My observations were mostly mirrored at other blogs or in post-show news stories: The scenery is spectacular, Todd appears perpetually annoyed, the kids are props, she would not be one of my rock climbing partners more than once, author Joe McGinniss - their next-door-neighbor last summer - has been slandered, and, and - that ghastly, screechy, cat claws-on-glass voice!
Here's my rock climbing take:
The rock climbing episode was simply awful. I can sympathise with Sarah that the first step for a beginner is really, really hard, but most tyro climbers quickly realize how much energy it takes within a few vertical moves, how one can take advantage of staying close to the rock face, and how isometric the whole exercise is.She kept on leaning outward and whining. Her pants seemed to restrict lateral moves of her legs, which wasn't her fault. But her whining and self pitying was horrid. (I used to rock climb - 5.7 - 5.8-ish level)
The rock climbing episode was simply awful. I can sympathise with Sarah that the first step for a beginner is really, really hard, but most tyro climbers quickly realize how much energy it takes within a few vertical moves, how one can take advantage of staying close to the rock face, and how isometric the whole exercise is.
She kept on leaning outward and whining. Her pants seemed to restrict lateral moves of her legs, which wasn't her fault. But her whining and self pitying was horrid. (I used to rock climb - 5.7 - 5.8-ish level)
Gawker posted an article with visual aids, titled The Five Most Ridiculous Moments from Sarah Palin's Alaska Premiere:
5) Is Rock Climbin' Hard? You Betcha!
4) The Requisite "Mama Grizzly" Reference
Palin watched two grizzly bears go at it—and then related it to herself and made a veiled political reference, obviously.
3) (Border) Fence Talk
Palin lamented the fact that a reporter moved in next door. Worse, this guy is writing a "hit piece" on her! So, Todd built a 14-foot fence to keep him away—and Palin thinks the rest of the country should do the same (to keep out illegal immigrants!)
2) Like Bristol, Like Willow.
Palin's daughter, Willow, had a boy over. Willow and the boy tried to go upstairs together, and Palin didn't like this.
1) The Theme Song.
The comments at the Gawker article contain gems such as this:
A better view of the fence [with a photo of Todd's monstrosity], it's beyond me why anyone would listen to this band of twits when they apparently can't even be trusted to build a fence that doesn't look fucking stupid.
Maia Nolan, arts & entertainment wonk at The Alaska Dispatch wrote a long article as she watched. My favorite line:
After the Fox News interview, the family piles into a motorhome and cruises up the highway toward Denali National Park. Here is perhaps the most major difference between Sarah Palin's Alaska and Maia Nolan's Alaska: Members of the Palin and Heath families ride unsecured in the back of the motorhome, lounging on couches, getting up and walking around. That would have been heaven for us as kids. But in Maia Nolan's Alaska, Dad the fishing guide was also Dad the paramedic, who would have been as likely to feed his children paint chips as to put them in a moving vehicle without seat belts.
Alaska blogger Jesse Griffin wrote about the series premiere at The Immoral Minority. His post centers on the Palins' (and TLC's) trashing of McGinniss:
The fact that Palin uses this new program to deliver a little payback to the author who dared to cast his shadow on Casa de Palin, should come as no surprise to anybody who read "Going Rogue", which essentially reads like one long Bitch-a-Palooza about everybody who Sister Sarah believes did her wrong.
However in THIS case Sarah and TLC were both warned by the author's lawyer to remove ALL images of Joe McGinniss, pixelated or not, from the program or face possible legal proceedings.
As you can see from the CBS report above, neither Palin nor TLC took that warning seriously.
Perhaps this time Grizzled Mama will find that it is much harder to bully people people once they move thousands of miles away from Wasilla.
Living in Wasilla, as I do, I can attest that some of us are certainly not intimidated.
The UK Guardian (!) live blogged the episode:
9:06pm ET / 2.06am GMT: Sarah likes to do her "researching" on the porch, looking at the lake. She's possibly looking for Russia because she doesn't seem to have any papers in front of her.
9:08pm ET / 2.08am GMT: Sarah and the slightly scary Todd are bitching about the reporter who rented a house next door to them. Todd built a 14ft fence: "This is what we need to secure our nation's border", says Sarah. "How would you feel if some dude who was out to getcha was 15ft away from your kids," she wails. Aww, so protective of her kids! Admittedly she is complaining to a reality TV crew who are following around her teenage daughters and their boyfriends. But that's totally different.
9:10pm ET / 2.10am GMT: My sofa companion asks: "Isn't it strange that Palin's first real attempt to show her suitability as a presidential candidate is, not to bone up on foreign policy or reinstate herself as governor of Alaska, but to be on a reality TV show?" Yeah, well, he's an east coast elite. What can you expect? He doesn't understand the Real People.
9:13pm ET / 2.13am GMT: Ooh now we're seeing the raftin' Palins approaching a bear fishing, just to prove how down with nature. Unfortunately, they were criticised yesterday by the Alaska Wildlife Alliance for breaking rules and getting too close to bears. But "rules" is just another word for "big government trying to control the real people and turn them all into communists and send them to death panels", of course.
9:16pm ET / 2.16am GMT: "This is so cool" giggles Sarah as the bear that they're harassing splashes about miserably in the water. "A lot of time they want you out of their territory," she says, as ignorant of irony as ever.
The European blog, Palingates, carried a guest post by a woman who watched the episode with her 7-year-old daughter, Bella:
Todd, Sarah and Willow hop in a bush plane to head up to Ruth Glacier. The weather is too bad, so they are forced to turn back. When it is time to try again the following day, Willow says her back hurts and she is staying home. Sarah and Todd head out alone. Willow, no doubt, immediately calls Andy and they go upstairs. Meanwhile, out on Ruth Glacier, Sarah has to step over 100-foot deep crevasses so she doesn't fall to the center of the earth. She whines and whines about how hard it is to climb a rock face, but that she Will. Not. Quit. Because she is NOT A QUITTER, doncha know?! Todd has a look on his face that says he is just repeating this over and over inside his head: "20 million dollars, 20 million dollars, 20 million dollars." Then, out of nowhere, he says, "let's go, juicy." Yes -- he calls her juicy. I don't even want to know. Bella is bored by this scene. She says, "mom, why do you keep rolling your eyes?" I tell her I'm annoyed with Sarah. She says, "yah, she doesn't seem very nice."
Sarah has now faced death three times in this episode (bears, crevasses, scaling a rock wall), and all three times, she won. They make it to the top. The episode ends with Sarah saying, "how are we going to get back down?" I wonder, "how will I make it through 7 more episodes?"
"Well, that's it," I say. Bella says, "Mom, I have a joke for you. Why is Sarah Palin from Alaska?" Why, I say? "Because she is so cold."
I'm not sure I could have said it better.
Nor could I.