Sarah Palin's Alaska Series Finale Recap: Squalid Gold
Bulletin: It's not a great weekend to be Sarah Palin. Update: I'm going to make fun of her lame show just the same. That's journalism, and everyone knows it. Join me for the finale of Sarah Palin's Yukon adventures, where Piper smarts off, everyone giggles over gold, and Sarah ends her reign as TLC's second-worst wearer of North Face vests. Democracy wins.
But first (and for the last time), your Sarah Palin's Alaska opening credits: Sarah playfully shoots a Nerf bazooka at a Kodiak bear; Todd chooses Mt. McKinley to be his running mate in Alaska's 2012 Frontier Mensch election; Piper renames herself PWOWW and punches four Gosselins in the face; Willow sheepishly asks a snowmobile to winter formal; and, in a triumphant final showing, Bristol performs a perfect paso doble atop a felled antelope. None of that happened, but I already miss this show. (Which I invented.)
We spend the majority of this week's episode lookin' fer gold. Really. Sarah has a plan to make jewelry for her mother using gold she and her family mine, so she and the lesser Palins "pan" for the shiny stuff using up-to-date methods. This will teach the family important lessons about gold prospectors and perhaps other Scooby Doo villains, too.
Piper starts yapping about hawking her finds on eBay, and Sarah is revolted. She says, "We haven't had that discussion, Piper" as if to suggest that a simple conversation about merchandising is necessary before Piper's enterprising career can begin.
Later, Sarah's brother Chuck, Jr. jumps in a boat with a diver friend and heads to the bottom of the sea, because that's where gold is kept sometimes. He notes that Sarah, who is responsible for sending air and hot water to them, is their lifeline. Sarah thrives on the pressure and doesn't kill them, which makes for terrible TV. Doesn't she understand that a grisly underwater death is necessary if this show is going to get a season two? Ah, too late.
You'll be titillated to learn that the Palins end up extracting more than $1,150 worth of gold. Fancy, yes, but they use it to make a bear pendant for Sarah's mother and a goat pendant for Sarah's dad. She jokes, "Do you think he'd wear a pinky ring?" which is a nice joke of the anti-homosexual nature. Everyone chortles.
highpoints things in this record-settingly boring episode: Sarah spots a pack of muskox and notes that they act "how we should be as a society." These societal muskox turn away from the cameras and run off, and I agree that Sarah should follow their lead. After that, we watch her family watch an airshow, which is now the most layered meditation on voyeurism I've seen since Rear Window. What if the airmen were watching us on mini-monitors in the plane? Freaky. Suddenly this is worth an honors thesis. Someone should write it and bring up "the male gaze" arbitrarily, like Bret Easton Ellis. That's how you know you're being important.
Aside from the second hour of the finale -- which is really just a clip package of season highlights with new, maddening commentary -- that really ends Sarah Palin's Alaska. What have we learned? Besides that Alaska is cold, mountainous, fulla floatplanes, and the perfect terrain for Piper's ice-sorceress wit? Nothing, of course. That's what. But we did realize that Sarah Palin really likes Alaska, and if she's so darn giddy about it, she should stay there. Mission accomplished, TLC.