Sarah Palin's Alaska

TV review by
Anne Louise Bannon, Common Sense Media
Sarah Palin's Alaska TV Poster Image
Nature-reality show is more about Palin than Alaska.

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The overriding messages are that Alaska is beautiful and its natural beauty should be appreciated. Also, family is very important. Palin's political messages are subtle, but present.

Positive Role Models & Representations

On one hand, Palin can be pretty judgmental -- she frequently declares that "everyone should...".  For example, in an opening montage, she says that everyone should raise their children on Alaskan seafood. While watching a mother bear and cubs, she interprets their behavior in terms of her values. On the other hand, she pushes herself to try new things and face her fears (like heights). She has strong opinions and isn't afaid to share them. She is protective of her family, and occasionally pokes fun at her public persona.

Violence

The Palin family hunts and so you do see several scenes of Sarah Palin handling guns and teaching her children to shoot.

Sex

There are some allusions to teen sex. In one scene, daughter Willow has a male friend come over. Palin explains that the fence at the bottom of the stairs (clearly as protection for her youngest son Trig) is also the young man's boundary. And when he goes past that, he is called down immediately.

Language

"Heck" and "oh my gosh" is about as harsh as it gets.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this show is as much about former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as it is about the state of Alaska. While the show is mild and fairly family friendly, Palin does embed the show with her particular values and politics, which some parents might not agree with. Most political elements of the show are subtle enough that they'll go over the heads of kids, but parents should be prepared to discuss their views on the polarizing figure helming this show.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byredsox2004 October 22, 2011
Adult Written byJoe-SF December 18, 2010
The show is so bad & I have to watch it. It does showcase Alaska, which is gorgeous & now on my list to visit. Some children & adults... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old March 17, 2011
Horrible. I don't like the hunting and the sex references and political references.
Teen, 13 years old Written byAsh1234791 January 19, 2011

What's the story?

Former Alaskan governor Sarah Palin and her family spend the summer sharing adventures in the great state of Alaska, fishing for salmon, watching bears, climbing rocks, trekking across glaciers, that sort of thing. Mixed in with gorgeous views of immense natural beauty, viewers peek at some of the Palin family's daily life, which includes interactions between the famous mom and her husband and kids. Intercut with family scenes are interviews with Palin about her experiences and views on Alaska and family along with some subtle political messages.

Is it any good?

One has to give Palin credit. She does poke fun at herself -- including making a joke about being able to "see Russia" from an expansive mountaintop view. She also talks about how hard it can be to be the target of criticism. At the same time, many of the attitudes and values that some people find attractive and others off-putting are in full evidence here. She complains all through a difficult rock climb, but she still gives it her all-out best. She's eerily paranoid about her neighbor, who is likely writing an attack biography about her. And she finds plenty of occasions to interpret natural beauty through her particular political lens. The bottom line is, if you like Sarah Palin, you'll like the show. If you don't, you won't.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the fact that Sarah Palin generates very strong opinions in others. Does this show change any pre-conceived ideas about Palin or not? Does the show put her in a good or bad light?

  • Talk about whether the show accurately reflects the Palin family's life.  Are there any signs that the family is doing certain things for the cameras, rather than doing what they normally do?

TV details

  • Premiere date: November 14, 2010
  • Network: TLC
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-PG

For kids who love family-friendly reality TV

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