Posted by: Ali Davis | November 22, 2010

Mama Grisly

So in the service of another little project, I’ve watched the first two episodes of Sarah Palin’s Alaska. It’s interesting: obviously an incredibly calculated endeavor, but calculated by someone who appears to have zero self-awareness. So viewers are treated to odd spectacles like Sarah Palin whining her way up part of Mt. McKinley or stunning halibut with a billy club.

That is not an exaggeration. In Episode 2, you get to see Sarah Palin stun a halibut with a billy club. I guess it was as close to Thanksgiving as they could get.

I was about to type that Palin works in exactly the trite political sloganeering you’d expect, but in all honesty even I didn’t think she’d be that brazen about it.

The family literally encounters a Mama Grizzly and discusses the important lessons she shows us all.

(She teaches her kids that they have to do things for themselves! No one’s gonna help ’em! Unless they get on a game show because their mom is famous and thousands of weird devotees try to game the system for them! But OTHER THAN THAT, they have to do things for themselves!)

Palin also finds time during the first two episodes to say “Don’t retreat, reload,” and talk about how good fences can substitute for good immigration policy.

But one of the oddest features of the show is the way Palin seems to make sure that every episode shows her taking advantage of a Parenting Opportunity. Or, as I’m sure she’d call it, a Parentin’ Opportunity.

In the first episode, Palin makes a huge theatrical deal over how no boys are allowed upstairs in the Godly Palin household, which is an interesting choice, since it only takes a moment’s thought and a look at the show’s cast to realize that at some point in the past the supervision was a little more lax.

There’s also weird sequence in which the boy in question “tries to sneak upstairs” to be with Willow, which is ludicrous and clearly staged just so Sarah can lodge an oddly ineffective protest and then use that “I’m gonna count to three” thing that normal parents do with toddlers.

It’s like everyone involved thinks the viewing audience will be too stupid to understand that a camera crew is there and the family is wired for sound and there is zero possibility for discreet teenage macking.

And, hell, for all I know they are assuming the viewing audience will be that stupid. It’s entirely possible that they had meetings about it.

This week’s Parentin’ Opportunity was during a family road trip, when, just like any family, the Palins all piled into a giant mobile home with every possible convenience, and, just like any family, they drove several hours to fish… On a commercial boat.

And then they helped stun, gut, and process the halibut they sort of vaguely helped catch.

Just like every family does!

The Parentin’ happened when Bristol and Willow were sitting in the back of the RV killing time by listing first their own beauty flaws, and then each other’s. Sarah broke in and told them that that was enough talk about physical attributes.

Which I guess erases her past as a beauty pageant contestant and the whole winking-during-the-Vice-Presidential-debate thing and the wearing-push-up-bras-to-town-council-meetings thing. Poof!

Values! Mom-ing! Feminism! (But not too much feminism. In this week’s episode, we also get a carefully repeated message that Sarah is feisty and competes with her husband, but Todd the Man always wins.)

Much of the nation is rightly baffled as to what Palin is trying to do with the show.

It does seem like she’s trying to tick off a list of Presidential Values – or at least of the values she wants her followers to demand of a president – but surely she’s figured out that actually becoming President would involve a drop in income and a lot of that dumb old executive work and people questioning your ethics and decisions that she hated so much during her hemigubernatorial term.

I think what we are witnessing instead is the solidification of the Sarah Palin brand. She doesn’t want to run for President. She wants the fun and glamor and power of a serious contender who might run for president at any time. And she wants it forever.

No matter how it turns out, actually running screws the whole deal.

Sarah Palin likes being on television, she likes being admired, and she especially likes being held up as a woman who all conservative men should want and all conservative woman should try to be.

And even if she’s not sure how yet, she wants to make a whole bunch of money off it.

Palin is what Martha Stewart would turn into if she also wanted to make decisions about our uteri for us.

She wants to become a brand.

And this immaculately Bumpited fashion plate who has clearly not gone a day without a perfect manicure since puberty is willing to brain a fish on television to do it.

Preserve your sanity while you can. This woman will not willingly leave our national discourse or our televisions any time soon.

Keep the batteries in your remote fresh, and buy ear plugs.



  1. You’ve nailed her! Pure perfection…great writing. Now, get this out into the MSM, and let the fun begin. The “woman” has zero self-awareness! How in the world can she not see that she’s shooting herself in the foot? No reasonable parent (of any political persuation) would accept this as proper parental guidance. OMG! This is hilarious!

  2. Excellent! I too believe she’s in it for the money and actually governing just won’t fit it into her scheme. Keep up the good work!

  3. P.S. I neglected to add… I found a link to your ‘spot-on’ article on the blog “Palingates”, where your writing is receiving accolades. The commenters on that well-researched blog appreciate your candor and insight. I could add that we also appreciate your hilarity, but I think $arah already did that herself! If the ratings for this idiotic “show” happen to go up, it’s only because we all love to watch a train wreck, but can turn the TV off when it’s over.

    • Oh, how cool! I like Palingates. Very flattering to be linked.

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