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Posted at 3:18 PM ET, 12/20/2010

Real life? Or just Sarah Palin's Alaska?

By Alexandra Petri


All I want for Christmas this year is a second season of Sarah Palin on TLC.

I'm actually saddened by the fact that Sarah Palin's Alaska has only two more episodes. It's like the end of Star Wars, forcing you to leave a dreamworld full of strange beasts that only exist onscreen and in the hearts of believers.

Since the opening credits of its first episode, Sarah Palin's Alaska has transported us to a magical fantasy land. But if I get my wish, there'll be more -- and it'll take the show on the road. It's not just that I've become fond of the family and want to see how their story unfolds. It's more fundamental than that: I want to see Palin in a context that I understand.

When the setting is Alaska, I have difficulty gauging the normalcy of things. Whenever Palin says anything about this magnificent state that is both east-most and west-most in America, I believe her. "Our family has always hunted caribou for the winter to make sausage," she says. "Sure," I say. "Now we're going mushing with sled dogs!" "All right!" I say. "I can show up at Peggy's Restaurant and put on an apron, and they will let me wait tables!" "Sounds good." So far, the only statement I've been able to identify as "definitely accurate" is "Everyone loves puppies."

It may be that Alaska is actually like this. It equally may be that Alaska is full of chai-sipping hipsters whose cabins are plastered with life-size images of Harry Reid. I honestly have no idea. So far, I've given Palin the benefit of every doubt. Giant pile of antlers outside the family home? Sure! Camping trips in the pouring rain with the Gosselins and a camera crew? An Alaskan classic!

But I can't stop the creeping doubts that this is just her way of tricking all us lamestream media types. "You know so little about Real America," I picture her saying, "that I can tell you this is a real thing Alaskans do, and you won't bat an eye! But this is plainly ridiculous!"

This is how I imagine it would be if I tried to explain the D.C. metro system to her. "The reason all the escalators are out of service is because they are Horcruxes," I picture myself saying. "There is no stop in Georgetown because it is too dangerous there."

"Why?" she asks.

"The people who have whales on their shirts are engaged in a war to the death with the people who have horsemen on their shirts," I explain. I can see her taking notes, which she will use later for a speech on how out-of-touch D.C. is with Real America.

My point is that I want another season. Not because I'll miss her -- it's impossible to miss someone who never, ever, goes away, not even if you ask her nicely because you are very tired and need to get some work done. But because I want to see her in a context that makes sense to me.

It's like Gulliver's Travels, the new Jack Black movie coming out on Christmas, which I hear is based on a book or something, in which Gulliver concocts elaborate stories about what life is like where he's from, wild narratives involving the Millennium Falcon and the White House and in which Yoda is vice president. Sure! The Lilliputians say. Why not?

At this scale, it's impossible to tell.

By Alexandra Petri  | December 20, 2010; 3:18 PM ET
Categories:  Petri, Reality? Television, Seems Suspect  | Tags:  Alaska, Sarah Palin, reality  
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Nice humorous take on the show. And, as you said it, it is Sarah Palin's Alaska.

Posted by: Tourist | December 20, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

I cannot believe a WaPo columnist has written an article on Sarah Palin. Is this a first. Sorry I have just checked and they have all written articles on the Great One.

Must be the Christmas spirit showing through as this is the first WaPo article not to ridicule the Governor throughout the entire piece. Keep it up WaPo and you may even regain some credibility in the New Year.

Posted by: mckenna7 | December 20, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Next they will put Glenn Beck on television with a studio audience and he will make up stories and call it news.And they will applaud and cheer like he's Oprha.

Posted by: msjn1 | December 20, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Been to Alaska.

That's what it's like.

There are giant dangerous animals everywhere.

People do hunt for food.

The scenery does blow your mind.

It's a different world, best trip I ever took.

Don't be a judgmental snob until you've seen it for yourself.

Posted by: drjcarlucci | December 20, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

The only judgement the show has led me to, dr. carlucci, is that Palin spends an obscene amount of money in "her" Alaska. The state is beautiful, & Palin (& her ignoramous, redneck, dysfunctional family) will have lots of time to enjoy it - from '12 to '16 & beyond.

Posted by: nyskinsdiehard | December 20, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

'Sarah Palin's Alaska" is the best program on TV. Too bad only 8 episodes were filmed, so far. Sarah is so charming; her husband is a real macho-man, and her children are adorable.

Posted by: bubbasouth | December 20, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin is one of the greatest scam artists in American history.

Posted by: SmallBusiness | December 20, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin is one of the greatest scam artists in American history.

Posted by: SmallBusiness | December 20, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

been to alaska- was stationed there and I think the show is great.


Posted by: blevins20061 | December 20, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Who cares? You gals have had it good for two years, drooling everytime Obama gets on TV, well, we guys want equal treatment and the right to drool over Sarah Palin anytime she gets on TV. lol.

And Jack Black just stank up Jonathan Swift's classic and ruined people's fond memories of childhood bedtime stories - the CIA should seriously get out of the movie business before they ruin other classics (but wait, they already ruined Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory etc., etc., didn't they? Keep it coming boys and girls, I quit watching years ago). lol.

I'll watch The Adjustment Bureau though...;-).

Posted by: darkasnight1234 | December 20, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

"We've always hunted caribou to make sausage" - She really believes that intelligent Americans are naive enough to buy this crap? Well then, she must be stupid enough to think they'll elect her President too- I hope so- I can't wait to watch her find out she was wrong!!!!What a simple minded fraud!

Posted by: kenmcree | December 20, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

If it weren't for the sexy older daughters and cute little Piper, nobody would even watch this boring program.

The Palins remind me of hillbillies. All the money she made doesn't change that.

Why isn't the program called Todd Palin's Alaska? Why is SARAH the one with the 'balls'? (Killing a Malibu with such glee and vigor
is a very manly thing to do.)

Posted by: MaryMiller2011 | December 20, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Alaska would be nice if the slug left it.

Posted by: mtravali | December 20, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Mrs. Palin has 2 years to keep herself in the public view. But, she is on the down hill slope. Her mean comments are a give away as are her Dancing daughter's passive agressive ...poor me...answers. Time is up. She had her 15 minutes plus and hopefully, she will continue making money..she is a celebrity and it is down hill time.

Posted by: judithclaire1939 | December 20, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Wasila is the biggest meth and Oxycontin abusing town of its size in the U.S. Why hasn't the intrepid Caribou Barbie shared her insights about that? Inquiring minds want to know.

Posted by: query0 | December 21, 2010 12:36 AM | Report abuse

SP will not run==TLC offer is $8 million for season 2 and Bristol $9 million plus % for young womans clothing line===3 year estimate==PALINS==$ 62 million ==why run

Posted by: bulldogss | December 22, 2010 4:03 AM | Report abuse

SP is the american dream--if you are jane 6 pack==you can make it on your own.Hope for us all. Imagine ==broke to $ 62 million in 3 yrs = amazing woman--TOUGH=not much going for her -but -wow--I think it is her Christian spine.Deep Pentecostal --very happy Christians

Posted by: bulldogss | December 22, 2010 4:35 AM | Report abuse

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