Sarah Palin, TLC Style
Get ready for more of Sarah Palin in the coming weeks. The former governor of Alaska will continue to find herself in the spotlight as Sarah Palin's Alaska, an eight-part series, premieres Sunday at 9/8c. The TLC show takes us behind the scenes of the Palin household, highlighting the quirky political family and Alaska's stunning natural beauty.
Promising to be a frontier-filled show, we see previews of the Palins rock climbing, fishing, white water rafting, dog sledding, and flying. "How come we can't ever be satisfied with tranquility and serenity?" she says, just before the camera zooms in on her firing her gun. Sitting on a mountain, she says, "You can see Russia from here … almost," with a cheeky grin.
The show opens in the Palins' home where Sarah is making cupcakes with 9-year-old Piper, who licks her way around the bowl of batter. "What else, Sarah?" Piper asks her mom. Sarah explains that calling her by her first name is Piper's way of getting her attention. Like she did during the 2008 presidential campaign at times, Piper occasionally steals the show. "My mom is super busy; she is addicted to the BlackBerry." Mimicking her mother's thumb typing, she says, "She's like, 'Hold on Piper, I'll be there in a second.'"
Sarah and huband Todd complain about Joe McGinniss, a writer working on an unauthorized biography of Palin, who rented the house next door. Todd says "our summer has kind of been taken away from us." Todd and friends put up a 14-foot-high fence. "I thought that was a good example, what we just did," says Sarah. "Others could look at it and say, 'Oh, this is what we need to do to secure our nation's border.'"
As if it's an average day in Alaska, a "mamma grizzly" appears while the Palins fish near the woods. "When you cast, don't cast toward the bear," she tells Piper. "Why?" she asks. "Because if you hook the bear, he will get ticked off," she explains. Sarah's accent and word choice—getcha, flippin, sister—might come across to viewers as either cute or cutesy, one endearing, the other over-the-top, almost as if she were spoofing her own mannerisms.
The scenes of wildlife—bears, fish, a whale—are spectacular. Baby Trig makes an early appearance when he puts his hand on the camera screen, but we see more of Sarah climbing than we do of her bouncing him on her hip. You have to wonder how much was edited out or filmed just perfectly, since we don't see baby Trig's poopy diapers or anyone push a vacuum cleaner.
Still, the show does not portray a perfect family. Willow sulks in her cut-off jean shorts, whining after her mom orders her male friend to come back downstairs after sneaking over Trig's blockade. "See, this gate is not just for Trig," she tells him. "It's for no boys go upstairs." In the first episode, we don't see much of Bristol, a current contender on Dancing with the Stars. (Bristol was the governor's pregnant teenage daughter during the 2008 campaign).
Todd is the quiet, steady supporting actor in the show. Sarah says that people who know the couple "see that he is such a helpmate," which almost sounds like a twist on what God said when he made Eve for Adam. In one of her rare political comments, she chats with him about taxes before she does a television appearance.
Her blend of the feminine with the sporty is somewhat endearing. You can't help cheering her up that wall or snowshoeing around mountains as she reveals how she's scared of heights. "Oh God, help me Lord," she says, which is about as much reference to faith as you'll get in the premiere. "You've always wanted to be a rock climber, Sarah," Todd says. "Was it a rock climber or a rock star, hm?" she responds. "Doing good, baby," he assures her. Her yelling about her fear borders on yapping as dramatic music plays in the background of the climbing scene.