The story appears on

Page B2

December 12, 2010

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Feature » People

Palin truly at home on TV selling grandeur of Alaska

WHATEVER you may think of Sarah Palin, the fact remains that Alaska is magnificent with her as its presenter.

"Sarah Palin's Alaska," which premiered on TLC on November 14, adds "TV host" to Palin's crowded resume, which already includes former governor, former Republican vice presidential candidate, best-selling author and conservative superstar.

Palin also is a wife, a mother of five and a grandmother. Her new series integrates her home life with Alaska's great outdoors.

Judging from the first of eight episodes, "Sarah Palin's Alaska" keeps politics out of the picture. Sure, the show is effective in selling the Palin brand. But along the way, Palin throws herself into selling the grandeur of Alaska.

The much-anticipated documentary series, shot in midyear in Alaska's warm summer season, is based at Palin's lakeside home in Wasilla. There, cupcakes are baked and kids do their chores (or hear about it from Palin). Then Palin sets off, with family members in tow, on a jaunt such as salmon fishing on Big River Lake, where, almost within reach at the shoreline, a family of bears keeps them amused.

"Girls, when you cast, do not aim toward that bear," Palin cautions daughter Piper and niece McKinley in their boat.

"Why?" is the automatic comeback. Any parent will instantly relate.

Later in the program, Palin demonstrates mettle (and alarm) as she goes rock-climbing with her husband, Todd, at Denali National Park and gets stuck midway.

The guide calls down instructions and encouragement, but Palin is stalled. "I just don't like heights!" She declares. "I was so cocky; I'm being punished for it. I don't know if I can do this!"

It is a remarkable admission from this famously can-do personality, and, as viewers are informed, some 45 minutes pass before she figures out how to continue her ascent. Then she does it.

"That's so much worse than I ever thought it would be!" She says after reaching the summit.

The series is produced by Mark Burnett, whose many credits include "Survivor" and "The Apprentice." In a recent interview, he marveled at how gung-ho all the Palins were in taking part.

"It would start out with, 'We're gonna have Sarah and Todd do something'," Burnett said. "And as she is getting ready, she would say, 'Piper, you want to come? Willow, you want to come?' Take the politics away, and this is a family, and they hang out a lot together."

Befitting the travelogue quality of the show, it boasts eye-popping scenes across the state's vastness - roughly twice the size of Texas.

With all that acreage available, the Palins make it clear they are irked that writer Joe McGinniss is living right next door.

McGinniss, the best-selling author of books including "The Selling of the President" and "Fatal Vision," is never mentioned by name, and his face is blurred as the camera catches a glimpse of him over the fence.

But Todd Palin explains, "Our summer fun has been kind of taken away from us because of a new neighbor next door who's writing a hit piece on my wife."

In September, as he packed to leave after three months of research, McGinniss said he would not reveal what the book will say. But he said he chose her as a subject because, "I wanted a reason to come back to Alaska," where he lived in the 1970s while researching an earlier book, "Going to Extremes." He said he rented the house after its owner sought him out, not to spy on the Palin family.

Todd Palin is a regular presence on "Sarah Palin's Alaska." This includes the interlude when Sarah Palin heads for an adjoining building on their property they have equipped with a TV studio. She is making an appearance on Fox Television's "The O'Reilly Factor." Todd Palin supervises off-camera and punches the buttons.

Politics are on hold - mostly.

Overall the show leaves no doubt: Alaska is well worth a visit. And Palin is truly at home presenting it to viewers.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend