyway, moving on to the topic de l'heure - SP Alaska. I've been tallying up Palin's various speeches, interviews and other appearances this year and have realized that she has spent at least 85 days OUTSIDE of Alaska so far this year. Now that is only where I can verify via a media report that she was away from Alaska, but I'm sure the number is higher due to overnight stays and undocumented trips. When you factor in her upcoming book tour, she will have been out of Alaska for at least 94 days altogether in 2010. That's over a quarter of the year!

I tried to find out how many days she spent outside Alaska last year too, and came up with at least 36 days. (Most of that was due to the Going Rogue tour.)

I don't know about anyone else, but if I had three kids still at home, especially if one had special needs and was a toddler, I don't think I'd be spending that much time away...

I am glad to see that our Gaters feel productive and energized!



Sarah Palin has officially “jumped the shark.”

Last night’s premier of “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” will be remembered as the moment the once-promising, conservative darling crossed over into the absurd.

Part Alaska tourism promo, part window into the family Palin, TLC’s eight-part series features clips of the former governor at home in gym shorts and shots of the family enjoying the great outdoors while she calls out folksy comments like, “this is flippin’ fun!”

If that’s not enough, Palin takes Kate Gosselin (of “Jon & Kate Plus 8” fame) camping in the Alaska wilderness - the two women reportedly didn’t get along (Kate, it seems, is a bit of an indoor cat).

Conduct unbecoming a former governor and vice presidential candidate? You betcha!

Now that’s not an easy thing for me to say. Believe it or not, in 2008 I was one of Sarah Palin’s biggest fans - “pitbull” bumper sticker and all.

When John McCain selected Palin as his running mate, the decision seemed brilliant. Palin was a conservative, a reformer and an outsider. But her appeal was more than political.

She was “cool,” yet grounded; tough, but feminine. Palin was a game-changer.

Right on cue, liberals set out to destroy the plain-spoken populist, whose candidacy undermined their tired portrayal of Republicans as a cabal of rich, out-of-touch white men.

They called her unqualified - although she was more experienced than John Edwards in 2004, and arguably more experienced than Barack Obama himself in 2008.

The attacks on Palin reeked of a pernicious double standard and an intellectual elitism that made the mama grizzly in me roar.

I defended her everywhere - in the media, in board meetings and on the sidelines of my children’s soccer games.

Even after the election, my support remained steadfast. Palin had carried herself with dignity in the face of vicious personal attacks, and she had more than held her own against career politicians like Joe Biden and “gotcha” journalists like Charlie Gibson.

I looked forward to watching her star continue to rise. I expected big things from her - serious things from her - in the future.

What a difference two years make.
(...)Don’t get me wrong. As a conservative, I still support many of Palin’s policy views. And as a celebrity gossip hound, I might just keep watching her show.

But vote for her? At this point, I might as well vote for Snooki.

Now that would be “flippin’ fun!”

Jennifer C. Braceras is a lawyer and a former Palinista.


HAHA! Somebody will be mightily pissed if she sees this clip which Fox News published today - "the 'Sound of Music' without the Nazis, the romance and the music."

The conversation happened when the people were on a commercial break!


More fun:

Don't watch "Sarah Palin's Alaska" together with your dog!


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