A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the controversial reality series Alaskan Bush People is an adult-targeted show featuring a large, close-knit naturalist family trying to build a life in the outskirts of Alaska. There's lots of swearing ("s--t," "f--k" bleeped), some arguing, and references to tensions between them and the U.S. government. Weapons are used to hunt, fish, protect, and have fun. It's a bit much for tweens, but teens should be able to handle it.
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What's the story?
ALASKAN BUSH PEOPLE features a large family rebuilding their lives in a remote and rugged area of Copper River Valley, Alaska. After the government allegedly burned down the Brown family's one-room family cabin to remove them from the remote public land it was built on, author Billy Brown; his wife, Ami; and their seven children are relocating to an even more isolated area hundreds of miles north to continue their way of life. With the help of their kids -- Matt, Bam Bam, Gabe, Bear, Noah, Snowbird, and Rainy -- who range in age from 11 to 31, they work as quickly as they can to build a new cabin in the unfamiliar territory before winter begins. They face lots of challenges, thanks to the unfamiliar terrain, extreme cold, limited daylight hours, and wild animals. They also must try to find ways to barter with people living in the few small settlements in the area for necessary supplies and, on occasion, medical care. It's not easy, and the unexpected twists and turns they face often force them to start over. But it's a life that allows them to enjoy living out in the wilderness on their own terms.
Is it any good?
Alaskan Bush People highlights how a family that has chosen to live on the remote outskirts of society is happy to work hard and live without modern conveniences to enjoy the freedom that comes with the lifestyle. They also showcase the skills they have to survive in the wild, including fishing with their bare hands, tracking and living among wild animals, building shelter without machinery, and using and reusing the little they have to meet their needs. Later episodes also feature them living on the water.
The show has faced its share of controversy, including allegedly creating narratives about the family being forced off their lands and the arrest of some cast members for stealing and fraud. Some viewers also may question how this isolation has affected their children (all of whom were raised in the bush) and their understanding of larger society, despite the Browns' claim that they're not ignorant of what is truly important in the greater world. Their life won't appeal to everyone, but it's certainly interesting.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the reasons people choose to live outside of mainstream society or in remote locations. What are the benefits of living this way? Drawbacks?
Do you think the way the family really lives its everyday life is being portrayed realistically here? Could you or your family live the way they do and be happy?
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