California, Colorado and Cancer
Once the storyline of Browntown played out, the next big thing in the series was the trip to California and Ami’s bout with cancer. They must go to California to get treatment for the matriarch after letting her almost die from total neglect on their part. It seems that if you are a bush person, moaning and crying about Brown bad luck is all it takes to make the disease go away. Rather than go to a local Alaskan hospital for any treatment, they head to California in an RV that ‘someone’ ‘loaned’ to the family. Billy is seen driving (he has now been diagnosed with having seizures), and within 2 minutes the RV breaks down. Lucky for them a Good Samaritan is nearby and allows them to use his repair shop as an overnight way station while things get repaired. They barter a duck feather, a yo-yo and a box of Lincoln logs to fix the RV.
As they get back on the road, the kids now are struck with awe and mysticism as the new world they have never seen before unfolds before them. Cars, traffic, city lights, billboards and big stores are a constant source of astonishment, with the accompanying disdain shown by all, because it isn’t like this ‘back in the bush’. The scene where they drink water out of a public fountain is laughable as they spit, gag and almost throw up after tasting the water. They stand there for about a half hour daring each other to drink the ‘tainted city water’, and they do, with the same results. Why the jerk wads didn’t just buy some bottled water is beyond me.
The next question on everyone’s mind is why the whole family needed to leave the bush and Browntown to take Ami to the doctor. I am guessing the opportunity to see the sites like a pro sporting event, a National Park, even Disneyland wouldn’t corrupt their ‘bush-ness’. Nope, they stop and see the guy who makes UFO styled golf cart trash on the side of the road in Nowhere, USA. They finally make it to the beach in Southern California after a pretty subdued trip, and they frolic on the beach like they never have seen an ocean before, oblivious to the fact they have been filming next to one in Alaska for 3 years. And then, not one gets a bathing suit on to swim for a minute.
After dragging the near corpse Ami around for awhile they eventually get to the hospital to see a doctor. They all act worried that SHE MAY BE NEAR DEATH! So the dangers of living in the wild extend to living in California, in an RV, too.
Now the most controversial episodes begin to play out. Ami is seen to be diagnosed with a form of cancer, stage 3 or 4 depending on who you listen to. There are two sides to the argument of this whole scenario. Either she is playing to the script written by the writers, or she actually is suffering from cancer. Cancer at either of these stages can be very serious for the patient. Chemo, radiation and or surgery is a must to try to alleviate almost certain death when left untreated. The true concern among both critics and loyal fans was whether this should even be shown on the series. If just a ‘written into the series’ subplot, the producers and cast should be ashamed at the depiction of someone acting like they are suffering from a disease most Americans see for themselves in horror, one way or another. If she was truly in stage 3 lung cancer as depicted, should it be shown as entertainment at all. It was clearly revealed that she was a smoker, and maybe a written or spoken statement that people avoid tobacco might have been a step in the right direction. Being that they constantly fudged the facts about nearly everything about their life, believing anything about this is still hard to swallow. Doctors recently have confirmed the Brown matriarch did indeed have cancer with a 3% chance of survival, received treatment and is now in remission. But at the time the internet blew itself up with the fact that you cannot believe these people. The cynics cried fake BS while the true believers sent their welfare checks to the family to help.
So now a broke ass family with no known means of income, are traveling around the west coast in an RV, getting cancer treatment for Ami, and living in a house that seems to only have an exterior and a bedroom, where the old lady sits on a bed next to Billy reading her lines between treatments. The kids are seen a couple of times at the hospital (more of a waiting room/rented set), crying for mom, and then the rest of the time doing the exact same, mindless performances that they perfected in the ‘bush’. Bear running wild, Noah inventing worthless stuff, the girls pretending to homeschool each other, Gabe acting like digging a hole in the backyard will make him feel at home. Matt wandering around in DT’s. Billy is seen as the protector spouting his senseless garbage about the wolfpack and his dreams, which are sounding rather shallow by now. Bird has found a new friend down the road, a peacock, and she stands in the road outside the house making these ridiculous noises in a bid for making the bird come out to play.
And the title for the show is still ‘Alaskan Bush People’, and it is very clear they are not in Alaska, nor in the bush. Of course, changing the title would be like to start calling ‘My Three Sons’, ‘My Four Sons’, when another actor joined the cast. It just doesn’t quite ring true.
Every now and then a paid extra dressed as doctor shows up, and she gives a veritable useless talk on the progression of the old lady’s health. We actually never see any treatment (thank God), but it mostly falls flat as a series, due to a non progressing storyline. What if she had actually succumbed to cancer? Would the episodes still be shown? Would there have been a big farewell as they tossed her ashes into the trash while Billy searched for another child bride? We will never know…
To add to the now wandering story line, the kids are sent in groups to Browntown to babysit the campsite with the film crew. They seem to go for a reason stated on the show, but once there they degenerate into just goofing off. And the place is a bonafide trash heap now. Layers and layers of garbage are seen strewn about as the cast and crew make no attempt to keep the pristine nature of the grounds intact. If you look close enough, you can see squirrels sobbing in despair as they pack their bags to move on to better forest locations. And of course the second most disputed event is about to rear its’ head, the exploding Matt Brown storyline.
According to the show, Matt was alone at Browntown and a jar of gunpowder exploded while being stored in a refrigerator, causing him to get a head injury. Uh-huh. Sounds like a plausible story to tell… to a third grade kid in a playground at recess. When it was shown on an episode, the film crew (I thought they said he was alone) rush in paparazzi style to film the incident, and you do see someone being carted off with a gauze wrap on their head with blood. Again, the critics went to town and had a field day with the story. The ‘believers’ lamented constantly that poor Matt was hurt and start to sign over their mortgage payments rather than have Matt DIE IN THE HOSPITAL from his incredibly, galactic stupidity. The cynics looked a little further, and determined it was a ruse to hide the fact he was in town in Alaska, at his apartment with Kenny the junkyard idiot, they got drunk, and things got out of hand. What really happened? Who knows? Who cares?
At some point in the cancer storyline, Bam returns home to see the people he deserted not that long ago, for a more stable and normal life away from the lies and BS that surrounds the Brown name. He was welcomed back and almost instantly started arguing with the other goons he calls siblings for another round.
Another interesting bit is when old friends of the Browns, Margaret and Bill Fuller, show up to see how the fake illness scam is going down with the Browns. After some small talk, Margaret decides to fix some nutritional food for Ami et al. She proudly tells the cameras that she is going to fix ‘Texas Trash’, an old family recipe. She pours some Rice Chex® and some Goldfish® crackers into a bowl and says, “Bon Appétit”. She is quickly escorted off the set as the producers feed the crap to Mr. Cupcake, the mange ridden dog. Even the dog refuses to eat it, they end up tossing it out with the garbage and ordering Chinese.
Most of two episodes are ‘flashback’ episodes, where they tell the story from the ‘lost tapes’ and ‘forgotten tapes’ recently discovered. This drags on awhile and is mostly a feeble attempt to add some sort of credibility to their now incomprehensible story of them being even 1% bush people from Alaska. It is boring, it is uneven, it is above all, not close to being believed. The tapes should have stayed ‘lost’ and ‘forgotten’.
Ami is soon paroled from the hospital and Billy pushes her out in a wheelchair. A now famous photo shows the flim flam man with a pack of Marlboro Reds™ in his pocket. So he smokes, too. It is now reported through various sources that not only did Ami smoke, but some of the ‘children’ do, too. And to continue to smoke around a woman who just went through lung cancer therapy is pretty disgraceful, IMO. Another fake scene is shown from the now deserted Browntown, as the kids give the Integrity boat to a local family for free.
After Ami’s miraculous recovery (if I was a writer for that show, I would have Noah discover a cure for cancer by using a piece of wire, two french fries and an old mood ring), they all hop into the RV to travel the southwestern United States. They head out and discover a city, brightly lit with neon that never sleeps, which everyone else calls Las Vegas. They hate it. Yet the FB selfies and fan photos of them tell a different story of their stay in a luxury hotel in Vegas. They then head up Interstate-15 into Utah where they complain, complain, complain about how hot it is. And no one in the RV seems to figure out a way to turn on the air conditioner. And if you watch carefully, mother Ami is wearing a freakin sweater in the front seat. THEY ARE ALL GOING TO DIE! Another anomaly is when the camera in the RV shows the Brown family cruising down the highway, the sink is clearly in view but is blurred out for some reason. What could possibly be in the sink that Discovery doesn’t want the viewers to see?
Up the road Bear comes out of a hotel room (why not sleep in the RV) dressed in jeans, boots and a shirt and jumps into the pool to cool down. I am sure the owners of the hotel drained and sanitized the pool after they saw that. Why not dress appropriately in shorts, tank top, flip flops and learn how to operate the AC in the RV. Why didn’t the boy genius Noah fix it or invent some new ‘bush’ air conditioning unit out of a piece of straw, a rusty bolt and a discarded coke bottle? Bear reinforces the EXTREME heat by frying an egg on the roof of the RV while Birdy is transfixed at this new way to cook food.
So where exactly in hell are these idiots going anyhow? Billy explains he just got permission from a ‘friend’ to set up another soon to be trash heap on a piece of land in Colorado. The State of Colorado immediately after hearing this, prohibited anyone with the name of Brown from entering the state. Well, they got in anyhow, and the family goes to this location and starts to promptly set up house sites and so forth. It is the last episode of the season, and at this point Noah tells the assembled morons that he is leaving to find his own piteous life somewhere else. He tells the gathered goof offs that he wants to be a sheriff somewhere. I could hear the laughter from inside my house as the viewers from around America watched this. Even the assembled Brown family laughed at him. Then came the realization that he was serious, and everyone watching hoped like hell that Noah had never heard of the town or city or county that they are living in. What…A…Moron.
Anyway, he left and the season ended so we were forced to wait it out.
After waiting for the new season to start we find the Browns not in Colorado as promised, but setting up a homestead on top of a mountain in Washington State. Billy tells us another quickie BS story of why they didn’t stay in Colorado. Something about strangers being allowed to traverse their dump, trying to clean it up I presume. So we get the new season, new location, same old tired characters doing what they do best, demonstrating bad acting and horrible decisions. And still ‘Alaskan Bush People’.
First the group takes a truck and a small flatbed trailer loaded with a few meager possessions up a DANGEROUS ENOUGH TO KILL SOMEONE hill to where the circus master Billy decides to build a home. In this case, instead of an actual home, trapper cabin, lean to, or cellophane shanty, the group starts to put up teepees. The teepees are now up and Billy and Queen Ami decide that they are too good too live like Native Americans, so they get a trailer to live in. It is now brought up the same DANGEROUS hill to be put in place. Once set up, Billy starts screaming at the ‘kids’ to start in on building a barn so he can see his dream come true. He decides to call the new slum, ‘North Star Ranch’, after a faded tattoo on his arm. The ‘kids’ get busy, withholding food from their systems to get the barn just right for Master Billy. Funny thing is that they are terrible at this chore, constantly wandering off to do some other obscure waste of time. When we do see the idiots working on the barn, they have brand new tool belts on, with no tools at all in the belts.
Most of this season is dedicated to the barn raising which by all previous accounts is being done by an outside construction crew, when filming is ready, the real workers are moved off camera and the Brown kids hammer in a few needless nails for looks. They also start the search for their own little piece of heaven among the acres Billy has bartered for dog hair jewelry, salmon bones and Ami’s used rectal thermometers. Bird chooses a tree for her house so she can connect with nature, while she freezes and starves to death on the mountain in winter. Bam has his little slice carved out and sets up his bee keeping business which we’ve never seen before. Bear just acts goofy as usual, running around, starting unnecessary fires and climbing trees. Matt wanders far from everyone so he can drink in private. Gabe and Rain just play act at being Gabe and Rain.
Unfortunately for Discovery and the stockholders, the ratings fall as the family settles in to their new location. Billy must come up with a major overhaul to save his BS bush fame and family show. Can we kill off one of the members of the family? That would surely garner some viewers. They instead decide to run over someone’s cat they kidnapped, and claim it was Birdy’s pet. Even that drastic measure is not enough to keep the public entertained. One source of increasing the public’s interest must have seemed to them to bring back Noah.
Noah arrives in Washington, in style, riding a motorcycle, which is never seen again. He announces he is back but is planning on getting married to his girlfriend, the only other person besides the brown family who can stand being around him, a girl named Ruth, who later changed her name to Rhain with an H. Noah calls her Rhain Alisha all the time, he being of that part of lost history where people have two names. The drama played out by Rain and Bird Brown in their shared dislike of Rhain w/H, is further continued in North Star Ranch. Noah sets up home in a FEMA tent and another tent is set up to do his experiments and invent useless items like a hat that zaps mosquitos.
Noah now seems convinced he is the man every red blooded American woman over the age of 17 desires, and at the drop of a hat is ready to strip off his shirt to display his nasty gall bladder scar, or just to show us his painfully obvious potbelly and scream inducing physique. This happens several times during the show and Discovery needs to post a warning before it happens.
Billy and Ami seem to never leave the little trailer they bartered for a moose antler, a squirrel’s ear and a robin’s egg, the main focus is on the barn getting built and pitching innumerable ads for a later show where Noah and Rhain w/H get hitched. So finally after watching more contrived nonsense from the family, the last episode of the season is shown, and at the very end the two are married. It takes all of about 90 seconds to see the ceremony and it seems like the only ones to attend are the Brown family. Maybe the Merril clan (Rhain w/H’s family) were to shamed to attend or were too embarrassed to be filmed, as their daughter married the one person on earth all parents of young girls don’t want as a son in law.
Matt further descends into alcoholism and substance abuse and is committed to the looney bin and never heard from or spoken about again.
As the family enters the last season shown in the spring of 2019, the DANGERS OF LIVING ON A MOUNTAIN DURING WINTER are reinforced repeatedly as the members scramble to build shelters. The planning seems to go well but the execution is abysmal. Nothing is accomplished as arguments flare and tempers are stoked. Noah actually is the only one prepared as he and the now present and pregnant Rhain w/H tape a NASA space blanket on their bed, inside their tent, and they are set. He then invents more useless crap and then presents plans to the viewers of a castle he plans on building for his queen and little prince/princess.
Gabe brings another paid extra onto the set, his new pregnant girlfriend who he must marry, named Rachel, or Raquell, or Raquel, we never do figure out the spelling, doesn’t matter, Gabe can’t read anyhow. They set a date for the big mistake on June 14th.
Billy gets sick AND IS GOING TO DIE, so he is rushed to the local free clinic where he is said to have either pneumonia, or super pneumonia. Since it is all faked anyhow, and the production crew knows that we know it is faked, no attempt is made to show a real hospital room with the patient hooked up to an IV drip, or any sign of a doctor, nurse or orderly. Billy starts to give demands from his fake hospital bed and the ‘kids’ scurry off to fulfill the madman’s every whim and desire. Before any pursuit to assure that they will sleep any warmer at night, they must move the trailer that Billy and his scarecrow live in, 2000 feet lower on the mountain, which is conveniently next to the barn someone else built for them. They have disassembled the pathetic teepees and moved them closer to the barn ‘because it is warmer there’ (WTF?) and now struggle WITH THE NOTION OF IMMINENT DEATH to move the trailer through the snow covered but plowed roads. First the tires must have chains attached, which the chumps seem unable to do, so the cameras are turned off while the pros do it, cameras are switched on and the chumps act like they did it themselves. The trailer is now moved over the course of a couple of days about 100 feet down the road, next to the barn. And instantly the porch that was on the trailer before it was moved, is seen next to the trailer in the following scene.
Ami (who has been dressing lately in a peculiar 1920’s ‘flapper’ style, complete with Bonnie and Clyde round sunglasses) and Billy are thrown out off the hospital for non payment, and arrive at the ranch to the cheers of all. The Gospel according to Billy is expelled through the lips of the biggest jerk on planet Earth, the morons gather for a group howl, and all goes black on the first 5 years of the most laughable bunch of clowns on television today.
What will tomorrow bring?
********Some folks have questioned me and others why we ‘hate’ the Brown family and the show, and why we continue to watch it. First of all, I don’t hate the family, and the show is great entertainment. If anyone out there ever watched ‘Mystery Science Theatre 3000’ back in the day, it is great sport to sit and watch horrible productions and then riff and lampoon them. This show fits the bill on so many fronts. Secondly, since we like to riff the show, we must first watch it. I am proud in a sense that I and others can point out the weird chemistry that this show mixes up every time it is on.
Do I believe any thing that is presented is the truth and nothing but the truth? Sure, but I am also convinced that a lot of the show is just made up to feed the coffers of a desperate corporation and production company, to stay in the black by staging preposterous situations. And I am, again, proud to be a part of the viewing public to call them out on it.
Lastly, I would love the opportunity to meet the actors (I would shake their hands and congratulate them on their success, and even pose with them for an autographed photo), and have them give an open interview to a lot of the questions that arise from this show. So far, every press outing they have given is strictly controlled by Discovery, and I imagine, the agents and attorneys for the Brown family. Their reputation as God fearing bush people undoubtedly must be protected.
Till next season….More