Alaskan Steel Men

 
Rough-around-the-edges guys work hard, curse lots.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series offers a look at how welders and pipe fitters play a major role in keeping the Alaskan economy going. It also highlights the dangers of the work.

Positive role models

The crew likes to play jokes on each other, but when on the job, they are extremely serious about what they do. The welders are all male; a female cast member has the strongest personality in the group.

Violence

There are lots of dangerous situations that could lead to death. Arguments lead to yelling, screaming, and throwing things. Rough housing is visible. One crew member has a habit of setting himself on fire; others get hurt thanks to flying sparks, metal, and other job-related events. The treatment of some of these injuries is sometimes shown (and is painful). The crew likes to haze newbies, but nothing extremely dangerous.

Sex

Jokes sometimes involve men mooning each other (all nudity is blurred.)

Language

Words like "hell," "bitch," "piss," and "ass" are constantly audible; "f--k" and "s--t" are bleeped.

Consumerism

The Quality Marine Alaska logo is prominently visible on the crew's clothing.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One episode shows a crew member jokingly putting eye drops in the crew's food to cause diarrhea.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Alaskan Steel Men, a reality show about a crew of welders in Kodiak, is pretty rough around the edges. There's lots of cursing, with only the strongest words bleeped, plus some blurred nudity, and hazing among the men (though nothing dangerous). Work accidents (burns, punctured eyes, etc.) are frequent; there's not a lot of blood, but some require medical attention. Occasionally arguments lead to yelling, throwing, and some wrestling.

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What's the story?

ALASKAN STEEL MEN is a reality series about a team of welders in Kodiak, Alaska. The series stars Dennis Butts, owner of Quality Marine Alaska, who is called to repair things like oil tankers, power plants, oil refineries, canneries, and large fishing boats on a moment's notice. Joining his team are his right hand man Scottie, former U.S. Marine Cooper, underwater diver Duke, and George, who Dennis considers the brains behind the operation. Probationary welders (a.k.a. the Greenhorns) Dean and Jameson are learning on the job. Butts' wife Theresa acts as account manager and debt collector. Every job is different, but each brings with it its share of hazardous situations that could lead to deadly results if the work isn't done right.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Alaskan Steel Men offers an interesting look at the dangerous jobs of Alaskan welders and pipe fitters, who must travel to and work in remote locations that are extremely cold, and that requires them to climb treacherous pipes, dive in freezing waters, and work with potentially explosive machinery. It also shows how their work plays a major role in keeping industries like fishing, canning, and petroleum going.  

It's not the most action-packed show, and some events are dramatized for the cameras. But the various repair calls the crew makes, which range from sinking ships to failing power grids, are interesting. Meanwhile, the crew is rough, but likable. Reality fans who like this sort of thing will probably find it entertaining.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the variety of important jobs that people do, but that get little recognition. Do TV shows like this one offer realistic views of what these jobs are really like? Or are they dramatized for the sake of entertainment?

  • What kinds of reality shows are most popular? What are the current trends in reality television? Who makes the choices about what kinds of reality TV to produce?

TV details

Cast:Dennis Butts, Theresa Butts
Network:Discovery Channel
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:Streaming

This review of Alaskan Steel Men was written by

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Quality

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  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Educator and Parent Written byMr.Allshouse October 19, 2013
age 14+
 

Great show if you go in knowing what to expect.

Welders are a pretty rough bunch. (I am one) The folks that work in Alaska are a pretty rough bunch. Combine the two and you have a recipe for a truly rough crowd. With this being said, I think this is an excellent show. With so many shows on TV that glamorize things like breaking the law (Amish Mafia, Moonshiners) utter stupidity ( Jersey Shore, Honey Booboo), or moral debasement (the Kardasians, Real Housewives) this is a show that is about a group of very hard working men making an honest living doing a trade that is very useful. In one episode a captain of a fishing boat called on the services of the team to come weld his boat. They loaded up their gear in a plane and flew out to the boat to get the work done. That wasn't a cheap venture. This show should teach older children that a good trade can be very valuable.

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