"Sarah Palin’s Alaska" Debuts on TLC

Mama Grizzlies unite!

By Beth Stebner and Michael Preston
|  Monday, Nov 15, 2010  |  Updated 6:43 AM EDT
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Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas chat about being in the bottom two this week on

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Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas chat about being in the bottom two this week on "Dancing with the Stars." Were they nervous it was going to be them going home? Plus, how is Bristol going to show her sexy side next week? Will her mother, Sarah, approve?

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Not content to be the only member of the Palin clan to star in a hit reality show, Sarah Palin's new documentary style program aims to show how the former governor and her family actually live in their native stomping grounds on the frontier of the nation's 49th state.

The show, simply named "Sarah Palin's Alaska," aired its first episode (appropriately titled "Mama Grizzly") on TLC November 14 and touched briefly upon nearly every aspect of her life, from her skepticism of global warming, to her ideas on child rearing to exploring the natural beauty of her wild state. The opening credits were reminiscent of any 90’s sitcom, introducing the Palin’s merely as “Sarah” and “Bristol,” with several money shots of the fiercely sylvan wilderness.

"I love this state like I love my family," she says as the family heads out for a fishing trip, where they by chance spot a few bears.

"I love watching these mama bears," she says. "They've got a nature that humankind could learn from. She's trying to show her cubs that;  'Nobody's gonna do it for you. You get out there and do it yourself, guys,'" she adds.

The show opens with Sarah and former First Dude Todd voicing complaints about privacy when an author and journalist named Joe McGinniss rents the house next door to work on an unauthorized biography of the conservative icon. In response, Todd built a 14-foot high fence to block his view. Though the show makes an effort to steer clear of political issues, Palin can't help but get in a few shots at the press, one of her favorite foils.

"He's stuck writing an ugly book," she tells her children, while Todd adds that McGinniss is "writing a hit piece on my wife."

"This is what we need to do to secure our nation's border,” she says of the fence, in another political aside. "How would you feel if some dude who was out to get ‘cha was 15 feet away from your kids?"

At one point, Sarah and Todd go off camping at a national park with her parents where she attempts rock climbing, an experience that sorely tested the normally self-assured politician/activist/talking head.

"Oh, God help me. I'm scared...That's scarier than I thought. I'm so scared I can't even move,' she said during the climb. However, she found the internal reserve needed to make it to the summit.

"About halfway up the rock, I did not know if I was going to be able to finish the task," she said post-climb. "But I didn't want to quit. I didn't want to quit in front of other people."

In other parts of the episode, the show simply shows the Palin clan living and doing things that most families would recognize. Sarah and the kids bake cupcakes while she also has to keep a watchful eye on a male friend of teenage daughter Willow when he attempts to sneak up upstairs to see her.

Though the show, like most reality programs, is edited for maximum effect and drama, anyone hoping to catch a glimpse of the  "real" Sarah Palin may need to set their DVR's to TLC for the next eight weeks.

Selected Reading: Guardian, Entertainment Weekly, TLC


 

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