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TV Review: Sarah Palin’s Alaska

I cannot stand Sarah Palin politically, can’t imagine a situation where I would ever vote for her, and in the past have barely tolerated her when she speaks on other subjects. I say that not to upset or offend anyone, least of all the Palins, but so you understand my mind set when I first tuned into her new mega TV hit, Sarah Palin’s Alaska. By the way, I also have little patience for reality television. However, in this series, I find something highly entertaining and addictive. I would recommend checking it out.

Now, it’s far from perfect. Sarah certainly hasn’t won me over completely. She still can be smarmy, and her offhand insults at the Obamas and the like annoy me. Half of the time her on-camera interviews come across as totally scripted and insincere. It’s those times where she’s not talking to the camera where she starts to seem like a normal, even likable, person. When her kids are disrespectful, but she holds her tongue, she proves her mettle as a mother. She’s tough, but not smothering. If the show is any indication, she seems like a pretty good parent, and someone it would be fun to spend some time with. She isn’t afraid to get dirty, is tougher than most, and seems to have a solid, loving marriage.

That’s why her public persona up to this point, quite the opposite in a negative way, has become more baffling than hated to me. I’m sure she’d never invite me to join her up in her home state for some fun, but if the chance ever arose, I’d jump at it, and likely enjoy myself quite a bit. The family appears to be having so much fun every week, it’s easy to imagine joining them.

The rest of the Palin family is portrayed just fine. Todd doesn’t talk much, but when he does, you see a supportive, hard working family man, which was the image I already had of him. Sure, her daughters are a bit mouthy every once in awhile, but what teenage girl isn’t? They certainly are better than many I have encountered. For the most part, they seem pretty grounded and sweet, raised quite well by their parents. That may be a surprise to anyone who views Sarah as ignoring her family for the sake of career, as quite the opposite appears to be true. Sarah’s father cracks me up, and seems like a warm-hearted, generous man. None of her relations and in-laws come across in anything but a positive light.

But the Palins aren’t the biggest draw of the show for me. The hook is that you get to see the beautiful state of Alaska, and all it has to offer. In last night’s episode, the family went whitewater rafting, and then Sarah took Piper to see some sled dogs. My wife would have loved that trip! Huskies are her favorite breed of dog. I won’t say it was better than any other episode, as they all come across with about the same quality, but it’s nice to see one more piece of that semi-wilderness every week.

New episodes are presented Sunday nights on TLC, and reruns air frequently. Even if you’re not a Palin fan, check it out. You might be surprised at how easy it is to watch.

About JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome writes TV reviews for BlogCritics.org and Seat42F.com, as well as fiction. He is a frequent guest on two podcasts, Let's Talk TV with Barbara Barnett and The Good, the Bad, & the Geeky. All of his work can be found on his website, jeromewetzel.com
  • http://blogcritics.org/video/article/tv-review-sarah-palins-alaska/ Emily Grace

    I have tried to watch Palin’s show every week but end up switching back and forth,
    as it is rather boring to us. We prefer the Hallmark Christmas movies!

    Sorry, folks, but Palin and her family remind me of the Beverly Hillbillies after they came into a bunch of cash.

    Seems rather strange that Sarah is the hunter, killing the animal for food. Where is Todd and his manlihood?

    Good grief, does she have to ‘be the one with the balls’ on everything?

  • http://blogcritics.org/video/article/tv-review-sarah-palins-alaska/#comments Emily Grace

    In other words, even with mega amounts of money,
    they still talk and act like hillbillies!

  • Mary Miller

    If it weren’t for the sexy older daughters and cute little Piper, nobody would even watch this boring program.

  • Justin

    I’ll admit by bias up front: I lived in Alaska for a while, in Bristol Bay where the family goes fishing (although our village was even more remote and on the other side on the Bay)

    I happy Jerome was able to separate some of Palin’s politics and confrontational style from the her personal life and the show she’s doing. That puts him ahead of about 90% of the shrieking masses who couldn’t put their hate aside. The show is a lot of fun for someone who has been there, and even if I’ve never met the Palins (although I’ve been to rural Wasilla, and I can totally see them as part of that community) I would see why they would decide to live where they do.

    And they are a VERY Alaskan family — I knew a lot of families like theirs is shown: older kids who take care of the younger, Moms/Dads who are a bit more informal with the kids, in-laws taking kids for a long time because parents are traveling, families where the mom sometimes feels like the head — none of this feels uncommon to me.

    “She isn’t afraid to get dirty, is tougher than most, and seems to have a solid, loving marriage.”

    Again, nearly every Alaskan woman I met was like this. Even now I get Facebook updates from women 20-55 in Alaska who talk about hunting, berry picking, and cleaning fish. That’s the life up there, and I’m all but convinced that most of the ranting against her and the show (not her politics, mind you) have no desire to look at the great cultural differences here.

  • Terri Sarten

    Nice review. I admit I am biased, so it is no surprise I really like the show. I wondered if others can see through the politics and see the show fairly.

    I do think that Sarah Palin would invite you up there. I get the impression that she doesn’t mind a debate (she is tough) and she isn’t afraid to fire back at ad hominem attacks. And the playful retorts at critics during the show is no different than anyone else in the public eye on their own turf. I would expect that people kid around about their detractors. I just don’t see mean spirited nature, just self-deprecating humor.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/jeromewetzeltv/ Jerome Wetzel

    Terri – I wasn’t saying she wasn’t nice enough to invite me. She just doesn’t know me. I’m sure she would provide excellent hospitality. :)

    Thank you all for your kind comments!